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…
1. The rents are expensive
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…