Sunday, April 28, 2013

Neighborhood and Kawasaki City

I live in the Azabu Court Apartment Hotel
The new neighborhood is Azabu. Not too many photos yet. But here is one of my streets. There are two streets because it is on a hill; this is the lower entrance. The lobby entrance is on the third floor. My room is on the second floor. As narrow and small as this street is, it is a major thoroughfare for both auto and pedestrian traffic. Having been hit by a car as a kid, Tokyo makes me a little crazy. Too much trust going on here. I don't like being anywhere near a moving car, but it can't be avoided here. Still, I make it a big point to have eye contact with any driver whose car I am walking in front of. I also prefer to cross un-signaled intersections with a crowd.

It gets very busy.
Walkway leading to entrance.
My floor has the black doors.

The other entrance.
Now let us have a word on bike riding. Seems like every fourth person here is riding a bike. There are more fold-up bikes than I have ever seen. You wouldn't get me to ride a bike in this city to save my life, because the opposite would probably happen. More than half of these riders have kids on the bikes with them. You would think that they don't have traumatic head injuries in this country, because I have seen fewer bikers with helmets than I have fingers on one hand. The folks on scooters and motorcycles have them; apparently they are not mandated for bikers.

Bikes, no helmets...
Scooter, helmet.
 Today I have to go to Kawasaki City to meet with a movement person that I may collaborate with Kyoto. She is in Tokyo doing some translation work. You are now clear on the navigation issues in this town. So yesterday I did a trial run; it is all well and good to be rambling around because I like to ramble, but if I have an appointment, I don't want to be lost. I think Kawasaki City is a suburb of Tokyo. I made it okay. Almost couldn't believe it. I want to say this though (I'll keep making these points, so get used to it), the maps on google and apple are just wrong. I know this because the beginning of this trip was a no-brainer. I just walk along the east side of the Memorial Park of Arisugawa-no-miya and follow that street to the next major thoroughfare after the parks boundary. Well, I couldn't do that because the street didn't continue. The map said it did, but it did not. Too strange for me. I'd at least expect the maps to be correct. No wonder I am forever getting lost.

It is a long ride to Kawasaki City, two subway trains, the last of which ends up above ground. It crosses a river, on the banks of which were many families on picnics. I get off at Mizonokuchi Station and walk 1.4km to the southeast. I managed to start off in the right direction because I eschewed the iPod Touch with its apple.maps and pulled out my plain, old compass that relies on the earth's magnetic field. Kawasaki City looks interesting; a lot less of the hustle and bustle of mid-town Tokyo.

Even though I know where I am going, last night I realized I still have a big concern about this trip. The Tokyo subways do not run 24 hours. This meeting is in the evening; I can't find on line when specific trains stop running. What they say is, "Read the signs at the station." Okay, I'll try. Will they be in English? I have my doubts. This meeting starts at 6 PM. I am taking the Reise tuba, because there is a possibility that we can do some work. It could go late, but I'll be watching the clock. I am also going to take my one map of Azabu Court in case I mess up and have to take a cab. That would be bad news; Kawasaki City is a long way away from Azabu.

In the photo above, you see a guy cleaning one of those giant drills. He is not wearing the traditional Tobi pants of construction workers here. I have seen a lot of construction workers, but not a lot of those pants. I am noticing because I have wanted a pair for years. Well, now I am here. I may not get them until I return to Tokyo, because I don't need to be lugging around more clothes; I already have a baggage issue. But I have found a source:

I put that link up for one reason - so you can read the directions and look at the map. Now I don't have to keep harping on finding places here. A week from tomorrow I fly to Sapporo from Hanaeda Airport. A different airport than I flew into. You can bet that sometime next week I am going to make a trial run out there. Looks like I can ride the monorail if I want. Want? I haven't ridden a monorail since the last time I went to Disneyland, which was in the early 1970's. I gotta ride the monorail.


  1. Cool pix and stories. I am enjoying your trip vicariously.

  2. Good, Burkhart. Part of the reason I'm doing it is because you so continuously chided me about lack of information on the trips to Bavaria.

  3. Go for the monorail, though theoretically you could walk to Haneda. It's not far from Roppongi. (more as a Sunday outing than schlepping baggage and tubas)

  4. Your tale about maps being wrong resonated. My family and I spent 40 minutes using 3 cellphones and a Garman to locate Bills Diner located less than 1.5 miles west of the Hilton Hotel where I was staying West of Pittsburgh, PA. And my son has lived there for 30 years . . .and we had been laughing about "you can't get there from here" . . .but then, you've been to Pgh.

    1. Hadn't thought of it, but Pittsburgh does have a certain ressemblance on that front. I think in Pittsburgh it all begins with "the Point." That kind of messes up everything.