Did I mention that the metro of Tokyo is expensive? Well taxis were not going to be less. Yesterday I took my first taxi in here. We payed around 6500¥ ~ 65€. The starting tariff was 7€ which reminded me of Finland. I could not hold it so I try to sate my curiosity through the help of my Japanese friend Shima, therefore I started to ask questions to our driver. It turned out that the old man was in the business for 16 years. There are private companies and self employees. This man worked for a private company doing shifts of 20 hours under his choice to get 4 days off. He was making 2500€ a month which is a decent salary but perhaps a little bit tight for the cost of living of Tokyo. Given the massive size of this metropolis I got curious about how did taxi drivers deal with the street’s confusion before they could use a GPS. Apparently they were just using maps. The problem with addresses in Tokyo and perhaps in the rest of japan is that there are not really names for the streets except from the main avenues. The system in here is based on wards. For instance Tokyo metropolis consists of 23 wards which are governed independently. It´s really easy to get lost and even Japanese people has problems to find their way too. The use of Google maps and other global positioning systems on the cell phone are very extended. It´s interesting because when you get indications for an address on the internet you don´t get the usual itinerary visualized on a map but pictures of stores and other visual reference points around your destination…you get this sort of indications from Google maps as well.
Addresses in Tokyo are composed of 3 numbers: “…the blocks are numbered and, at the lowest level, the building has a number. Finally comes the room or apartment number.The buildings within a block are either numbered in the order that they were built, so they jump all around, or numbered in clockwise order around the block. In this clockwise numbering there is sometimes skipping of several numbers for later assignment, where future construction between existing buildings is possible”.
If you want more information about how the Japanese address system work I dropped this link that helped me to make it clear.