Citylife – for two full weeks
Tokyo is the largest city in the world – and the quietest. It is so incredibly quiet. No traffic jams, no honking, no jostling in the train, no barkers – no, you are almost whispered – everything seems to flow. Fascinating. The Japanese are masters of processes and rules. I don’t even dare to walk over red on a tiny little side street, no car far and wide. You just don’t do that here.
During the day everyone walks through the streets in suit or costume – everyone. No matter what job you do. Everything is clean, tidy, well structured. Everything follows an external order. Unless you are drunk – then everything is allowed. Somehow that seems to fit into the etiquette. Then you can fall asleep on the train with a short, wide-legged skirt, cell phone and wallet in your hand, no problem. You don’t talk about it and you don’t get robbed here.
Everything about manga, game scene, karaoke and a highlight: Halloween in Shibuya.
From the category first-time things: I had to perform “99 balloons” in a karaoke bar. Unfortunately I was not allowed to choose a song. I now understand why the Asians are so crazy about it. Just fun!
Another fun: the first visit to a toilet. I had this pleasure right at the airport. In fact, you need instructions. Or you can do it like me: just try out all these buttons. There is really everything that I wasn’t even aware of that you needed it. Music to cover up sounds, for example. With volume control, of course.
2 weeks Tokyo – I want to see a little bit of the surrounding area. Therefore: day trip to Kamakura, a place south of Tokyo by the sea, famous for the giant Buddha statue.
And drive a high-speed train once. Namely to Hakone. Beautiful landscape, a shrine and unfortunately no view of Mount Fuji – it is hidden behind the clouds.
For the first time on my trip, I have the feeling that I would like to exchange ideas on the subject that has filled me professionally at home for the past three years. So I stumble spontaneously and in my traveler outfit on Meetups on the topic of digital transformation and product innovation. Exciting contacts and follow-up appointments.
Things I learned in Japan
1. How quiet such a crowded city can be. That really fascinated me. No shouting, no horns, only electric cars.
2. Everything in the flow. Japanese seem to be masters of the complicated (Cynefin-Modell). Toyota as the model company for Lean, Kaizen as the basic principle. In Tokyo you can experience it in everyday city life.
3. Hierarchy and processes – nothing works without it. That is the other side. Are the Japanese ready for complex tasks in the age of knowledge? I don’t want to get too technical at that point. With the subway network you notice the hooks. Incidentally, Google Maps does a really good job here. Just in case that someone feels “lost in Tokyo”: The information from the route planning of maps will bring you to your destination easily and guaranteed.
4. Change of rhythm, speed up – here I am nocturnal. It just happens, I rarely get to bed before 2 a.m. Somehow the city is even more beautiful at night with all the lights and neon signs. You just don’t get tired.
5. I like this subtle bow when thanking you. Somehow I feel incredibly polite with it. In a nutshell, it turned into flesh and blood for me. It feels polite, not submissive. And everyone does it, all the time. Me too now.
6. Meet-ups around the world are incredibly exciting. Maybe you can accuse me of being cold-headed, just stumbling in a jogger at the other end of the world for a meet-up with loud suit wearers, because that’s the usual way here, maybe I’m just curious. The result: interesting follow-up appointments and discussions. One of the best things I’ve done in Tokyo.
I will take all the inspirations to the Philippines … and put them on paper, punch them hard.