A few quick observations:
- My guidebook mentioned that Japan is one of the most ethnically homogeneous places, and they weren't kidding. 99% of people I've seen on the street are Japanese. I've never been to a global, cosmopolitan city (think New York, London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Sydney, Wellington, Cairo, Tel Aviv) that looks so homogeneous.
- The subway system is immaculately clean, runs on time, and is full of people at 11 PM on a weeknight. It even has handles coming from the ceiling to hold on to (think what you playground had when you were little.)
- My 23 sq meters (~240 sq ft) temporary furnished apartment is 100% functional and has everything I need (including a washer/dryer!), except perhaps a place to host Shabbat dinner...Hopefully my longer-term apartment (which I move into on Thursday), which is 32 sq m will have room for a table.
- My welcome team dinner consisted of a many course meal (I lost count) of totally amazing vegetables, including sweet melon tofu tomato soup, cold pea soup, enormous grapes, and more.
- Google Maps with GPS works on my Blackberry. Without this, I would never have been able to get from my apartment to the restaurant. I have no idea what I will do on Shabbat...
- No one carries a blackberry. Apparently (according to my manager), Japanese cell phones have long offered email access, so Blackberries never really caught on the way that they did in the US.