There is an old SF book written by Isaac Asimov in 1988. – Prelude to Foundation. In this book, young mathematician Harry Seldon takes his first visit to a huge planet Trantor, a center of galaxy, an enormous metropolis that covers all of its surface.
When I think about Tokyo, I think of Trantor as well. Tokyo and Yokohama are connected and along with Kawasaki and Chiba, make a big inhabitant and business area. It is said that Tokyo Metropolis is 90km wide from east to west, and about 30km from north to south. Main airport for international and intercontinental flights is in Narita, 60km from downtown of Tokyo. The best way to reach the center of Tokyo or Yokohama is to take Narita Express train. Soon, about 20 minutes you will enter Chiba city and after that point you will see nothing but buildings, roads, trains and bridges. Officially, there are more than 12 millions of people living within 23 of Tokyo areas and about 2.5 million that comes every day from adjacent areas to work and to study. First time I was there, I couldn`t but to ask myself how is it possible that everything works perfect, with so many people around. A look at the system of public transportation didn`t help much.

Still, everything works. The system is divided into 26 different JR East lines and about 10-12 subway lines, every one marked with its own colour. The most complex, according to my opinion is Tokyo Station, with its 10 levels and more than 3000 trains per day :faint: First time when I was there alone, I needed to walk slowly and follow directions. But once you get into the system, everything else is just a scheme. Follow the lines, follow the marks and you are safe πŸ˜€ And hold the left side. Like in England, people here drive on the wrong side of the street πŸ˜› and therefore expect from you to hold a left side on the side walks, stairways and escalators. Especially during rush hours, holding the left side will give the opportunity to people on your right to run if they are late for a train or going to office.

Tokyo was once a small fishing village called Edo. Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first in the line of Tokugawa military rulers (shogun) made Edo a center of his government in 1590. During Meiji restauration, Edo became a capital city and changed its name to Tokyo (East Capital), after emperor moved from Kyoto in 1869. By that time, population of city exceeded 1 million.
Tokyo recovered from two major destructions that happened during 20th century: one was earthquake in 1923. when about 140000 people died, mostly from fire that started after it. The second one was during WWII when bombing in 1945. took about 100000 lives and left about 1 million homeless (half of the city was destroyed). Looking at Tokyo today, it is hardly imaginable – it took less than 70 years to become one of the biggest cities in the world.

I will not bother you much about details of my purpose to visit Japan. I was invited to take part in Nakamura Ryu Battodo Taikai (competition) that was held in Yokohama, in November 24th. I must say that I have a great pleasure to practice hard under guidance of teachers from Kakuseikai dojo. I am very grateful to them for patience and effort. Also, I met some very nice people from Washington DC and California, people who helped me when the help was needed. I took a bronze medal in 3rd and 4th DAN level for performing Battodo kata.
I didn`t have much time to spend in Tokyo and all of the above photographs are taken from Flickr and Wikipedia. Licensing is as follows:
– for the night photo
The file was found here; license;
– for the aerial photo:
This Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons image is from the user Chris 73 and is freely available at under the creative commons cc-by-sa 2.5 license.

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45 Responses to Tokyo

  1. Zaphira says:

    Wow, it sounds like an amazingly big city; I would love to visit it one day! Congratulations on the bronze medal. It must have been a huge experience to train under such skilful teachers!

  2. ricewood says:

    For me, Tokyo is the major city of the world. Your description explains why I would very much like to go there,Good read. Thank you.

  3. thaodp says:

    Wow, I've been waiting for this post but I should go to bed, it's rather late now, I'm coming back to enjoy it soon πŸ™‚

  4. PainterWoman says:

    Congratulations on your medal, Darko! It sounds like you had a great trip. Interesting history lesson about the area too.

  5. Cois says:

    Congrats dude :up: hope you still took enough pics for a couple of posts though πŸ˜‰

  6. Furie says:

    You lived my dream. :happy:

  7. Dacotah says:

    :hat: Congratulations on your win Darko.

  8. kalynka says:

    Congratulations on the bronze medal and great trip :hat:! I can imagine you in the middle of a Tokio street, with locals looking up at you :lol:With all my love to megapolices, Tokio is one of my dream destinations :heart:I definitely live in the wrong part of Russia :cry:Waiting for more updates πŸ˜‰

  9. Dacotah says:


  10. ellinidata says:

    Welcome back Darko!You have been missed greatly!Knowing about long trips I am very thankful you took the time from resting to update us on it!Congratulations my special friend!and welcome home! :heart:

  11. gdare says:

    Zaphira – thank you; this is really unbeliveable city; I felt so small and insignificant there, when I visit first time, two years ago :)Mit – it will stay here, no need to worry; come back again :)Pam – this one was really a short because I was only passing through it few times this year; mostly, I spent time in Yokohama :)Allan – if you can, do it; you won`t regret :yes:Carol – thank you :)Mik – it is possible to make a dream come true; I did it :DClint – thanks πŸ™‚ there will be more, especially about short trip to Aizu -Wakamatsu city, northern of Tokyo πŸ™‚

  12. edwardpiercy says:

    Well as I said over on my blog, welcome back. Also, congratulations on your success. You know, I didn't even know you were into that type of martial arts thing. Perhaps you covered that on earlier posts before I started coming to your blog. In any case, :up: :up: :up: :up:

  13. Abbacus says:

    Very interesting and informative post. Glad you had a good and sucessful trip! Welcome back. :yes:

  14. thaodp says:

    Congratulaiton, Darko! your post is really interesting :hat:

  15. studio41 says:

    Wow! Congratulations!! Glad to hear all went well and you met with success!

  16. Furie says:

    Maybe one day I can add it to the list of countries I'm banned from. :yes:

  17. edwardpiercy says:

    @ Furie.:lol:

  18. CedarFox says:

    Congrats on your medal! :hat:I’m not sure I would fit so well into Tokyo. Looking at the map, I’d probably go the wrong way while trying to get there on the right-hand side :ko:

  19. Dacotah says:


  20. gdare says:

    Ed – I would like to go to sleep, you got me there πŸ˜€ But suffering from a jet lag means you can`t. At least during night time. Woke up in 2:30 this morning (again), then tried to get some more and finaly get up in 4:30. Tomorrow I am going to work, hopefully I will sleep until 5 :eyes:Carol – πŸ™‚

  21. edwardpiercy says:

    " I am not always Conan in my everyday life"Well, get some sleep. Perhaps tomorrow you will find the secret cave and the sword and be Conan. And I do understand about the separation. Don't practice it myself much, but I understand it.

  22. gdare says:

    Alla – when we were in one hotel during our two days trip to Aizu-Wakamatsu, people working there were pointing at me and few more guys from USA and Poland for being very tall, probably tallest persons in a whole hotel; I suppose this is not something they can see every day :)Angeliki – thank you; even though I like to travel, it is good to be at home… and plan another one :DCarol – :DEd – I consider it as a very personal and serious part of my life; here, I`d rather have more fun and point on some other areas of my interest; we all need to make a ballance in our lives if you understand what I mean; I am not always Conan in my everyday life πŸ˜† :lol:Abbacus – thank you :)Jill – thank you; also, thanks for PMs you sent :)Mit – I am giving my best :DMik – :faint: :lol:Eric – this is what I thought when I found myself alone in the Tokyo Station two years ago; but, system is made to work, so just a little more attention is needed :up:

  23. edwardpiercy says:

    One suggestion: A pint of whiskey. You'll sleep. Promise.

  24. gdare says:

    Ed – I tried it with a red wine – didn`t help. Maybe a whiskey is not a bad idea :ko:Carol – they say it is needed about a day for an hour of difference; I will be ok in a…. 5 days :yikes:

  25. Dacotah says:

    Better tell your boss than that you won't be into work Monday, that you need 5 days to recover from your vacation. πŸ˜€

  26. Dacotah says:

    Hope you can get some sleep. πŸ™‚

  27. gdare says:

    πŸ˜† It would be fun to see expression on his face then :insane:

  28. Dacotah says:

    πŸ˜† πŸ˜€

  29. ellinidata says:

    "it is good to be at home… and plan another one "hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm reading btwn the lines here ……….:lol:yes, planning and practicing it is half of the success!! and it is great to say " Home Sweet, Home" :heart:

  30. gdare says:


  31. SittingFox says:

    Glad to hear that your trip was a success :up:Looking at that map…wow, I would stand no chance! (You know, Waterton with its alleged population of 78 – I thought that was an overestimate – suited me just fine!) I get navigationally confused if I cannot see the North Star :pThanks for the information on Tokyo's history. It really is amazing how cities can recover from disaster so relatively quickly.

  32. rose-marie says:

    Congratulations on your medal :yes:Thank you for the lesson on Tokyo's history. Interesting how it has evolved from a small fishing village to one of the biggest cities. I'd love to go there once too :D.

  33. gdare says:

    Adele – you reminded me, when we were flying over Siberia, I took a glance through a window at one point and I could see a big bear constelation on the left side; it was a night flight, Siberian rivers are already frozen and the stars were so bright high over the clouds; in Yokohama, I always got confused, and even though I could see where is the east, I always mix north and south; don`t know why :DRose – it took me more than half of a year to save enough money for that trip; with my salary it almost sounded as mission impossible; so, if you start to save money now, you will probably have enough to go there in summer; just avoid august, its too warm and humid and then a typhoon season starts πŸ™‚

  34. gdare says:

    Rose – It is windy, 5-10C tops and during my stay it was mostly sunny. Only one day with rain. But few hundred kilometers north it was snowing.Issy – my thought exactly; unfortunately, photos aren`t mine; I will have mine for my next post, about Yokohama :happy:

  35. wickedlizard says:

    Can't wait to see them! πŸ˜€

  36. rose-marie says:

    I'd rather go around this time. What was the weather like there now?

  37. SittingFox says:

    Oh wow. I love looking at stars from a plane, as the light pollution is usually zero! I saw Orion from my flight home from Vancouver last year.

  38. wickedlizard says:

    My god the size of the place… :eyes: cool photos!

  39. rose-marie says:

    Oh… Ok, then I think I'd rather go in the spring or summer time :D.

  40. gdare says:

    Issy – soon :DRose – told you :DAdele – yes, it is much brighter up there on 10000m πŸ™‚

  41. Weatherlawyer says:

    Originally posted by foreign devil:

    Like in England, people here drive on the wrong side of the street

    Actually if you ever noticed someone taking a short cut or trying to dodge an attacker, they will ping left. So when an accident approaches and the instinct is to take a left, which side of the road is the wisest to be driving?Interesting that the two major countries whose history is military service, drive on the most easily defended "safer" side. Why do other people drive so stupidly, I wonder?When was that change seen as a good idea and why, I wonder? Does it make sense to you?If you go back so far in time you can find your ancestor that was the monkey and brought him from his cave and showed him your transport system, he'd think you were bloody silly.

  42. gdare says:

    Sentence you quoted was there as my attempt to be humorous a little bit, also to explain everyday situation I have found myself in. Not to offend anyone. I am sorry if you felt that way, it was not my intention.

  43. Weatherlawyer says:

    My post was biscuit taker too. But of course with my barbs come truth.No offence.Why would you think I was offended BTW?You don't actually believe in evolutin do you? I have noticed that people of that religious persuasion are very easily offended – as if to prove it, so to speak.

  44. Weatherlawyer says:

    That was another pistake.The people who really believe in evolution get badly upset if you accuse them of being religious about it. They start gibbering and dancing up and down rattling the furnture, then they climb onto the highest branches and throw nuts at you.All quite sad really and absolutely hilarious at the same time. I love trolling for people like that.I know I shouldn't.

  45. gdare says:

    You sounded as if slightly offended but maybe it is just me; as you know, English is not my first language and maybe I misunderstood overall feeling in your comment. But, ok, no harm done :)On the contrary, I do believe in evolution, but never get much into it, sometimes I read about it in articles and in some books, usually as off topic.

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