For this week, through the All Japan Koi Show, and until next Monday my home is the Toko Hotel in Gotanda, Tokyo.   It’s conveniently situation adjacent to Gotanda Station and a 10/15min walk or so from the INPC offices.

Yesterday on arrival in Gotanda I took a taxi straight to the office as I couldn’t check in at 9am.  As such I had a suitcase full of clothes, tripod, cables, books and all sorts, along with a camera bag weighing about 15kg.

Having finished work at 7.30pm I elected for a taxi to the hotel rather than walking with luggage.  I got in, requested my destination, Bob’s your uncle, I was duly delivered to my door, 710yen, thanks very much.

A brisk sunny walk at 8am this morning, amongst the throng of commuters, got me to my office no problem.

Having finished work again at 7.30pm I elected for a taxi.  I wasn’t being particularly lazy, I just knew I had e-mails to answer, things I wanted to do and I knew, that somewhat before 9pm last order yesterday, the hotel retaurant had turned off it’s traditional stone bake pizza oven resulting in me having KFC!!

Anyway, I hailed a cab, hopped in the back and said, ‘Toko Hoteru onegaishimasu’.  Simply take me to Toko Hotel please.

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He headed off, and then suddenly decided a left turn may be in order.  Whilst executing it he asked, ‘Gotanda, desu ka’?  ‘Is that Gotanda?’

‘Hai, so desu, Gotanda eki’, i confirmed, ‘Yes it is, Gotanda Station.’

He abandoned the left turn and headed straight on, I could hear his mind working.  On his sat nav we only had to travel about 2″!

As we carried on our straight ahead route we reached the main junction at which the quickest way to Gotanda Station is left, the same as the Toko Hotel, unless you are a taxi driver because that leaves you in no mans land with regards to being at a taxi stop.  We took a left!

As we turned left the sign stating ‘Toko Hotel’, in English, is clear for all to see.

‘Are’ (over there), I pointed straight ahead and up at the big blue and white sign.  He looked at me blankly scanning the skyline ahead.

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I mentioned before about the importance/value of learning the pronunciation of Japanese syllables, and the fact that in some guide/phrase books they are written phonetically as opposed to the accurate and traditonal way.

I’ll hazard a guess that most reading, especially those that are in England, or English speaking countries, are thinking I wanted the ‘ToeKoe Hotel’?  With long O’s, am I right?

Well, let me tell you, if you were, and if you’d been in my cab asking for it you’d likely have been taken right there.

To correctly represent that in Romaji it should be written, as least as my study tells me, ‘TõKõ’ (should be a straight line above the ‘o’, sorry), or TouKou, both indicating a long ‘O’ sound.

Without it it is a short ‘o’, as in ‘orange’.

The taxi driver eventually ascertained where I was pointing, ‘ah tooooooooooookooooo’, he said and then proceeded to share his pearls of English with me.  I stood firm with my Japanese, sadly it didn’t stretch to explaining my issues with the hotel sign!

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Nihongo, grrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

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