Ok, NOW I’m in Tokyo

Posted: May 11, 2006 in Uncategorized

The problem with exchange rates and ATMs is that if you’re not thinking very clearly, say as a first-time tourist wandering slack-jawed around the streets of a foreign city being visually assaulted by bright colors and a completely unreadable language, it’s very easy to withdraw entirely too much cash. Hence the reason I just walked up to a kiosk, put in my card, and pulled out some $450 when I meant to get $45. If I’m not careful while I’m here, I may wind up accidentally buying a j-pop band, complete with groupies, on the company expense account. We’ll have them do the new company theme song, titled “Software of My Heart Securing, Go!”

The roughly 1/100 exchange rate doesn’t really help the fact that everything is ridiculously expensive. Coming from a place where spending $3 a gallon on gas is an affront, seeing a &#165 500 pricetag on batteries takes some getting used to. Carrying &#165 10,000 notes does however make me very conscious of where my wallet is at all times. It also helps me understand why people work so much in this city; they simply can’t afford not to.

The sheer volume of people and places here is remarkable as well. Side streets the size of sidewalks cut through an eclectic mixture of buildings in random directions, twisting and turning as organically as a stream flowing around rocks. Down these streets, every nook and corner is utilized, from apartments to clubs to restaurants to offices to warehouses to shops the size of phone booths. Meantime, the streets are swarmed by people flowing like red blood cells in the city’s circulatory system, all splitting off in seemingly random directions but with a casual air of purpose. At one point I stopped under a stoop to watch the stream of people go by, and it was like I’d started moving in slow motion. Nothing stops moving here, even when it’s standing still.

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Comments
  1. rusulki says:

    You’re not allowed to buy a J-pop band. Sure they look cute in the store, but who’s going to feed them and walk them and market their cd’s, let alone pay for thier crazy fashion needs?

    • Reuben says:

      But there’s such a great selection! And really they walk themselves; just dangle a cell phone and some stickers in front of a treadmill. You’re right though, the makeup budget alone would be astronomical.

  2. Anonymous says:

    You’re not allowed to buy a J-pop band. Sure they look cute in the store, but who’s going to feed them and walk them and market their cd’s, let alone pay for thier crazy fashion needs?

    • Anonymous says:

      But there’s such a great selection! And really they walk themselves; just dangle a cell phone and some stickers in front of a treadmill. You’re right though, the makeup budget alone would be astronomical.

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