Skip to main content

Writing about Tokyo, Japan- Day 1

By 18/09/2009September 12th, 2018travel, truth, write, writer, writing

Japan is an intriguing country for us outsiders. Very few Japanese people speak English, and very few foreign tourists understand even the basic words of Japanese, so it makes for an interesting experience. Here is an account of my travels in Tokyo.

A few days in Tokyo, and I realized why I felt a little spaced out. Billboards screamed at me from all directions, announcements were made, people chatted, and I understood…nothing. It was all so much background noise that it became silence.

Tokyo at night near Ginza

Tokyo at night near Ginza

I was able to see the people from afar, to note what they wore, how many times they bowed to each other (I counted a refined-looking gentleman bow at least 14 times while parting from his colleagues/ bosses at a station), the way they smiled, how they pretended to fall asleep in metros, avoided eye contact.

The first evening in Shinjuku, we took the subway to the Tokyo station, from there to Yarakucho, and walked out of the station to Ginza, where we met a friend.

Tokyo Subway Map, the all-important English version

Tokyo Subway Map, the all-important English version

View of a Ginza Evening in Tokyo

View of a Ginza Evening in Tokyo

Metros are convenient, yes, but they are also a complete puzzle for newcomers, all the stations on the station maps are written in Japanese, and the counters look like complicated video game consoles. During our travels in Tokyo, we had to ask a few people (who spoke only Japanese, of course) before we managed to figure out (with lots of gestures and bows)how to get our tickets. I did manage to get my hands on a English Tokyo Subway Map, and I stuck to that for dear life for the rest of my stay.

Ginza is the shopping high street of Tokyo, where 1 sq m of real estate is worth 300,000 USD. All I bought were bread buns from Kimuraya, because our friend told us it was famous, and though I mostly did not understand what they contained other than the obvious ones like cream and cheese, they were all delicious. Cost about 5 usd each. Big price shift from KL.

Kimuraya Bread Shop, Ginza, Tokyo

Kimuraya Bread Shop, Ginza, Tokyo

Ginza Shop Window Tokyo

Ginza Shop Window Tokyo

Spotted a woman walking in a kimono on Ginza, and when I asked my friend she said that Ginza had a restaurant or two where the women who served wore kimonos. Some of the nicer restaurants in Ginza start from 10,000 yen per person, which is about 115 usd, so we strolled back to the Tokyo station, and following our friend, walked into an out-of-the-way restaurant.

Woman in Kimono in Ginza, Tokyo

Woman in Kimono in Ginza, Tokyo

All was hushed, and since I could not be the tourist and click pics of the food, all I have to say is the Tofu in Japan is very different from everywhere else. It is creamy, flavorful. Later I discovered this one was especially flown in daily from a different island. Hah, no wonder.

I also learned that Soba is better had at the end of the meal, and one has to make a slurpy noise at the last bite to show one’s appreciation. Had some potent Sake’ afterward which means that the memories of dinner turned rather hazy. Oh, yeah, we had Tuna gills roasted. Tasted meaty, not like fish at all.

The bill came to 22000 Yen for 5500 Yen (63 usd) per person, and I developed a fresh appreciation for Malayasia, where you can gorge yourself at a good restaurant for about 20 usd.

Too tired to navigate the Metro (and knowing we had to wake up early to go to Mt. Fuji the next morning), we figured we’d take a taxi back to our hotel, not more than 10 km away. The fare came to about 4000 Yen (46 usd).

I did not take another taxi during my travels in Tokyo.

End of Day 1 of Travels in Tokyo, on to Day 2, and the trip to Mount Fuji.

I have scheduled the rest of the posts to appear in the next few days, so stay tuned!

Have you been to Japan? Have you gone on any Travels in Tokyo? What travel tips would you like to share? How are things improving for the international traveller in Japan, and Travels in Tokyo?

Please join Daily (w)rite on its Facebook Page in case you’d like to be heard by this community. If you liked this post, you can have posts delivered to your inbox: SUBSCRIBE VIA EMAIL.


Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  • cherylfoston says:


  • K E Garland says:

    This is about right. I visited Japan last year, but it seemed to quiet to me.

  • djklmnopi says:

    We took the JR instead of the subway, easier to navigate. Coming from a country that do not have subways and a poor mass-transport system, I find organization in their intricate subway and train system, which must be weird. When we went, there were English speaking information kiosk in the train stations, but in Osaka – oh my! It was harder, no one spoke English when we were there, I got to use the very little Japanese I learned from a one-semester language class. Most hotels provide the subway maps in English now. (:

    I love Japanese food. (: Pricey, yes, but I just love how I know I’m getting good quality noodles, pastries, curry, pizza, burger, sushi, sashimi… ♥

  • My Say says:

    i love their attire !! the woman looks so graceful !

  • go Mama O says:

    This reminded me of my time in Japan over 10 years ago! Tokyo IS an incredible city – and expensive for sure! I’ll be linking to this post. Enjoy your trip!

  • indigobunting says:

    Ah, you are brave, and how exciting. (The expense of the place certainly scares me…)

  • I’ve read that the tofu in Japan is also more healthy too. Thanks for sharing the photos.

  • DarcKnyt says:

    Great photos, Damyanti, and a great job relating the stories! I can’t wait for the other entries!