Saturday, 28 March 2009

I love Tokyo in the Springtime

What I love about Tokyo and Japan is its predictability, discipline and above all the respect afforded to their fellow man.

The Airport Limousine bus counter is strategically situated directly in front of the arrival hall exit and the bus stop is clearly marked (in English) just as you step out of the terminal. When you buy your ticket you are informed of the time of the next bus, unlike in some places where you have to pry the information with difficulty.

At the stop, the bus attendants follow a strict SOP (standard operating procedure). They give respectful acknowledgement by bowing to bus driver as he draws up to the stop; tag the luggage giving you the stub, collect your ticket, load the luggage and again bow to the driver as he moves off. Its a simple procedure , but done with finesse.

A recorded announcement in the bus welcomes visitors and advises the use of safety belts. The female Japanese voice with a somewhat stilted English accent reminds that mobile phones are not to be used on the bus 'as it will disturb the neighbours'. However foreigners have been known to ignore this practice.

It was a cold, wet and windy 7 degrees Centigrade on landing at 1900 hrs. The next morning was no better, but the sun did peep through the clouds at noon.Just in time too for the Hanami party to celebrate the Sakura season. The only problem was that the sakura were still a bit shy in blooming due to the weather.The green mats are spread and each person brings some food or drink. This was a cosmopolitan group of students of a Japanese language school. Germany, Switzerland, France, Australia, Canada, USA and Malaysia were represented.
All sharing experiences in Tokyo, all in Tokyo for various reasons and all absorbing the cultural with Japanese friends.

Now all that is required is that the cherry blossom start blooming . . . please!

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