farewell tokyo

last night in tokyo…i havent left yet, but looking back at everything ive seen, done, and learned, im pretty sure i miss it already.  the alleys that lead to a whole different section of shops, restaurants, and people….the people in full suits speeding down the sidewalk on bikes, the lady fighting with her basset hound on the sidewalk.  its very new york, but totally tokyo.

ive spent the past day and a half with the gap/old navy japan team, and they were wonderful.  we had lunch…and dinner….and i met…so many people.  from ops to hr, gap to value.  there was so much information, and as excited as i was to meet them and hear about what they do, they wanted to hear about what i was doing, and what things are like in the US.  they were curious about my bike ride through the city, thought i was good at eating with chopsticks, and brave for staying in one of the busiest areas of the city and venturing out to restaurants.

yesterday started with tb’s and coffee with brent and a solo visit to the gap store nearby, then an authentic japanese dinner with a few members of the hr team and ops team.  today, more tb’s – several hours with old navy operations – my biggest learning – japanese custom – customers like people to go to their house to apologize.  then, an authentic lunch with the ops team, and a tb with the head of all stores/brands in japan.

then, a visit to the odaiba mall where the old navy store will be.  its not open yet, but old navy is on the side of the mall, and there is a marketing store set up in part of it.  the windows and super modelquins are set up as well, and energetic associates are greeting potential customers and encouraging them to come into the store and check it out, and of course, leave their email address.  they have the ability to view the merchandise via ipad, check out old navy’s history, and watch clips of the latest commercials.

i was also able to go behind the black curtain and see the set up of the store as it exists today…..boothsets, quick changes, fitting rooms….the gm walked us through all of it.  theyre so excited to open the store – the energy was contagious.

the day finished with dinner with brent at the best mexican place hes found.  it was off the beaten path, down a narrow, narrow alley – more so than any ive seen in san francisco, in a cool, hipster, chill, neighborhood.  great dinner, great conversation, perfect way to end my stay in tokyo.

as i look back at the past….four or five days, i continue to realize how big the world really is.  here there are so many people, all doing there own thing, and content to let you do your own as well.  tokyo is a clean and safe city….as much time as i spent walking around, i never once felt unsafe.  and everyone has been so helpful, even if it did involve playing charades.  there is a lot i can do, and for a few days, was able to get by, but i have a lot to learn….and am very small compared with the big picture.

as a side note, my first and really only negative experience – the washer/dryer in the hotel. the directions were awful, to the point that they were wrong.  someone from the front desk comes up, with different, correct directions – starts the thing, but doesnt leave the directions.  it gets done several hours later….and is damp/bordering wet.  of course, i dont have the correct directions to start only the dryer.  i need to pack everything and now cant….and oh wait, my pajamas were in there too.  awesome….was hoping i could sleep in wet pjs….

and my phone just told me i have bootcamp in 10 minutes…this time change thing is wacky…

as fun as tokyo has been, and as much as i will miss it, i am excited to move on to the next leg of my journey.  im sure it will be just as amazing.

so, heres to farewell to tokyo, to an amazing time in china, heres to so many more lessons learned, and to being able to access my blog for the next two and a half weeks.

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