TOKYO 2020 – HERE WE COME!
After visiting Tokyo for the final scout in late 2017, it’s incredibly clear we are NOT in Kansas anymore. It is such a different place. A different place filled with amazing food, the cleanest streets you’ve ever seen, a humane cadence that makes things tick perfectly, and awe inspiring landscapes. This is Tokyo…and we will be there before we all know it!
Here’s a few dos and don’ts to minimize any culture shock:
- A good deal of locals wear surgical masks to prevent the intake of unwanted germs. I rode the subway a lot, so maybe that’s why I saw so many, but those masks can be seen all over the streets of Tokyo too. Have no fear – there is no true “contamination” concern for the general public. These are germaphobes taking their concern for good health to the next level.
- Very few if any garbage cans line these clean streets. Makes no sense, right? But when you understand this culture’s thinking around the subject, it may give you a better perspective. Your own garbage is considered your responsibility. So…if you want to have a piece of gum, go for it. Then…put the wrapper in your pocket and throw it away in your garbage when you get home.
- Walk on the left, not right. On the city streets, hug your left hand side. If you walk our traditional right, you are a fish swimming upstream.
- On escalators, if you’re not physically walking on them, again, hug the left. The right hand side of an escalator is meant for those on the move. The left take their time and allow the escalator to do the work.
- You’ll be using the subway system quite a lot here. It is clean, pristine, efficient, and you’ll get the hang of it after a day or two. Especially if you’re no stranger to a subway line (i.e. NYC). Although we might THINK we have good etiquette when it comes to letting people on/off subways, we can be real idiots when it comes to this piece too. Let every single person deboard the subway first. Don’t worry – the subway will allow everyone ample time to get on once the path is 100% clear
For a better understanding on how efficient Japan/Tokyo is run, check out this quick video-
Don’t worry! There is English everywhere! It’s essentially the second language, since Japan has mastered reading/writing the language, Japan uses English to speak to everyone visiting from around the globe. Pronouncing things well never hurts, though. A good start is understanding each vowel has only ONE sound. We can typically assign many sounds to each vowel.
Here’s a quick cheat sheet: ■ “A” = ah ■ “E” = ay ■ “I” = ee ■ “O” = oh ■ “U” = oo
The national park HAKONE sounds like “Hah-koh-nay” – Get it? If not, no worries, you will.