Sunday, September 4, 2011

JICA FRIENDSHIP PROGRAM SCIENCE STUDENTS 1987: PART 3: FIRST WEEK IN TOKYO: UNOFFICIAL TOUR

Right after our official schedule, we were allowed to go around Tokyo.
Too many things may have changed in Tokyo after 24 years of rapid technology plus the recent natural disaster that affected Japan, but I want to share this article about Tokyo!

We were sort of prepared to be on our own because we did have a crash course in Japanese as well as a little blue booklet which we can refer to. We were also advised on the places to go to and also oriented to Japanese culture.

After the very formal schedules of our lectures and visits, the chance to go around Tokyo by ourselves was very exciting. We were ready with our yen and with our little Nihonggo!

These were among the phrases we learned:
1) Konnichiwa, Konbanwa (greetings)
2) Domo arigato gozaimasu (thank you)
3) Sumimasen (excuse me)
4) Wakarimasen (I don't understand)
5) Onamae wa nandesu ka? (what is your name?)
and some other basic phrases such as on greeting, introduction and how to get to places... 

BUT, these were among the phrases we would never forget:
1) Toire wa doko desu ka? (where is the toilet?) = = which we needed almost at every stop considering we had so many activities during the whole day
2) Shashin kudasai (Picture please)
3) Chotto matte kudasai (Wait please) and
4) Mo ichido (again) = = where the unofficial photographers would get crazy as each one would request a picture from each of our cameras... as in again and again and again for large group photos.   
5) Ikura desu ka? (how much?)
6) Makete kudasai or Discounto kudasai (discount please)
7) Omiyage kudasai. (souvenir please) = = this phrase was the culmination of our shopping especially for the "Club Sen Yen", and I don't remember if I was effective in getting one. But Jon A. had several omiyage brought home, including a shirt cuff and even, a bulky vase! Maybe, he was also more of a shopper than us... or had stronger charisma!

Remember, we were given almost $1000.00 (¥135,000.00) equivalent at that time. Although, the money was broken down as such, the money was given to us in cash. Strictly speaking, we didn't need to buy a ¥1000.00 breakfast because we knew that we would be served snacks by the time we reached the places we visited. We already had our outfits ready and we didn't need to send our literature separately because the airlines weren't so strict with the baggage weights at that time.
In fact, when we were on our way home, the bus driver was shocked that half of our bus was filled with baggage (original luggage plus new stuff plus electronics) and he said, " I never saw luggage this much before!".
Trivia from the General Students group... they had less luggage because they brought home "Kobe pearls"!
A delegate could survive even if we had little pocket money.




















I also remember the Visayan group didn't spend any yen for the first two weeks, because we hang on to the "kuripot" (too thrifty) character and maybe also because we had plans of buying something of substance during the trip. I myself had plans of buying a camera, a Pentax point and shoot which I saw in the Newsweek magazine before I left.
As soon as we went down to the subway, we were shocked by the "sea" of people during the rush hour with everyone wearing a suit or a dark colored uniform for the younger people. It was difficult to cross to the supermarket  within the subway just because of the number of people.
At that time, I thought it was unusual to wear casual shirts and jeans in Tokyo, but when we went to Kanagawa and Yamaguchi where we met college students, we also saw that they were casually dressed.

Ikebukuro, where we stayed was very conveniently located and is said to be the busiest station next to Shinjuku. We jumped from one stop in the JR Yamanote Line from Ikebukuro to another subway stop in inner Tokyo like Shinjuku for our cameras, Akihabara for electronics, Shibuya, Harajuku and Ueno where we got stuck with a weather temperature of 11 degrees and underdressed (shpuld have worn a heavier jacket). 

TheYamanote Line is the above-ground loop line that circles centralTokyo. It is run by East Japan Railway Company (JR East). It carries millions of passengers everyday.
The Yamanote Line connectsTokyo Stationwith such major Tokyo stations as Hamamatsucho,Shinagawa,Shibuya,Shinjuku,Ikebukuro,Nishi-Nippori,Nippori,Ueno,Akihabaraand Kanda Stations.
The Yamanote Line effectively demarcates inner Tokyo. The price of land - and therefore rent - inside the Yamanote Line is generally higher than outside of it.


Here are some of the places we visited in 1987 and the typed data were all taken from my original album created during that time...
We went to the Shinjuku Sumitomo Building.



We arrived at the 51st floor of the Sumitomo Building but I really don't know what happened here...


This is the Yoyogi National Stadium in Shibuya...

From Wikipedia: Yoyogi Park (代々木公園 Yoyogi kōen?) is one of the largest parks in Tokyo, Japan located adjacent to Harajuku Station and Meiji Shrine in Shibuya.

It was designed by Kenzo Tange and built between 1961 and 1964 to house swimming and diving events in the 1964 Summer Olympics. A separate annex was used for the basketball competition at those same games. The design inspired Frei Otto's arena designs for the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich.
The arena holds 13,291 people (9,079 stand seats, 4,124 arena seats and 88 "royal box" seats) and is now primarily used for ice hockey, futsal and basketball.






I vividly remember visiting shopping in Akihabara (for electronics) and Shinjuku (for the cameras) as well as Harajuku, Shibuya, Ueno but I don't think these places would look the same this decade.

We also visited neighboring Yokohama with Karen's aunt...

Mc Donald ( called Maco Donaldo) by the Japanese


can somebody identify the statue at our back?


We were really able to go around Tokyo at that time and see the different cultures noted in each of the different train station stops.

In Part 4, we will be visiting the different parts of the Tokyo suburbs and for the Science students group in Kanagawa Prefecture where we met really beautiful and interesting friends.

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