“I’ve never really wanted to go to Japan. Simply because I don’t like eating fish. And I know that’s very popular out there in Africa.” ~ Britney Spears
I don’t know where Spears got her Geography lesson, but that quote is quite something eh😜 and it relates to the post I’m about to write here =)
Back then in 2007, during the first years of my work, my boss had appointed me to join in a three week training held by the Government of Japan through their agency, JICA (stands for Japan International Cooperation Agency). The training was held in Tokyo, Japan. I got quite excited because it was the first time for me traveling abroad. At that time, never across in my mind that I could go traveling outside Indonesia. Besides the cost, I also never been far from my family for such a long time.
The flight from Jakarta (Soekarno-Hatta Airport) to Tokyo took around 7 hours direct and non-stop. I went there with other two office colleagues (from different Division). We landed at Narita Airport early in the morning. Luckily the Agency had arranged the transportation for us (by taxi) from the airport to the place we were staying. The place where we stayed called JICA “Tokyo International Center” or TIC – Tokyo. From the TIC there are two metro stations that quite close by: Hatagaya and Yoyogi-Uehara station. The facilities at the TIC was quite complete. The place itself was almost like a dorm actually. The room was a bit compact, it has private bathroom inside (with a small bathtub), standard hotel room equipment such as bed (single size), wardrobe, TV, AC/heater. In the building they provide washing room, shared kitchen (including water cooker and ice block machines), karaoke room, lounge, dining room (which provide halal food as well), and computer room. A bit out of the topic, during the tsunami and big earth quake in Japan not so long ago, TIC was being used as one of the victim base-camp.
On a short note about the training, it was mainly about Intellectual Property System (IP System). The participants got a chance also to see how the Japan Patent Office handled the IP management system, including how they did the IP awareness campaign with young generation as their target and how the Japan Custom Office tackled the IP infringement.
For a first timer, and considering that during that time was the start of Ramadhan fasting moment, I think my visit at that time was not that bad. I had a chance to visit some Japanese’s landmarks such as the Imperial Palace, Tokyo Tower, Asakusa temple, City of Odaiba, Ueno park, Ginza as well as few other places. Oh, and just like typical (first timer) tourists do, I also took a ride on a hop on hop off bus there :p
Since this trip was completely arranged by the organization, I don’t think I have any tips or useful thing to share for a traveler here hehe. If I had another chance, I would love to visit Japan again someday, but preferably only for holiday =)
In Ueno Park, there are some handprints and signature of very famous Japanese people who contributed to each field like sports and performing arts in Japan. I tried to look up on internet whose handprint this one below is, but I couldn’t find it. I guess I picked the wrong one hehe. There were few others also which has some info, for example the handprints of a former Judoka who won a gold medal with a world record in 1984 Los Angeles Olympic – YAMASHITA, Yasuhiro, and OH, Sadaharu – a former baseball player who held a world record of the total 868 home run and has not been broken by anymone else until now.
In Asakusa, there is an ancient Buddhist temple called Sensō-ji (Kinryū-zan Sensō-ji). It is Tokyo’s oldest temple, and one of its most significant. Formerly associated with the Tendai sect of Buddhism, it became independent after World War II. Adjacent to the temple is a Shinto shrine, called the Asakusa Shrine.
The Nakamise-dōri is a street on the approach to the temple. It is said to have come about in the early 18th century, when neighbors of Sensō-ji were granted permission to set up shops on the approach to the temple. However, in May 1885 the government of Tokyo ordered all shop owners to leave. In December of that same year the area was reconstructed in Western-style brick. During the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake many of the shops were destroyed, then rebuilt in 1925 using concrete, only to be destroyed again during the bombings of World War II.
The length of the street is approximately 250 meters and contains around 89 shops.