I am on my own, so they have booked me in a modest place. As small as the room is, it lacks for nothing that a weary traveler may need or want. In-room amenities include a happi coat, a short kimono like garment to relax in – very attractive in bright blue and black. I am almost tempted to honestly steal it. Also provided are a pair of vinyl slippers and a green tea center with a small electric water heater and tea bags. The bedside drawer contains Teachings of Buddha, in English as well as in its Japanese versions. Just like in a five star hotels in Europe, the toilet paper is folded at the end in a triangle every time the room is cleaned. It is not only equipped with the bedside telephone, but there is also a toilet-side phone in the bathroom! A glass for drinking water is placed over a matching glass coaster. There is also a mini-pack containing of the Japanese one sided toothpicks. I have never seen them before. In that the flat ended top looks like a crown atop the thin lines grooved around its diameter. This is so that you can snap off the top and rest your toothpick on it for later use.   And the bedside lamp has twin fixtures. One lights up to allow the reading and another one with a mini bulb provides very faint shadow illumination. And everything in the room is computerized. The billing of course, but what is now common place, I encounter it for the first time – being able to punch in the time for the wake up call through the key pad on the telephone. When it rings in the morning, you hear a gentle opening of a flower like jingle – the kind which can come from a slight touch of a single sitar string. And the vending machines in the lobby are stocked not only with soft drinks, but also with beer and whiskey, and little chilled bottles of sake. As well as conveniences such as shaving and tooth brushing kits, hair grooming products and the ice cubes. What else could one have wanted even in a luxurious and expensive hotel?

The thing that impresses me the most about the Japanese is how inquisitive they are. I am amazed at the questions they ask me during our short introductory meeting I had with some of the editors. Pounded into them must have been, there is no such thing as a stupid question. This seems to answer, why they are so detailed oriented and how they go about not stealing, but learning by heart the secrets of the most complicated of the machinery.

Unlike any other city around the world I have been to, nothing comes even close to the list of things I have made about what I see and experience in Tokyo within those two Christmas days.

What is most astonishing to me is, even though only less than 1% of Japan’s population of 112,000,000 people are Christians, nowhere else have I noticed a city so commercialized with Christmas as is Tokyo. The department stores such as Sogo, Mitsukoshi and Matsuya decorated in things Christmas would put to shame even the Christmas decorations of Marshall Fields/Macy’s of Chicago’s State Street. It’s winter time in Japan also. No snow on the streets, but the air is crisp and cold and there is enough cotton glittering with tinsel is spread out into the store windows to make up for the lack of the real thing. Wafting in the air in continuous loops are Jingle bell, jingle bell, Santa Clause is coming to town and I am dreaming of a white Christmas and other holiday tunes permeate the Tokyo streets, give you a feeling of having landed in the Christmas themed Fujiland. There are more blinking neon signs arched at the street fronts wishing you MERRY CHRISTMAS in this land of Buddha than I have seen anywhere else in the world. The stores are open through all Christmas holidays and crowds emerging from them are bulging with bags and bags of Christmas, nay, Winter gifts.

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