Monday, August 20, 2007

Tokyo Gardens and Subway

The old ways balance beautifully with the new in Tokyo. The peace and quiet of this garden is in direct contrast to the busy streets, skyscrapers and underground railway of this wonderful city. Taking courage in both hands, I decided to use the subway to explore Tokyo. Foolishly, I thought the destinations would in English (albeit small print) under the Japanese symbols, but they were not. Just as I decided to abandon my trip, I noticed a group of young girls making their way towards the ticket machines and asked if they could help me. They were more than helpful and seemed to enjoy practicing their schoolgirl English on this inexperienced traveler. Before long, I had my ticket in hand and followed the masses towards the trains.

The subways are clean and fellow travelers are courteous and polite. Etched in the footway leading towards the trains are red footprints. On the left side, the footprints were in green leading in the opposite direction towards the exit. I noticed that travellers did not overtake each other in their haste to get to the trains, but simply walked in an orderly fashion – I’ve never seen such control! In the London, Paris and New York undergrounds, it’s every man for himself as each person jockey’s for position and a seat. I thoroughly enjoyed my day out in Tokyo and highly recommend the subway to other travellers who want to explore the city at their leisure.