Saturday, 16 May 2009

What I missed in Tokyo..

During my time away from Tokyo, here are some of the stuff I missed:

1. The japanese female voice thanking me for choosing Tokyo metro to ride, eventhough i have no other choice!

2. The feeling of an emperor when entering a shop. Yeah, in europe they dont bow to u when u enter a shop. They dont thank you for not buying anything or just visiting their store. And when u buy, I missed the fact that the cashier uses his both hands to open the plastic bag for u not by using one hand and BLOWING inside the bag to open it coz the other hand is busy with the mobile! Yup! This is how the cashier treated me!

3. I missed paying for a 100 yen item using 100 coins of 1 yen each. I tried to pay an amount using 6 coins in Prague and I received a look I will never forget!

4. I missed strange people shaking their head to me only by walking past them.

5. I missed using the suica card, and not needing to count coins for every train ride. Using the suica card, you just put your wallet against a reader and it will read and charge your train card wirelessly.

Feels great to be back!

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Europe in the eyes of a tourist..

Living in an expensive city as amman, which has a very low income/price ratio, gave me no chance of feeling like a tourist when I visited other countries. But, living in a city with a high income/price ratio with very expensive prices but yet higher incomes as Tokyo, made me see Praha (Prague) as one of the cheapest cities in the world.

Yeah! Believe it or not I even felt that the chocolate in the mini bar of the hotel room is not actually expensive! I bought a whole L size pizza, with salads and a cold drink for 1000yen (10$)! A 500ml cola is for 80yen, and a one hour bus from one city to another is 350yen!

Let us just clear some stereotypes about the Europeans:

1. Europeans are very organized and exact in time.

Nope. Far from the truth. When the bus leaves 16:04, that means its 4 minutes late. In Japan, this would never occur unless in rare occasions it was accompanied with a huge apologies. 16:00 means 16:00.

2. Europeans are so open minded and free.

Yeah right! Thats why they kept staring at me and my Japanese professor. You have never seen a Japanese person before? Yeah, I do not drink Alcohol. Yes never. Live with it and please do not keep giving me that weird look and stop whispering about it to your friends!

3. Nobody drinks Alcohol more than the Japanese.

Oh yeah, except for the Europeans. Europeans drink a beer between each two beers. And even during their working hours they drink.

4. Europe is soo clean that we wish Arab countries to be the same.

You are far from the truth here. For two years living in Japan, i did not notice 1 paper thrown carelessly in the middle of the road. That was probably the default case in Praha. Writing on the walls is so spread that you wonder how a clean wall looks like. Ofcourse, do not let me start to talk about their subways and metros! Shinjuku subway station in Tokyo (3 million visitors per day) is much cleaner than whole Praha (population of 1million). Amman also is much cleaner.

All in all, it was a very nice trip where business mixed with pleasure! Ofcourse, since my beloved university paid for all this, who am I to complain? Haha!