Date: May 18, 2015
Written by: Andrew Federow, Simon Chin, Charles Du Puy and Apparjit Ashta
Japan is beautiful. The people of Japan make this country beautiful. Some of us had been to Japan before, but for most of us it was our first visit to Japan. We were in Tokyo for last couple of days. The city of Tokyo was such a departure from Nagoya. Tokyo is crowded. The people here move fast. We stayed at the Prince Hotel which was conveniently located just outside the Shinagawa train station. We had no official business planned in Tokyo for Saturday and Sunday; hence, the city was ours to discover. Travel by Japan Rail (JR) and the local subway system is the primary mode of travel in Tokyo. It didn’t take us long to figure out how to get from point A to point B by rail. Travelling by rail was quite an adventure. While it was an opportunity for a few of us to check out the local culture and Japanese awesome choice of fashion (especially shoes), it was also an uncomfortable ride for some given the packed train rails. The brushing up against strangers in the train was bit beyond comfort levels. Many of us had not been to Tokyo before. For few of us it was a journey down memory lane. Whether it was eating at one’s favourite Indian restaurant in city, visiting one’s childhood home and park, or seeing the city from a fresh eye, Tokyo was indeed a treat.
Our highlight of the day was visiting Tokyo Gas (a producer of LNG and electricity for the greater metro of Tokyo). We picked up Mr. Abe (an engineer for Tokyo gas) at the Kawasaki station to be our interpreter for Mr. Taguchi (an older gentleman and the director of Plant Management, Tokyo Gas). Mr. Taguchi was an educated man who knew about each nut and bolt about Tokyo Gas. His enthusiasm and passion for his job was a breath of fresh air for business students such as us. His level of energy would put a younger lad to shame. Our visit to Tokyo Gas was full of information about the process of producing and delivering natural gas and electricity. While Mr. Taguchi explained the details in Japanese for us, Mr. Abe kindly interpreted it for us in English. We all loved Mr. Taguchi’s animated style of describing us things about Tokyo Gas. Sadly for future visitors, Mr. Taguchi would be retiring by end of June 2015. It’s a real loss to Tokyo Gas.
Overall, we thought that the day would be pretty uneventful given the fact would be travelling most of the day. But once we all received our boarding passes to Seoul, we had few hours to kill at the airport, and that would only mean one thing: last minute Japanese Sushi and more beer, which made for an interesting flight to Seoul. Since the distance between Tokyo and Seoul is relatively short, the plane must ascend sharply to get to the optimum altitude. This meant longer seat belt sign to be in effect by captain which was test of endurance of the bladders for some of us.
To conclude, the flight to Seoul marks a bittersweet end to our stay in Japan. Even though, the future of Japan doesn’t look so promising, we cannot help but be hopelessly optimistic about the future of the country. The population of Japan is aging, the “salarymen” are overworked, the Debt-to-GDP is 240% which is further damaged by the fact that Japan is a non-saver society. However, the people of Japan are kind, hospitable, humble, respectful, and always smiling. We bow to you for everything you have done for us and we part with nothing but fond memories (except the train incident). It is a moment to look forward to things in future – whether it’s the future of Japan and its country-people, our trip to Seoul, or Mr. Taguchi’s life after retirement. We are certain that the future holds promising things for all of us. They say if it’s not a happy end to a story, it’s not an end yet.
Wakare Japan, Arigato Japan. Goodbye Sushi, and hello Kimchi.
And happy birthday to the special girl, Yasmine.
We hope this was your best birthday ever. We wish you all the best in life. Now we must retire to bed, it’s a long day tomorrow. Good night y’all. Sleep tight; don’t let the bed bugs bite