The Current Issue
Nikon Owner Issue 6
The Editor Goes East Part I
By Gray Levett
I was dozing fitfully, circumnavigating great wastes of snow and petrified forests, hazy images highlighted by the angle of a rising sun. The endless plains of Siberia were glazed with a thick crust of whiteness, occasional rivers snaking their long courses in glacial solitude, stark silent distances devoid of any living form.
“Gray”. I woke abruptly. We were landing. We were finally in Japan.
For as long as I could re-member I had wanted to visit Japan. Earlier this year I was finally given the opportunity, courtesy of an invitation from Mr. Michio Kariya President of Nikon Imaging, to have a private tour of the Sendai Nikon factory in northern Japan and to visit the Tokyo Headquarters of Nikon. Joining me on the long trip was James Hunt, media consultant for Nikon Owner magazine. We met up at London’s Heathrow Airport on Sunday 10th March and flew ANA (All Nippon Airlines). Our route took us across the North Sea over Stockholm, Finland, across the West Siberian Plain, over the Sea of Japan and straight down into Japan. We landed on Monday, 11th March at Narita Airport (also called Tokyo New International Airport). This is the usual gateway for foreigners entering Japan and is forty-one miles from central Tokyo. We took the Limousine Bus service that runs non-stop to Tokyo. I was pleasantly surprised that our bus left exactly on time.
Our journey took about one hour and a half and drop-ped us in Tokyo; from there we picked up a taxi to our hotel. Japanese taxis take a little getting used to as the doors are operated electronically from the inside. Al-though our driver spoke little English, he kept up a friendly and enthusiastic description of Tokyo on the short journey to the hotel, which was situated in the Ginza district. After booking into our hotel rooms, we met in the lobby for a stroll through the Ginza to get our bearings, and to stretch our legs as we had been seated for the best part of sixteen hours during our journey from London.
Central Tokyo is situated to the north and west of the Sumida River. The Ginza area has been at the heart of Tokyo since the first Shogun, Ieyasu, built his castle and capitol where the Imperial Palace still stands today. Although it has been destroyed by a series of disasters, including the Great Kanto earthquake of 1923 and the Allied Bombing in World War II, the area has grown to become Tokyo’s most exclusive district for shopping and dining. The name ‘Ginza’ means ‘silver place’, so called after the silver mint, which was built in 1612.