Thursday, April 25, 2013

Tokyo, GPS, Apple Maps

Aoyama Cemetery
Today I decided that I have to do at least one cultural activity a day. This is because most of my time here has been taken up with administrative tasks. There is a lot I have to get in place. But I'm not here for that, I'm here to experience Japan. Unfortunately, at least while in Tokyo, I am going to have enforce my remit - experience Japan!
 I decided on two goals - walk the Sakura Avenue of Aoyama Cemetery and eat a soba dish called "Maze Soba," at a cafe called "Junk Garage," located in Tokyo Station.

Found the places on google maps, figured out how to find the coordinates on google maps, bookmarked them in apple maps on the iPod Touch; packed the Touch and the GPS and set off. Six hours, forty-one minutes, 56 seconds and 22,769 steps later, I am back at the crib. More than two of those hours were spent walking through Tokyo Station. Talk about being lost in a damn twilight zone? You don't know nothin'. I didn't sit down in Tokyo Station because I didn't find the cafe. It is pushing it (because what do I know about Tokyo Station), but I am willing to say that the "Junk Garage" cafe is not there, even though I read a review of it in a weekly magazine dated April 12-25, 2013. I really don't think it is there.

I have to go to bed so I'm going to be quick.
I read that Tokyo was designed so that invaders would have a difficult time getting to the Imperial Palace. It is also very old and a collection of villages - a grid layout of the streets is not what it is about. Also, Japan, or Tokyo anyway, has a sketchy address system. I've already told you that you have to give the cab drivers maps. This is everyone, not just people like me that don't speak Japanese. This reality also makes it rough for GPS units and programs like apple maps or google maps. It is hard for them to find an address if there really isn't an address. To come to this new abode on yesterday, I gave the taxi driver a map. From that he loaded something into his very impressive GPS unit. I'm thinking, cool the GPS understands Japanese, no problems ahead. His GPS took us to where my GPS and apple maps and google maps took me - which was not the right place. Fortunately, because I walked to the place on Tuesday, I knew where we were and could tell him where he had to turn.

Okay, you got it. All I want to say is, I'm glad I have these instruments. Without them I'd probably still be walking around Tokyo. But hell, once I got to the neighborhood, I walked around looking for that Sakura Avenue for more than an hour. I was literally walking around it because apple maps doesn't really indicate where you are while you are moving, so it is easy to miss a turn, even if the indicated street is actually there which it isn't always. The GPS map doesn't give a turn by turn, it is more directional, but at least it does follow you along in some real time way. It is really frustrating, it was less than a quarter of a mile from where I was circling. Both of them are irritating. I tend to use them both in conjunction with each other. If I had to do without one, it would be the Touch and apple maps. That app is close to being pathetic.

1 comment:

  1. Wrote a long comment... it disappeared..... hmmmm!
    look up I think that it's a Japanese organic restaurant. Was there one year ago! Have someone translate the site. There are two locations, one in Tokyo and one out in the mountains somewhere. All of the food comes from the country side.
    You're looking good there!!! Good luck