Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Out-of-shape Tokyo better start training for the Olympic challenge

Apr 15. 2019
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Having just returned from a trip to Tokyo, I must cry wolf with the Olympics only 15 months away. The city will be subject to an onslaught of sports fans who had better be aware of the challenges lurking in this otherwise fantastic capital.

For one thing, the average Japanese person’s English skills are abysmal. This includes young people who cannot handle even basic questions. With English signage imperfect at best and an address system that has even the Japanese scratching their heads, one had better invest in a good navigation app.

Non-smokers like me, who take smoke-free public places for granted in most of the civilised world, will have to negotiate restaurants and cafes where smoking is allowed. Smoking in the streets is, however, banned!

Tokyo is an incredibly crowded city even in an off-season, pre-Olympic and chilly month like March. There are long lines everywhere, with locals and tourists jostling for scarce space.

Finally, in one of the world’s most expensive cities, Tokyo’s hotels and restaurants will demand top dollar (or yen) from those wishing to partake in one of the greatest shows on earth. I for one will watch it on TV.

Andy Leitner

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