Konnichiwa, from Tokyo

Here in Japan, I’ve had a solid lesson in customer service hospitality. I believe this was the intention of my colleague, Aki, who invited me to visit our Tokyo office, meet a few local clients and attend the 10-year anniversary celebration for our PDX-TYO route. Aki is an excellent tour guide!

I prefer not to travel alone. Thanks to Delta’s awesome non-rev flight benefits and Dad’s new retirement schedule, he was able to accompany me. Dad is having a ball, I think, making friends with locals and exploring the city while I’m working. Who is this guy, this person I always thought was a bit of an introvert?!

Things to do around town:

Around 4:30 a.m., head for the Tsukiji Market tuna auction to see $100K+ paid for a fish, then visit the nearby sidewalk shops for a little sushi breakfast. Be careful not to get run over by the bustling cart traffic!

To see where the Japanese Emperor lives, register in advance to tour the Imperial Palace. Historic walls on the palace grounds contrast with the modern city backdrop, sort of symbolic of how local culture maintains a good deal of traditionalism in the midst of progression. I suggest skipping the 1-2 hour guided walking tour. Instead, read up online before checking out the grounds on your own, then head for a refreshing Kirin or Sapporo.

Take the Tokyo Tower lift for a panoramic view of the city. Albeit a little hazy, you can see Rainbow Bridge.

Other things to see:
  • Take a bullet train to Mt. Fuji during the two-month hiking season (July – August); haze is likely to obstruct your view of the mountain during most other times of year
  • Shibuya crossing where hundreds of people scramble across the street from all directions
  • Several scenes from Lost in Translation were filmed in the New York Bar at the Park Hyatt Shinjuku


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