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Tokyo vs. New York 2008/2/6 05:15
New York City
What is the biggest difference about these 2 cities? I live in New York but I will be moving to Tokyo next week. What should I expect??? Are they pretty much the same?
by businessasusual168  

. 2008/2/6 13:47
Asking the difference between the two cities is like comparing apples and oranges.

I'm not sure how to begin.

Both are financial capitals, both are fashion capitals, both have significant history and cultural influences.

However both are very different as well.

Its the difference of living in the US and the difference of living in Japan.

Honestly I'm not sure how to answer this question because it is really comparing two similar but very different things.
by John rate this post as useful

The same how? Different how? 2008/2/6 13:50
They are similar in that they are both big cities, with good public transport systems, expensive rents, a great variety of shops and restaurants etc.

Differences would be that the violent crime rate is much lower here, and of course that Japanese is the dominant language and culture, which makes things so different that I agree with John- you can't compare the two.

In what aspects are you wondering if they are different or the same?
by Sira rate this post as useful

Tokyo 2008/2/6 15:55
to give you an idea
please look at skyscrapercity Tokyo. you need a powerful computer. from the sky or from far away Tokyo skycrapers may look like N.Y. but there are many photos at street level on the site that shows Tokyo real look. and of course no photos can do justice to the small lanes full of great small stores and restaurants etc.
Tokyo and New York are 2 big major cities but they are as different from one another as London and Paris, as London and New York etc. Have you had a chance to travel outside the USA?
by Red Frog rate this post as useful

the people... 2008/2/7 01:45
i guess my question was very general. how about we focus with the people? here in new york, and contrary to popular belief, people are very easy to be with and to talk to. they are sophisticated, driven, exciting... there is a communal feeling between new yokers as if we are all neighbors. is it like there in tokyo?
by businessasusual168 rate this post as useful

. 2008/2/7 05:54
Do you speak Japanese at a high level?
by John rate this post as useful

chotto 2008/2/7 08:13
i speak a little but not fluent enough. is this going to be a problem? my friend said they always say "hai" to you whatever you say.
by businessasusual168 rate this post as useful

Tokyo 2008/2/7 08:52
It sounds like your friend was making a joke. It is obviously difficult to communicate with the people if you don't speak their language, and the level of English spoken by most people in Japan is generally quite low, although there are exceptions of course.

Some will try hard to understand and help you, many won't want to be bothered or more likely are too embarrassed to try. Japanese people are not the most outgoing people in the world, and Tokyo people are supposed to be less friendly than people from Osaka for example. I would say people in Tokyo are quite sophisticated, but they work hard and you might not find many of them "exciting". It depends on the person I suppose- there are salarymen and there are professional rock musiscians, all kinds of people here.

Also in Japan there is a very strong feeling of "us and them", meaning that there is little connection with people who aren't in one of your social groups, so it's almost the opposite of New York if everyone there considers themselves to be neighbours. It's quite rare for example to speak to or be spoken to by a stranger on the street here for any reason.

Not speaking much Japanese puts you in a slightly different situation- some people will want to hang out with you just because you are foreign, but you are limited to communicating with Japanese people who speak a reasonable amount of English. Then there are the non-Japanese people you will meet- again, a very mixed bag of people, I can't really generalise.

A lot will depend on who you meet and what you are doing in Tokyo.
by Sira rate this post as useful

tippings 2008/2/7 11:37
Apart from personal safety, perhaps what makes Japan and America so different is the absence of tipping in Japan.
by tju rate this post as useful

From a fellow NY'r 2008/2/7 11:42
As a NY'r and someone who travels to Tokyo often I can give you some good idea.

Remember NYC in the late 90's? Low crime, you could be in times square at 11pm and not get mugged, and you could still wander around Murray Hill and LES and find unique buildings and architecture all living harmoniously together?

Yah.. that's Tokyo. It reminds me alot of NYC before it got all corporate homogenized the last few years. You'll notice alot of the same thing, just like there's restuarants around Chinatown/Little Italy with extremely well dressed men waiting outside the restaurant and you know you shouldn't probably go in, you'll see the exact same thing in Ginza at night. Little things like that you learn if you've lived here a long time, they work in both places.

On the plus side, yes I feel safer in Tokyo than NYC, it has tons of fun nooks and crannies to explore, train system is top notch, but there's no unlimited ride metrocard equivalent.. get a pasmo or suica, it's a rechargable card for the train, any big name store you've seen in NYC, you'll find it in Ginza or Shinjuku. Prices are about the same, meats way more expensive in Tokyo vs NYC, if you shopped at whole foods, prices are in line with there.

Go and enjoy, if you have any more specific q's feel free to ask.
by NYCBunny rate this post as useful

wish me luck 2008/2/8 00:03
Sira - I think you hit the spot there. That's exactly what I am afraid of, the "us and them" mentality. I guess I just have to learn Japanese.

What more can I do to bridge this gap? To give you a little background, I am 22 and working in finance (relocating to Tokyo for work).

NYCBunny - yeah I do shop in WholeFoods. I live in UnionSq. What's the LES of Tokyo since that's where I hang out here. I don't like the velvet rope meat packing scene.
by businessasusual168 rate this post as useful

Kotae 2008/2/8 11:44
Biz,

Are you an IB? I ask because I'm wondering what kind of money you'll be making over there, if you're pulling in IB money w/bonus you should be more than fine. And are you going to be in corp housing or your own place?

As far as hangout places like LES, ugh, within the inner parts of tokyo like around the EDO line.. I would say Akihabara is probably you're best bet. It's not all video games and comic books. There's a lot of little bars and shops around there, it has the feel of an area that still has a lot of mom and pops because the area is cheap, but there's alot of foreigners in the area so you shouldn't feel like the odd man out at a bar. I personally like the restaurant floor in the yodobashi camera building.

It's new and popular, but it makes a great place to meet friends for food and drinks, and there's a nice little italian bistro there you can do espresso and dessert at afterwards.

Parts of Shinjuku/Shibuya are interesting, but there's alot of bars/clubs that have.. I dunno to me at least.. a sleezy quality to them. I tend to not hang around there often.

The one thing I will warn you up front.. is finding grocery stores can be a bitch. There's no real equivalent to Whole Foods there with a whole/organic quality to it. There's some luxury grocery floors in some of the department stores in Ginza/Shibuya/Shinjuku, but sometimes they're just premade stuff to grab and go. I usually had to go to the outskirts of tokyo like asakusa, or nakano.
Come to think of it, check out Nakano, right around the trainstation there's a lot of great little bars and restaurants.

Also, try the shotengai around Tsukiji fish market. There's a marketplace that's not actually "The fishmarket" but there was lots of fresh fish, meat, noodles, veggies. Prices were okay, but the quality was excellent.


by NYCBunny rate this post as useful

oops 2008/2/8 11:45
Mod, can you bleep out the B word I used. Forgot to proof my post before I published it. Sorry folks :-(
by NYCBunny rate this post as useful

. 2008/2/8 11:52
The thing you get different, in NYC the public transit system is the MTA, pretty much one company running buses and subways. In its three major companies (JR, Tokyo Metro and Toei) followed by a dozen other railway companies.

Imagine I guess you can figure its like the MTA NYC Subway, PATH, LIRR, MetroNorth, NJTransit, and Amtrak all providing service within the city not just into and out of the city.
by John rate this post as useful

landed... 2008/2/10 07:12
I am finally here...

Bunny,

Yeah I am. Everything is paid for except of course the personal stuff. Thanks so much for the recs. I'll definitely check out Akihabara. This place is amazing. I went to Tokyo station and it was everything that I expected. Chaos in a different world than mine.

Till next time,

BusinessAsUsual168
by businessasusual168 rate this post as useful

Yep, 2008/2/10 09:06
"in a different world than mine"

That's kind of what we were trying to explain to you :-)

Glad you are enjoying it, have fun.
by Sira rate this post as useful

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