01 November, 2015

Getting around noodle-streeted Tokyo

This is related to yesterday's post. Getting around Tokyo can be difficult, not just because of the size of the roads, but because there are so many of them, and there are almost no street signs and the property numbering system is complex, so you're generally operating by landmarks and knowledge passed on by others.

This article illustrates some of the difficulties. 

It was, however, published almost 20 years ago, before Google Maps and Navi. These have made a  big difference to getting around, but it still isn't easy!

To demonstrate this, I show you the map I made by cycling around on Wednesday. I actually did 18 km by cycling to a park 5km south of us (for some exercise and a mental-health break) and then to lunch with a friend and afterwards doing some local shopping and groceries.

The map is a little small, but perhaps you can see that about halfway up on the right there looks to be some creative riding. That's because I was a little turned around. I had to take a detour due to roadwork and had trouble figuring out where I was. 

I tried to use Google Maps navi on my phone, but it seemed to be confused too. My phone was in my bag in my front basket saying, 
"Turn left, then turn right . . . turn left, then turn right . . . get back on the route . . .  then turn right." 
Trouble was there were so many little roads that I wasn't sure whether it meant turn right NOW or in 20 metres!

Anyway, I eventually recognised a couple of landmarks and made it back just in time for my lunch date: all sweaty and in my trackie dacks (Aussie for trainers, or sweatpants). 

This is the third time I've ridden to that park. I reckon that next time I might have it all sorted! 

Life in noodle-streeted Tokyo can be a challenge for the navigationally challenged. I'm usually fine with a map, but I can't remember more than a couple of turns ahead, which makes it hard when I'm riding or driving on my own.

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