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Born in Stockholm (Sweden), now live in Sapporo (Japan). Hold a Ph.D. in computer science and work with computers during the days, perform magic in a bar during the nights (and weekends, for kids). Also used to teach historical fencing back in Sweden.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tokyo station

Our meeting in the end turned out to start after lunch, but when I booked my plane tickets no one knew when it would start (usually it is so early in the morning so we have to fly in the night before) so I arrived the evening before. That meant I had the morning free, but there is not much to do in the morning. Most shops open at 10 or 11, and by then I would have to start going to the rather boring district our meeting was in.

In the end I went to see the new Tokyo station. They renovated the station recently and lots of Japanese people go there to take pictures of the new station building exterior. Our secretary had warned me that this is a very fancy part of Tokyo where everyone dresses properly. Unlike me, she strongly pointed out. I said: "I am even wearing a shirt and a jacket today" but she did not think that made me look proper at all anyway. She said I was still welcome to go to Tokyo station but I should be aware that I would look very much out of place there (she does not think highly of my way of dressing). I look out of place anywhere in Japan because I am blond, so it does not matter much how I dress, I still always look out of place.

When looking at the other people around Tokyo station, they looked like typical Japanese tourists, so I was not that far off with my clothes. There were no other blond people there, though. Which is a bit surprising, since there are so many foreigners in Tokyo. In Sapporo I may see zero or one foreigner outside of work during a normal day. In Tokyo you are likely to see more than one foreigner each time you take the train.

Something else that was also good with the modernized Tokyo Station was that there was free WiFi in some areas of the station. I stayed in a very cheap hotel during the night, and while it was warm and had nice showers, it did not have Internet access. So I had to check my e-mail and send some work stuff using the WiFi of the station. Standing in the middle of the station with your laptop doing half an hour of work is good for your "looking like a weirdo foreigner" points, but then again I have never been low on such points...

Other people taking photos.

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