NEW! Charles Kirmuss Travel Blog: Traveling Overseas, Hints and Tricks,
March 2014 Click here for Link (PDF)
Ohio Gozaimasu! (Good Morning in Japanese).
I have been travelling Japan since 1991 and have fallen in love with the Country and its People. My first trip saw me extend my visit from 1 week to 9 weeks, (as I saw a huge opportunity for digital video recorder sales in those days) and as a result of my delaying my departure I remember that I had to ask my wife, Josee, to send me by FedEx my tax receipts and tax preparation software so I could send off back to the USA my income taxes by the deadline. (which by the way I made it in time by 1 day)!
In my travels I discovered that Japan is not that expensive, even Tokyo.
For Accommodations, I stay at a Japanese business hotel. Marina Ahmed is in charge of the Business Center and Guest Relations at the Shiba Park Hotel (near the Daimon Subway Station and Daimon Gate, near the JR Yamanote line Hanamacho World Trade Center Station). She is fluent in English and Japanese as well as main staff at the hotel. I also ask for a room in the “new section”, and where I have internet in my room, a fax machine, and all the amenities. The room is in a style of 1970’s Japanese business hotel, but is very comfortable and reasonable in price.
Also, every Friday in the bar is a trio of Japanese Jazz players…they are great! http://www.shibaparkhotel.com/en/
The hotel is very affordable by Japanese and US standards. Aboutt $150 a night, and if you are a returning business traveler, make sure to receive a V.I.P. card which entitles you to a 10% discount all hotel services: restaurant, bar etc..
Nearby is the best Pizzeria outside of Milano, Italy. I know this as one stormy night while a typhoon was hitting Tokyo, I saw a few Caucasians passing by the Pizzeria twice, and afterwards I went outside and mentioned to them that they should taste the best Pizza outside of Italy, ( I am an expert in Milano pizza having feasted on pizza every night while in Milano and in Tripoli, Libya (that is for another travel snippet…)… and to my surprise, the visitors were in fact from Milano, and yes, they agreed! BEST PIZZA! We finished our meals and continued drinking limoncella with the proprietor after the restaurant closed.
About the proprietor, The Dream Factory is just 4 blocks away walking distance from the Shiba Park Hotel, and it is my dear friend Yoshikawa-san and his family who run the establishment.
He has a diploma in Pizza making from Milano, and where he has an authentic Milanese style wood burning pizza oven making the best pizza creations and especially my favorite, his exceptional lasagna. As portions in Japan are smaller, I order first the pizza margherita and then I have the lasagna either with an Ebisu beer followed by a red wine as a chaser. His pizza desserts are a creation worthy of a culinary award! Many a time I travel through Japan while going to, or from China, and always with or without a business trip organized, I always stop by for both supper and lunch. http://pizza-df.com/
If you do go there, mention my name and you should also find a certificate that is still on his wall that was presented him by yours truly on one of my trips overseas.
Also you will see a picture of my friend and CEO of Digatron Security of Denver taken with me on his first trip to Japan and our visiting the Dream Factory.
How about this for a fast response pizza delivery vehicle
(insert pic 254)
To get to the Shiba Park Hotel, (or any other Tokyo hotel), and when I used to be a novice, I took the Narita Express train from Narita Tokyo Airport and then took a short cab ride from Tokyo Train Station to the hotel…the “near” bullet train (fast train) used to have service in the Green Car (first class) where I could sip on either my favorite ice coffee in a can, with some chocolate coated nuts or have a beer, all which alas is no longer offered…better still, take the Friendly Limousine Bus (yes that is the name) from Narita. Just exit customs and they have ticket counter and regularly scheduled bus service to Tokyo and dropping you directly off at the hotel. Price is abt $40, very comfortable and always on time.
What to do in Tokyo
I usually take Sunday off, so I take the JR train from Hanamacho station (near Shiba Park Hotel, next to the World Trade Center building), taking the Green (Yamanote) line, to Akihabara…the world electronics center of Japan. Lots of small shops and things to see. The stores open at 10AM on Sunday, so I make sure to get to Akihabara station for 9:30 AM and walk down a couple of blocks to the Mr. Donut Coffee Shop. Once the stores are open, I walk several miles. Then, at about 1 PM, I have a local noodle at the noodle shop before talking the Orange Line Subway to Ginza station, and look at all the expensive shops. Make sure you visit the SONY building as well as the NISSAN car center to see the latest and greatest toys coming soon to the USA and a store near you!
Then off to Shinjuku station via JR train (Yamanote Line) from the Ginza and I stop at New Times Square shopping plaza and have a great steak upstairs before walking into Shinjuku, the night life area and also some shopping. At about 9 PM I head back to the Shiba Park Hotel taking the JR Green (Yamanote) line to the Hanamacho station, and walk to the hotel.
Best way to travel is to get a JR pass that allows you use of the subway and train.
>>TIP: If you are visiting a company, find out the closest train or subway station to your destination address and then on arrival, take a cab to the company you are visiting. Addresses are confusing and taxi’s are expensive…My first trip I took a cab from Narita to Tokyo, $300 USD!!!