Top 10 Strangest Things About Tokyo

chikan-envelopment

Japanese asked what they think the strangest and most odd things about the nation’s capital are in comparison to the rest of Japan gave a list likely to be familiar to residents and visitors alike…

The ranking:

1. The rents are expensive

Average rents in Tokyo proper are literally double even those of Japan’s second city – $1,000 monthly for a 15m² single room apartment is not unusual in a central area.

2. There are too many people

Whilst central areas, especially major stations, are undeniably packed even by Japanese standards, many areas are deserted for much of the time, despite the obvious high density.

3. Parking costs are high

Practically any lot left vacant for any length of time will be in danger of sprouting a miniature rental car-park with exorbitant hourly rates – with a parking space a legal requirement for car ownership, and with apartment buildings and houses often lacking any parking, it is easy to see why car ownership is in rapid decline.

4. The air is dirty

Whilst perhaps dirty by Japanese standards, especially in central areas, compared to many car-centric western cities the air is quite clean and the traffic comparatively restrained – pollen allergies appear to be a far greater problem than smog.

5. The trains are packed

Rush hour trains are notoriously packed, or to put it another way train companies refuse to provide enough services – perhaps leading to Japan’s chikan culture.

6. Food is expensive

Expensive by Japanese standards, but perhaps cheap by European standards and exorbitant by US standards.

7. The water tastes nasty

The perception that Tokyo’s water supply is befouled and unsafe dogs the city in spite of all evidence to the contrary – many supermarkets even offer free supplies of filtered water as a draw to customers.

8. You don’t know the person who lives next door

Particularly in apartment buildings, inhabitants will in general go to some lengths to avoid acknowledging the existence of neighbours at all and new inhabitants will certainly not make their presence known with small gifts as some sources naively suggest is a current custom.

9. It’s noisy even at night

A constant stream of commuters, revelers and emergency services vehicles ensures the nights are never empty.

10. Even for the last train, there’s a rush

Sadly for the city’s otherwise 24/7 ambience, Tokyo’s ubiquitous mass transit system shuts down completely in the wee hours, leaving commuters/revelers/late night release queuers at the mercy of a horde of predatory taxi drivers…


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    Comment by Anonymous
    00:06 18/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    That's what you get for living in a fucking megalopolis. The same problems occur in London, New York, even in Stockholm.

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:15 18/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Tokyo? for a moment there I thought you were referring to London.

    Avatar of RopeXPantsu
    Comment by RopeXPantsu
    00:16 18/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    >train companies refuse to provide enough services – perhaps leading to Japan’s chikan culture.

    JUST ACCORDING TO KEIKAKU

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:19 17/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I'm surprised porn dispensing machines didn't make it onto this list.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:49 15/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I kinda expected that to... Atlest theirs no condom machines right...

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:22 22/10/2017 # ! Neutral (0)

    But there are used pantie machines. :/

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:18 18/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Strange? Nothing strange about this place. Just sounds like every other major city on this freakin planet.

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:00 18/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Almost every paragraph contradicted itself. What a terribly written mess.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:36 18/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Wut? It's almost exactly like D.C. It's like $1500+ for a studio apt. It's pretty crowded in most areas especially in the summer. School water tastes like chlorine. Everything is expensive here and the metro transit system is always busy. yeah. I could totally live in Japan.

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:14 19/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    DC and Tokyo don't even begin to compare. I'm from the D.C. area and while i don't know much about prices, not once on a train was i stuck standing in one spot with people on all sides of me for long periods of time, touching at least 3 of them out of a possible 5. Not even during rush hour in DC did i experience that.

    Avatar of Klingengeist
    Comment by Klingengeist
    09:10 18/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    In many countries the biggest and most expensive cities are the capitals. Also appartments in the central areas are always more expensive than in the outskirts.
    None of these points are strange except for point 10 if you compare it to other larger cities.

    So Tokyo is like many capitals and big cities, what a surprise... ^^

    For the expensive food, some days ago i watched a report in TV about San Francisco and the food prices in supermarkets. Compared to what we would pay here in germany they were really expensive. But i think in countries like Italy food is also pricy, at least the cheese was when i went to a italian supermarket ^^.

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:50 18/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    And girls are pervert.:P

    Avatar of Sukunai
    Comment by Sukunai
    21:49 17/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Ahh the thrill of Tokyo, land of incredible internet speeds.

    Sorry but I prefer my home town set in the middle of rural landscape.

    At 3 in the morning on Friday and Saturday night even, a person can walk naked down the main street without need to care if anyone can see. Because there won't be anyone there.

    Rush hour, no such thing in my home town. It's a town of 22k, but that just doesn't generate anything. I can walk anywhere I need to go. We have two buses for public transit and only old ladies ever seem to use them for the most part.

    My apartment, hmm should I brag, sure why not. 900 inclusive gets me a place where the balcony alone is likely the size of your Tokyo apartment. I don't have anything on it, as I don't really need it for anything. Nice to stand on and get some breeze on occasion though, or use a few tools to make a minor woodworking project.

    Heck I even have a small 'room' at the bottom of my entrance stairs big enough to live in (for a student). I use it to store my pair shoes.
    I'm sitting in a 12x12 room that's only function is for my computer desk and hobby area. Yep I use the entire space for a couple of 4 foot long bookcases and an 8 foot long hobby bench area. Most of the centre of the space is just open floor.

    Most of the adjoing kitchen is also just open floor, and the kitchen area is even bigger. I have a centre hub location likely the size of a Tokyo apartment, and it has no purpose at all beyond linking all the other rooms that are all about 20x20 although more rectangular in shape. And there are 3 of those.

    And all my neighbours are very friendly.

    I am within a 5 minute walk of everything. Post office, fast food, groceries, gaming, hardware. The mall though is a 20-30 minute walk.

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:03 17/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I went last summer...
    1. True
    2. Dependig the area, some parts of tokyo are empty)
    3. Didn't drive (it looked impossible)
    4. True
    5. 85% you can't move in the train, but in some hours and lines you can even sit!
    6. No way! food is really cheap! for lees than 5€ you can have a great meal! (I live in Barcelona, Spain, if you want to go out for dinner you'll sped at leas 15€
    7. I don't remember watter being so bad...
    8. Not my case but it could easily happen between Japanese
    9. when the clock hits 4 in the morning the city es really silent...
    10. Specially in the last train, that is the worse scenario to go in a train in Japan.

    Avatar of A_Moose
    Comment by A_Moose
    19:07 17/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    The food in Tokyo? Expensive? SERIOUSLY? I guess maybe if you're shopping for a lot of groceries but I was amazed and thrilled at how LITTLE I spent on food when I was there for two weeks (I'm American, for the record).

    I ate convenience store food every morning and some afternoons as well and I couldn't believe how healthy and CHEAP a lot of it was. Restaurants weren't that bad either, especially compared to some big cities in the U.S.

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:18 17/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    oh and btw you can rent big apartments in tokyo as foreigner for 500-100$ and i mean like normal apartment with 2-4 rooms and kitchen etc crap.

    you can find sites that rent apartments and you can go check em there too. not so expensive.

    also *cheap by european standards* yeah might be true but seriously most of japanese people earn more than people earn in europe? WTF?

    i look sometimes jobs in japan and especially *otaku/nerd etc crap* pay well.. c++ coding and other programming pays well there. i did compare the salary to some other countries and hell.. in europe the monthly pay was like 4000-8000euros and in japan you could get over 10000-12000euros month.

    aka if you got high education in japan > F. YAH you dont have any problems with money. engineers tend to earn quite well there.

    also that top10 list. well its quite normal in any big city.

    rent.. oh well if you know where to rent. its not so expensive. cheaper than in most european countries especially if you live in central of city.

    food... oh well when i lived there i thought it was cheap...

    noises at night well.. i didint mind them much and there wasnt them so much anyways... but cmon. its part of living in megacity?

    8# well i knew everyone who lived near me. its not * you dont know the person next door* seriously its only up to them to check out who lives there. its almost in any other country as well. usually you go check yourself your neighbours if you are so interested.

    overall i dont see anything strange about this list... and i thought it was cheaper living there than in europe. not to mention a lot more fun too. idk why did do this survey. none of my friends or neighbours bitched anything about this kinda crap. oh not to mention.

    some of these things on list are teh reasons why quite many people live outside of tokyo or just outside of city or almost outside.

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:18 17/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    oh typo. meant 500-1000$

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:37 17/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yeah €4000 to 8000 a month for C++ coding... haha dude you live on another planet.

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:56 17/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    French guy in Paris here:

    1. The rents are expensive
    Average rents in Paris proper are literally double even those of Japan’s second city – EUR 1000 monthly for a 20m² single room apartment is not unusual in a central area.

    2. There are too many people
    Whilst central areas, especially major stations, are undeniably packed by French standards, many areas are deserted for much of the time, despite the obvious high density.

    3. Parking costs are high
    Practically any lot left vacant for any length of time will be in danger of sprouting a miniature rental car-park with exorbitant hourly rates – with a parking space a legal requirement for car ownership, and with apartment buildings and houses often lacking any parking, it is easy to see why car ownership is in rapid decline.

    4. The air is dirty
    Check.

    5. The trains are packed
    Rush hour trains are notoriously packed, or to put it another way train companies refuse to provide enough services – But it's not leading to chikan.

    6. Food is expensive
    Expensive by Japanese standards, Expensive by US standards, expensive by French standards.

    7. The water tastes nasty
    The perception that Paris’ water supply is befouled and unsafe dogs the city in spite of all evidence to the contrary – most people drink bottled water.

    8. You don’t know the person who next door
    Depends.

    9. It’s noisy even at night
    A constant stream of commuters, revelers and emergency services vehicles ensures the nights are never empty.

    10. Even for the last train, there’s a rush
    Sadly for the city’s otherwise 24/7 ambience, Paris' ubiquitous mass transit system shuts down completely in the wee hours, leaving commuters/revelers/late night release queuers at the mercy of a horde of predatory taxi drivers

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:30 17/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    2. There are too many people

    Whilst central areas, especially major stations, are undeniably packed even by Japanese standards, many areas are deserted for much of the time, despite the obvious high density.

    ---
    This is true. Try being in Jimbocho at 5am; it's like something out of 28 Days Later.
    ---
    6. Food is expensive

    Expensive by Japanese standards, but perhaps cheap by European standards and exorbitant by US standards.

    ---
    As a European who worked with Americans over there, I can (anecdotally at least) confirm this. Japan has a reputation for being really expensive to live in; for Europeans, it's actually quite reasonable - restaurants are definitely cheaper.
    ---

    10. Even for the last train, there’s a rush

    Sadly for the city’s otherwise 24/7 ambience, Tokyo’s ubiquitous mass transit system shuts down completely in the wee hours, leaving commuters/revelers/late night release queuers at the mercy of a horde of predatory taxi drivers…

    ---
    This is totally true too. Trains to some areas stop at around 7-8pm, and resume at 5am. The last train is always really busy, and for female commuters probably something of a nightmare, as a lot of people on those trains are salaraymen coming out of izakaya straight from work, and consequently are drunk.
    ---

    Avatar of alex251
    Comment by alex251
    17:40 17/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    So Tokyo can be considered as a normal megacity - but this is the thing I find strange :)

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:51 17/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I live in Tokyo, yet my rent is about $200 monthly. Having a "state-sponsored foreign student" status really helps. That way I can spend the rest on my "other" needs *evil grin*

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:19 17/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    oh and btw you can rent big apartments in tokyo as foreigner for 500-1000$ and i mean like normal apartment with 2-4 rooms and kitchen etc crap.

    you can find sites that rent apartments and you can go check em there too. not so expensive.

    also *cheap by european standards* yeah might be true but seriously most of japanese people earn more than people earn in europe? WTF?

    i look sometimes jobs in japan and especially *otaku/nerd etc crap* pay well.. c++ coding and other programming pays well there. i did compare the salary to some other countries and hell.. in europe the monthly pay was like 4000-8000euros and in japan you could get over 10000-12000euros month.

    aka if you got high education in japan > F. YAH you dont have any problems with money. engineers tend to earn quite well there.

    also that top10 list. well its quite normal in any big city.

    rent.. oh well if you know where to rent. its not so expensive. cheaper than in most european countries especially if you live in central of city.

    food... oh well when i lived there i thought it was cheap...

    noises at night well.. i didint mind them much and there wasnt them so much anyways... but cmon. its part of living in megacity?

    8# well i knew everyone who lived near me. its not * you dont know the person next door* seriously its only up to them to check out who lives there. its almost in any other country as well. usually you go check yourself your neighbours if you are so interested.

    overall i dont see anything strange about this list... and i thought it was cheaper living there than in europe. not to mention a lot more fun too. idk why did do this survey. none of my friends or neighbours bitched anything about this kinda crap. oh not to mention.

    some of these things on list are teh reasons why quite many people live outside of tokyo or just outside of city or almost outside.

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:29 17/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    All these things i can say about my city Moscow, it's nothing unusual.
    PS sry 4 my english.

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:30 17/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Lisbon is the same, expecially the trains and car parking, and traffic. It´s almost impossible to cross 25 de Abril Bridge at rush hour. Besides crimallity in here is huge, a thing they didn´t mention in Tokyo. ( But like in any major city it shoud be )

    Well as many people refered above it´s quite normal for this to happen in major cities.

    Avatar of Invictus
    Comment by Invictus
    21:32 17/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Ups, I was logged out.

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:44 17/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    many of that thing happened too in my country...so i don't really feel weird by it...=___=

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:58 18/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I live in a crappy studio apartment in NY and I pay $1200... more than half of my pay as a Graphic designer goes to rent!

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:06 18/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    >> 5. The trains are packed
    >>Rush hour trains are notoriously packed, or to put it another way train companies refuse to provide enough services – perhaps leading to Japan’s chikan culture.

    It's kind of unavoidable (the packed trains part, not the chikan). The train companies "refuse" to provide enough services because if they did, the trains would collide with each other all over the place. JR East even installed ATC (Automatic Train Control)--generally a feature of the bullet trains and subways--on its two busiest lines, just so they could get the headways (amount of time between trains) as short as possible. It's still not enough, but they're already at capacity with no room to add more tracks.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:23 20/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    1000 $ - ha! I live on the other cost of Japan sea, in god damned Vladivostoc city, Russia far, far away, 6000 km. from Moscow. Salary is 1/5 of Japan average, but rent is 500$.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:11 20/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    If its $1000 for a 15meter square apartment, it isn't so bad as it is normal here in Chicago. Everything in Chicago is expensive compared to anything else in the world.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:31 20/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I can't say I found Tokyo to be as expensive as I thought it would be but I was there for just two weeks and not paying rent and such so maybe I don't get the full picture. Or maybe it just says that my country has become wayyyy expensive for a 2.5 world country. Bastards!

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:05 20/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    So... Tokyo is just like any other major city. What's the surprise?

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:22 20/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    try live in hawaii. although it's sort of the opposite. we have great weather and even in the ghetto it still looks nice as hell compared to others. it's just that prices are a lot more then you think it is.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:01 03/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    You know, you CAN fix half of these problems if you take a good look at problem nr. 2:
    Currently, due to this planet's way too high human population, China's standard of work is starting to take place everywhere.

    It is hard for you to find a job. Even if you do find, then there's a hard competition for that place. If you do get in, then they will refuse to give you a permanent contract. You can not decide about your salary, they will do whatever they want with it, sometimes they won't even pay you at all, pointing on (their lates global slavery scheme) recession. You are a moron, you will automatically believe them. You are actually so dumb, that you won't even mind them having the biggest parties in the whole history of that company, while you started doing 4x more work just to get 30% lower salary, due to recession.
    In your life, the same competition goes for every other element in lowest step of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs pyramid. You find yourself barely filling the second step. The top 2 steps are unknown to you.

    Now, if we'd cut global human population down to, lets say, 3 million people, yes Million, then, You could chose, how much You get payed, how much You work and if You work at all.

    Now, what are you going to do about it? After 30 seconds of reading it, you go doing what you can do the best: hide yourself in booze and after 30 minutes, you have forgotten everything about this and insured, that you keep on being a good quality slaveworker, who will NEVER fight. The End.
    At least you could do this much, that you stop multiplying like cockroaches. Have you heard about chemical castration?

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:50 23/10/2016 # ! Neutral (0)

    "Strangest" are you fucking kidding me!? With the *possible* exception of 6-8, the exact same problems are the case here in London. Capital cities everywhere have this.

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:28 02/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    well,at least not as half bad on what's going on China.Multiply that 3 times what China's offered to tourists.

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:39 25/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I found the gripe about the trains pretty strange. The trains run really frequently and more importantly on time. The sheer mass of people just means that even with trains coming every 5-10 minutes, rush hour trains are going to be crammed, there's no way around that.

    And saying that packed trains lead to more train molesters is really an oversimplification.

    Avatar of wonderlandecstasy
    Comment by wonderlandecstasy
    11:40 26/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Same as every other metropolis.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:09 18/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    wow, major discussions goin on

    Avatar of TSA
    Comment by TSA
    19:38 18/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    This is no strange thing, even our 1,7 mill capital has the same.
    Sure its cheaper then there for sure, but not in out terms.

    Avatar of phisaki
    Comment by phisaki
    14:32 18/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yo that sounds like my city of New York!

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:54 18/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Sounds just Like Toronto

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:31 18/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Except for 7 and 10, this could be a list about New York City. O_<

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:58 18/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    QUICKLY FELLOW WEEABOOS, RISE TO THE DEFENSE OF YOUR BELOVED DREAM COUNTRY!

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:41 18/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I was going to say "you're describing Moscow, aren't you?" when I googled a bit to come up with
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_expensive_cities_for_expatriate_employees
    and
    http://www.finfacts.ie/costofliving.htm

    To sum up, Tokyo and Moscow have been in top 3 most expensive cities for years. Yet there are some differences.

    1. The rents are expensive
    Depends. Yes, for ~$1k you can get twice larger single room apartment here than in Tokyo, but it will take good (if not the most) part of your average income here. 15m² apt in central area will be around $700/mo.

    2. There are too many people
    Same here. It's a 10+ million megapolis, you know.

    3. Parking costs are high
    On the contrary, they're mostly non-existant. Or, to be exact, they're high where they exist, but such parkings are very rare. You just park where you can find an empty spot. Downside is that Moscow's basically one large traffic jam, to the extent that people go to convenience stores at night.

    4. The air is dirty
    It's supposed to be. However, south-west is dominant wind direction (that is, W-SW-S parts have relatively good air) and Moscow has several large to really large parks (you're safe if you live nearby), so it really depends. Center is a toxic waste nevertheless.

    5. The trains are packed
    During rush hours in the morning and evening. During other times you can choose where to stand and if you have a child with you or look old enough, you get a chance to have a seat freed for you.

    6. Food is expensive
    Yes, if you prefer to eat out. If you cook yourself and "know the places" where to buy stuff, you can eat good food for less than $100/week per mouth.

    7. The water tastes nasty
    Depends. Water purifying systems are being upgraded, so if your district's one was, it's fine. Boiling is a must regardless.

    8. You don’t know the person who lives next door
    You won't know them if you don't want to. It's not a village where you'll be known whether you want it or not.

    9. It’s noisy even at night
    Center is for sure. The rest isn't as long as you don't have a large road nearby. Nothing a good windows can't solve anyway.

    10. Even for the last train, there’s a rush
    No, they're generally empty, metro system for sure. Its cross-line passages close at around 0:30 (so you can still get somewhere by metro by 1:00), and stations open for entrance at ~5:45.

    Avatar of rikarika
    Comment by rikarika
    22:04 18/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    So it's basically like every other big city. Shocking!

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:50 19/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    This applies to every major city in the world.

    Avatar of Master Veith
    Comment by Master Veith
    11:29 19/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Woachaa!!! *Master Veith came flying through!*

    Statements mentioned above NOT very strange, Japan with no Hentai... STRANGE!

    SFX: POOF!

    *vanished into thin air*

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:51 19/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Probably I'm too late lol but I'd just like to justify/explain the use of the word 'strange' in this context: In the Japanese language/culture, the word strange ('hen') is often used in a very negative light. So anything that is annoying is often simply referred to as 'strange' instead of the less polite and long 'mendokusai' (troublesome). ^^;; Just thought I'd throw that out there?

    Also I'm not talking out of my ass (pre-empting comments lol sorry); I'm Japanese. xD;;

    Avatar of cherrybox
    Comment by cherrybox
    04:35 19/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    don't forget men in tokyo have small dick and everyone looks like a japanese person. thats fucking strange as hell i tells ya






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