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View Full Version : Tokyo, convenient or not ?



Maciamo
May 24, 2010, 13:42
When I first came to Japan in 2001 I was struck by how convenient everything was. This was in Tokyo, of course, and I only looked at what differed from what I was used to. 9 years later, I have come to think that Japan is not always that convenient compared to big European cities (and I am sure also North American or Australian ones).

What's convenient in Tokyo

- 24/7 convenience stores everywhere
- restaurants everywhere
- very extensive metro and local train network
- home delivery services work on Saturdays and Sundays too
- main thoroughfares have good signs, clear lines on the road, and traffic is relatively smooth

What's not convenient in Tokyo (or in Japan in general)

- the international airport is far from the centre (1h30 to 2h away, depending on where you are going)
- many shops and restaurants don't accept credit or debit cards
- most ATM's don't accept foreign cards and charge for withdrawal with another bank's card
- houses and apartments tend to have very narrow corridors and too little space to move things around, iron sheets, and so on.
- very difficult to find park one's car near a house (e.g. to unload purchases or furniture) if there is no garage (and few houses have one downtown).
- department stores are actually so big that it's hard to find what you are looking for (especially for small electronics accessories, which are better ordered online)
- not possible to keep one's mobile phone when changing operator
- roads rarely have bicycle lanes. Bicycles are supposed to drive with cars, which is dangerous for bikers (taxis are not very careful), but most often ride on the pavement, which is dangerous for pedestrians (especially with kids).
- Waste disposal. Cardboard boxes have to be flattened and tied together with strings. This is very time-consuming and bothersome when many boxes have to be disposed. Why not just put all the smaller boxes in the largest one ?

PeeJayx
Dec 16, 2010, 17:35
Agree with all yours. Here's my additions:

CONVENIENT:
Reasonably-priced public transport
Quite straightforward to pay bills
You're never too far from a コンビニ or public toilet

INCONVENIENT:
Trains stop early in the evenings, which can cripple a night out if you're in Tokyo: often you need to be back on a train by 10:00pm.
Similarly, many big stores close early, and open late too. Maybe I've been spoiled by 24hr supermarkets back in the UK, but a supermarket open from 10:00am - 10:00pm can catch me out if I need something urgent and it's early/late.
50/100 yen coins. Whose idea was it to make them so similar? Okay, a minor quibble, but when you're in a rush and you don't want to hold up the queue, it can be frustrating when you have to fan out the coins to see which ones have holes and which don't! :p