Household names: I've so far been either to or through Toyota, Yokohama, Yaesu, Sanyo and Kawasaki. No, I didn't know half of them were places either. There are probably others I haven't come across yet.
At roadworks, unlike the Turks who have cardboard cutout police cars, the Japanese have plastic policemen waving lighted red batons.
Been having a lovely day out in the sun in Yokohama, just south of Tokyo. I've been to the top of the tallest building in Japan in the fastest lift in the world - to go up 69 floors it reaches 70 m/s (which equates to 45km/h). Makes one's ears pop, I can tell you. The view would have been stonking but unfortunately it was very hazy so it was just stunning. Never mind, eh. The south pier was designed by a British architect (dunno who) and looks like a seagull folding its wings; difficult to explain, really, but there's probably a pic on the web somewhere you can go and look at. It's pretty funky. I've been hit by the Monday thing again - everywhere in the world, all the really interesting musems and things are closed on Mondays. I must remember that and take Mondays off in future.
This is probably the most dangerous country I've been to so far. The typhoon (no.23) was pretty awful (billions of $ damage and 35-ish dead), but Saturday's earthquake in Niigata was catastrophic. Even the Japanese are feeling rather battered by all this, and they're used to it. I expect you've been seeing news reports about it.
On the plus side, Japan isn't nearly as expensive as I'd been led to believe. Even in Tokyo, beer is around the same price as in the UK, and last night I ate in the revolving Sky Lounge restaurant by the main railway station for a lot less than you'd pay in London (or even in Newbury, come to that). It was only the 15th floor but still a brilliant view of Tokyo by night in the hour and a half it took to make a complete revolution. Wonderful.
Posted by Cynthia Milton at October 25, 2004 05:09 PM GMT