Driving in the capital is something that ALTs seldom do. If you are going to drink you will need to park overnight which will run you a minimum of R250 (as opposed to R60 if you park it overnight at Takasaki Station) and if you need to get from point A to B and need to stop, you need to park it … If you are lucky, you can do that for Y300 per hour. Basically driving in Tokyo is done for 1 of two reasons. Because you have somewhere specific you want to go, or because you want to show off your car.
I had hit Tokyo a craptonne recently and the thought of riding the same old train with the same old fools to go to the same old places was unappealing. I also needed a good drive because I am unable to go to the mountains while there is ice on the roads. I heard about the Daikoku PA and had a metal live to see…
Why not take the car for a change?
I climbed on the Kan-Etsu till I had to change to the Ken-O. Yeah I didn't go straight in, I needed to pick up a buddy in Hachioji. I missed my intended off ramp and ended up putting a fair amount extra toll on the ticket to get off at the next one. (I prepared a little extra cash because I knew I might screw up on the Expressway)
I don't know what it is about cruising on highways but it felt great. There was no traffic so while I didn't really belt it, i could really enjoy the flow of the road beneath my tires, and of course the tunes playing on the ICE.
Thanks to the navigation on the iPhone, getting around the city wasn't horrific, I had a general idea which way to point the car, but it is no GPS. you need to be ahead of it or else you will miss turns. If anything I wish the screen was bigger (so that's what the 3g iPad is for!)
“Tokyo expressways are a dream to drive and a nightmare to navigate”
After picking up my mate, we headed into the CBD and encountered that dreaded bane of Tokyo driving life. THE TRAFFIC!!!! but thankfully, it was a rather quick trip (Only an hour) as most of the cars peeled off before incurring the central expressway tolls. When not clogged the central Tokyo expressways are a dream to drive and a nightmare to navigate. Exits on the left or right with little or no warning, pillars in between lanes, sharp corners and blind onramps. But the twisty snake nature of the thing was much like the touge, and thanks to the lack of traffic, I could get a tiny bit of pace into the drive (that grey area between the speed limit, and where they actually stop you) Driving in Tokyo ignites my ever-present passion for the city. As if I didn’t love it enough already :p
We got to the University with time to spare so we fired up Around Me and found a Yoshinoya. The city is so different from the road. When you keep hopping from station to station you tend not to see a lot of the real city. You see the commerce, the workplaces, but not where the people there live, where the old people are and most importantly, where all the quaint and unique spots are. I saw so much that I wanted to stop and explore. BUT there was no parking.
I also learnt not to hate Maebashi pedestrians as much. Maebashi peds are slow but they know that in Gunma cars come first. Tokyo pedestrians are entitled batards. Strolling across the road like its a garden path. The reason traffic doesn’t flow too well on those broad smooth tarred streets is because there are 500m long queues to turn that hardly move because pedestrians straggle. DAMN THEY ARE ANNOYING. I now understand why Osaka drivers are so aggressive. Tokyo drivers need to find their balls. Follow the examples of your Kansai brethren… Just 'cos the gyaru look dead sexy in their tiny skirts and high heels it doesn't mean they can stroll across the road like they own it. Sexy women get the pavements. Roads are for cars!
We hit the live and then headed over to Akiba because It was only a few Ks away. While cruising for a space I realized that even my plain (though clean) Zenki is an impressive beast of a car. In an area known for sexy cars, I was surprised how many people thought highly of mine. I especially liked the occasional shocked look as they followed the lines of the bodywork up to the cabin to find a foreigner behind the wheel. I also got one or two smiles from the ladies, though the best was this otaku girl who was openly ogling and completely ignoring her otaku BFs talking. I gave her a little rev and a nod. It was an ego boost. you don’t get as many looks in a car as stock as mine in Gunma. Even if the majority were just car otaku.
“Sexy women get the pavements. Roads are for cars!”
After a few rotations we found a decent parking spot and went to eat another beef bowl.
When you are on the clock for parking, you tend to move with a purpose that you otherwise lack.
stare at the hot girls less and completely ignore the average ones. Maids with flyers get shunned, and you don't hold up cars when you cross the road.We got back just 2 minutes over the clock and headed off to Daikoku. via the Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Aqualine. Another drive which I thoroughly enjoyed despite the worry that I was wearing my bald tires down to the wire. The verdict. Its pricy. spent around R1700 on the entire trip about R200 of that was food and drink. The rest was petrol (a lot of which I brought back so I could have saved about R200 there) and Tolls. To shamelessly steal from MasterCard however…