"Stoplight" in Japanese is "Sutoppuraito". Say that out loud and it becomes awesome!
The rental agency guys told us the speed limit in the city is 40 km/h. This is not enforced by police. The "Sutoppuraito" do that for you... It is physically impossible to accelerate faster than 40 km/h and then have to slam on the brakes to haul you down to a full stop, all within 50 meters. Trust me, we tried...
At that speed, it takes us forever to get out of Tokyo. Once outside of the city limits, we pull into a strip mall to grab some lunch and nurse my aching back and wrists. Neda doesn't seem to have any problems with the seating position. She took to the F800R like a natural.
We park in the lot with all the other cars but an attendent approaches us and starts talking to me in Japanese.
I get this alot in Asian countries, it's because I look local. However, in Japan, Japanese people keep talking to me in Japanese even *after* we've both established I don't speak or understand Japanese. But Why?!? They just keep talking at me, as if I will magically learn the language in the next 30 seconds or so. And not a few people, almost all of them do that.
It's so strange... It's like they are telling me, "It's incomprehensible that you look Japanese, but don't speak Japanese!"
It took us awhile for us to understand that the parking lot attendant
wanted us to park here, off to the side. Cool! Special parking!
Just like there's a Gringo Trail in Latin America - which is that route where all the tourists travel on, I get the feeling that there's a Gaijin Trail in Japan, which is basically all the major cities on the Japan Rail system: Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto... Anywhere outside the Gaijin Trail, there's no need for any locals to speak English anymore. And none of the signage needs to be in English either!
Well, we're off the Gaijin Trail now.