Sunday, November 30, 2014

Random on the Streets in Tokyo: Beverage Vending Machines and Mini Parking Spaces

Perhaps the most random thing we saw on the streets of Tokyo, which I guess you will not see on other streets in cities around the world, are the ubiquitous automated beverage vending machines.

We stayed in Chūō, Tokyo which is also called as Chuo City. Chūō means ‘central ward’ and the district is located in the heart of commercial Tokyo. In Chuo, we stayed in the Kodenmacho neighbourhood which is part of the Nihonbashi area of Chuo.

On the streets in Kodenmacho we quickly noticed the random automated drinks vending machines everywhere. They really stand out. They are placed along the side streets, at street corners, beside parking lots and basically, just everywhere. Some of them are grouped in two’s or three’s and offer a variety of beverages, such as water, cola, tea, coffee, ale, fruit juice and energy boost giving drinks.

I find these very handy, but most importantly, this gives us a peek into the Japanese’s highly developed culture of convenience, technology and trust. I added trust in there because try placing a vending machine randomly on a street in any major metropolitan city anywhere in the world and I am sure it will get vandalised or ransacked in less than 24 hours.

The streets of Tokyo are also very orderly and clean. They are so well groomed and maintained that in Chūō we thought someone must have vacuum cleaned them daily as we rarely saw dust gathering on the side streets. This is the first time we saw a country/city that is very orderly and almost hygienically clean.

Another random thing we saw are mini parking spaces. Some parking spaces are so small, they just offer 2-4 parking spaces whilst others have an elevated solution which are quite similar to the ones I saw in New York City.

Tokyo is one of the most populous metropolitan cities in the world and but you will not notice this in Chūō where the streets are quite relaxed. It is however different in districts such as Shibuya and Shinjuku, where there’s more activity happening on the streets.

Travel Period: November 2014
Destination: Chūō (Tokyo), Japan

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