The Beginning

Hello, nice that you found the way to my first trip report. I want to tell of my first experiences here in Japan now, as far as I can still remember it.

Everything started with the fact that, in 2006 to an end in the product that I had made ​​since 1993 and was outsourced to Japan. For this, the machines best preserved were shipped to Japan to Higashimatsuyama, 50km north-west of Tokyo and rebuilt again. Then some German colleagues were selected, including myself, to teach the Japanese colleagues. How it all began.

The Arriving

On 14.7.2006 it´s going on. Excited, I started my journey from Stuttgart Main Station, where I was to meet a project manager who accompanied me throughout the journey.

From Stuttgart we took the ICE (InterCityExpress) train to Frankfurt am Main. Once there, we checked in . Business, not Economy .. wow ..! Then we waited inside the Lufthansa lounge for our flight. For my project leader somehow everything was usual, he looked rather bored at me while I did not come from the marvel out. Then it finally went off.

We flew with ANA (All Nippon Airways) to Tokyo Narita, the international airport of Tokyo. Once there I turned my brain to "Recording". I dont wanted to miss or overlook anything. To get from the airport to the center of the capital, there are various fast train connections with different prices of course, but on average, you have to expect about 25 -.€ for a single ticket. The journey takes just over an hour, enough time to relax. Our route took us to Shinagawa in the south of Tokyo, where we checked in at the 5-star Le Meridien Pacific Tokyo Hotel.


The first Impression

After checking in, I walked into my room for the first time in the 15th Floor and had a great view of the nocturnal Tokyo.

Then I looked around the room first. A huge bed, a small TV, minibar, closet, bathroom. Nothing was missing and everything was perfect clean.

Yes, so you can make yourself comfortable. Too bad, that the LeMeridien Pacific Tokyo Hotel was intended only for the weekends. Weekdays I was housed in a nice little hotel right on the spot at my workplace. But more on that later.


The next morning, it was Saturday the 15th July 2006 I met with other colleagues in the hotel lobby. Together we went over to a small cafe.

This is the view from Shinagawa Station in the direction of the hotel. On the right is a little piece of the hotel. It is not difficult to recognize that there is a TGI Friday's Steak Restaurant outside the hotel. At a certain point above the bar who once visited this restaurant, which is an area with many international currencies notice. The 5 € note is from me. :-)

Opposite the hotel is a McDonald's, and just to the right a small sandwich cafe. Talking about sandwich. I do not know why, but Japanese people always cut the toast the edge off (see KILL BILL Vol.2, Scene David Carradine makes the small Bibi a sandwich while he talks to Beatrix). There as well the delicious edge must go.

After breakfast, we had free time and so I got first a crash course in the Japanese rail system. Everything from buying a ticket on the information panel to the trains is completely thought through. So well thought out, that there is, thanks to the Japanese mentality NO dodgers.

I would like to explain the rail system once briefly.

Basically you must distinguish between three different rail systems in Japan.

As would be first of all the JR Group, which consists of six subsidiaries.

JR Hokkaido, which supplies the island of Hokkaido.

JR East which supplies the East.

JR Central for Greater Tokyo and the surrounding cities.

JR West for beautiful western Japan's.

JR Shikoku for the eponymous island in the south.

JR Kyushu for the island of Kyushu.



In all areas JR keeps the local and remote connections for quickly and reliably thus connecting to large and small cities.

The second rail system is the Tokyo Metro.

The Tokyo Metro Tokyo supplied the Centre's and to explain the mostly underground while the JR Lines most above ground on high railway tracks is on the go .

The third rail system are various private railway companies that fill the last gaps. Thus you can quickly and safely comes from everywhere in Japan to everywhere.

Now you look again at the first image with the empty white boxes. This board can be found at each of the stations shown, only with the difference which is printed a different price in each white box. So you just look at your destination station and immediately know which path you need to take and what the cost is before you are at the vending machine.

The second step is the ticket purchase.

You know even now how much your ticket cost, so simply select the number of people left and right the ticket price. Then pay the ticket and it comes.

Now comes the first trick that makes dodging impossible. All stations are indeed freely accessible, though not the track area , the most centrally located in the station. To get there , you need the ticket, which at the top has all the necessary information , such as price , place and date, and at the bottom there is a layer hidden under a black magnetic tape. If you want access to the tracks you have put the ticket into a track in a barrier system just before reaching the railway (similar to the boarding at the airport) . You pass the barrier and take your ticket back on the other side counter . The ticket is now validated and registered in the central computer . The system now knows where you are and what stations you may approach . Within this system , so long as you stay in a train station , the ticket remains valid . You can drive back to your starting station , if you have something forgotten at home or in the hotel so no problems. It is also possible to go beyond the scope of the ticket also . However, the ticket when leaving the station will not be accepted .

The Access to the Tracks

To be able to leave the station eventually be found in the immediate vicinity of the barrier such a machine called "Fare Adjustment". There, you put your "invalid" ticket in and the machine displays the difference price. You pay for and get a new ticket, which allows you to leave the station.

So as you see ... dodging is not worthwhile.

On this day, we have a little vice see us in Tokyo. With the Yamanote Line, the most important Train in the center, we drove various sightseeing points until evening ... then woke Tokyo right on. Everywhere, neon signs, giant screens and people lit without end.

Whenever I'm in a new city, my first goal is the Hard Rock Cafe, if one exists. Tokyo has even two.

The Hard Rock Cafe Tokyo is located in the Minato district and there in the Roppongi entertainment district. Roppongi is pretty easy to find. When you get to the train station a near of Roppongi you can also see a few meters the Mori Tower, a skyscraper in Roppongi Hills. If you come to the Skyscraper one is inevitably on the main street in Roppongi. Sooner or later, then you will pass a Mc Donald's and right next to the Hard Rock Cafe . Really easy to find.

The second HRC in Tokyo is located in Ueno Station in Taito district. So pretty easy to find.

For some, unknown to me reasons, but is printed on the merchendising products Uyeno.

But it should not bother you.

On Sunday afternoon, I got used to the time change in the meantime, we went for the first time according to Higashimatsuyama in Saitama Prefecture. There was my new job for the next 3 weeks.

Once there, awaiting me an absolutely cute small town. I immediately felt well when I walked through the streets to the hotel.

From the train station (A) I walked off to the 3-star hotel Shiunkaku (B). From there I had to go every day to my job (C).

The hotel is idyllically situated in a small forest. Behind the hotel there is a temple complex. Early on from the station you can see the first Torii, the path you to the temple .

View from the temple towards the station.

Entrance Torii behind the hotel Shiunkaku

A temple building.

The main building of the temple complex.


Entrance to the hotel Shiunkaku.


Friday, 21/07/2006: Finally weekend for me meant to pack my bag and back to Tokyo. There I'll stay again until Sunday evening. Enough time for sightseeing.

One of the most famous objects of Tokyo is the 332 meter high Tokyo Tower. Built from 1957 to 1958, the tower is a very popular viewpoint in Tokyo.

(Imagesource: Wikipedia)


Here are a few photos which can be seen from the tower.




This is the Zojoji temple directly across from the tower.






The Rainbow Bridge which connects Tokyo with the artificial island of Odaiba. There, among other things, Fuji TV, the building with the ball is in the background.






View to the east. Between the skyscrapers you can see the Hama Rijkyu garden. The only _one whose waters exposed to the tides. Left behind the groups of high-rise buildings, there is the famous Tokyo fish market.





View to the north. Approximately 3km from here, behind the towers is the imperial garden where Emperor Akihito and his family reside.







At this point ends my report. All other photos with descriptions can be found in my Picasa album.

I would like to thank at this point my interpreter Kay Kobayashi, who was helping me and always informative during my stay. With her I spent my second Japan trip in 2007 ....