Tokyo – 12 Years Later

Tokyo – 12 Years Later

After a 12-hour flight, we landed in Haneda. The last time we were in Tokyo was 12 years ago, and thanks to technology much has changed. Entry application into Japan (COVID check, immigration, and customs declaration) is now done prior to boarding one’s flight by entering all pertinent information on the Visit Japan website. Entry process is easily streamlined. Of course, folks like mom and dad who are not tech savvy will still have to do things the old way and put up with slower transit.

Twelve years ago, smart phones were still in its infancy. Now, the Japanese transit cards can be directly added through Apple/Google pay. No need to stop by ticket booths or kiosks anymore.

iPhone users can add Pasmo or Suica cards by clicking on the + sign on the Wallet page.
Click on Transit Card
A list of transit cards from China, Hong Kong, and Japan will populate. Click on Suica
And add the desired amount to the card directly from your Apple wallet. Visa card transactions didn’t work for us, but Amex (and Mastercard) did.
You can pay as you go.
Suica cards can also be used at all vending machines and various other stores.

Perhaps the hands-down best tech tool for navigating a new locale is Google Maps. No more approaching the local Parisians for directions with my basic high school French, or intimidating the Japanese when they see me approaching them with an English Lonely Planet Tokyo in hand. Getting from the airport to the hotel using public transport is now a breeze.

Not only does Google Maps spit out all the possible ways of getting from point A to B, it also provides details such as the number of stops, ETA, best station exit, and the time it takes to walk between connections.

With all that said, technology isn’t all sunshine and puppy dog smells. Perhaps the most questionable benefits of technology is the effects of social media. Social media can open your eyes to new experiences, but it can ruin them at the same time.

I happened upon this waygu shop in Tsukiji Market on IG
But the last time we were at Tsukiji Market, we practically had the whole place to ourselves. Not anymore…
Another “find” through IG
Sashimi donburi topped with salmon roe, uni, and crab.
Delicious as well
But a 2.5 hour wait, with the line forming before the store even opened!?!

There are definitely more upsides that come with technology, at the same time I will have to accept that to experience good things I will need a heavy dose of patience.

3 thoughts on “Tokyo – 12 Years Later

  1. Unfortunately I’m a bit of a dinosaur and technology, whilst making some differences of course, has not changed my life the way it has for most people. Michaela does almost everything when it comes to technology….she’s no expert but she’s miles better than me. I haven’t even got round to looking at facebook yet, let alone having an account of my own! Never even seen a facebook page…! Thing is, when you’re travelling, if everything is app based in terms of visas, tickets, etc…what happens if you lose, or damage, your phone!?!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s a saying – you won’t miss it if you’ve never had it. Those who don’t rely heavily on tech while traveling often won’t notice the difference. However, once one becomes comfortable with it, traveling without becomes somewhat inconvenient. The phone eventually becomes an appendage, and you learn to safeguard it. Checking for the phone’s presence every few minutes becomes a reflex 😄

      Liked by 1 person

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