Sunday, 15 November 2009

Stairs, Stairs And More Stairs

A friend is flying off to Japan for a 10-day holiday with her siblings today. Apart from helping her out with the Tokyo itinerary and dumping all sorts of brochures for her to read, I gave her one piece of advice as she intended to use the vast, highly efficient train system to get around. Be prepared to climb a lot of stairs in Japan. That, and reminding her to collect all those free tissue packets.

While there were escalators and elevators in bigger stations, smaller stations just have those concrete stairs for you to climb up and down. Just looking at all those stairs, especially the narrow ones was enough to make one dizzy! LOL

Make sure your thigh muscle can stand climbing all those stairs, ya. And good upper body strength too, if you need to carry your child (maybe plus a stroller) up, like I did sometimes!

It may not be much of a problem without luggage, but imagine lugging around heavy bags up all those flights of stairs. It sure wasn't something to look forward to, climbing up stairs after getting off from a train from a particularly tiring day of sightseeing. Ugh...

Anyway, people seems to be heading off to Japan left right centre over here. Apart from this friend, a colleague will be heading off in Feb next year. One is thinking to go. One is in Japan as I write this. And they all blame me for their trip. LOL If it's true, then I make a good (albeit FOC) ambassador for Japan tourism, no? *^-^*


  1. How come so many stairs? Don't they have lifts, escalators? Lugging heavy bags can be a problem. And also for those who are physically impaired.

    I don't like too much climbing up and down stairs too.

  2. @Mei Teng,
    My husband's answer is : physically disabled take buses.

    But seriously, it is true that physically disabled person may encounter problem at some stations. Some do have elevators and escalators, but not all. Even at big stations equipped with those facilities, you do encounter some steps. Can't get away from them in Tokyo! That's how I felt.

    And for those with luggages, you do have to lug it up that stairs!

    Any thoughts or comments from those in Japan about this?

  3. Lina,
    They do have access to physical-impaired people, only we neglect to find out, as it's not necessary for us.
    When FIL was hospitalised for 6 mths, his bed was 3 floors up. We never use the lift, never. We climbed the stairs up and down. We are just following the habit here.
    When I finished down Mt Fuji. Alone on the way back, had to transit many stations, I almost died. Really! All those stairs to climb with my painful, aching body and holding on to my luggage.
    Had to stop every 3 steps. But some Japanese men, helped me with luggage. I almost hugged one for being so kind.
    So stairs are to make us strong. That's how the Japanese see it.

    BTW, not Okinanawa...check on the side bar.

  4. @Kak Lela,
    That's true. We don't need them so we never look for them. But we did see chair lifts available at train stations being used.

    Is it why old the bent old ladies and old men still have no problem walking around, even hiking? Bukan takat naik tangga aje, kan? They are indeed strong!

    Ha... baru perasan kesilapan ejaan Okinawa tu... After all these years... Sorry. Will amend it. :)

  5. when I first brought my Mak and two elderly aunts around Tokyo - I did not put much thought and consideration for the "stairs only" (no elevator/escalator) stations while making train change. hence, my aunt's poor legs& feet suffered from all those stairs climbing/descending...

    by the time MIL & SIL visited us, I arranged for us to change trains only at stations with elevator/escalator. that sometimes mean i changed trains at further stations than the one recommended in the map given - requiring longer trip. but better that then inflicting unnecessary pain on the elderly, right?

  6. Japan train station is the best place to work out for free! hehehe ;P

  7. they trying to keep their people healthy... since they don't exercise, lets make them walk more up the stairs at the stations? hahaha

  8. they should have elevators at every stations... be hard for the disables to move around.. can possibly have the disables to go to the station that have elevators and get off there and take a bus after :/.

  9. I like stairs! I think only Malaysians complain about stairs. I think in Japan they are so used to it, it's nothing to them.

    But of course, for the physically impaired, it's going to be a problem.

    Then again, I also don't like the idea of lugging my luggage up and down rows of stairs! It's OK when not carrying lots of luggage.

    Btw, Japan Tourism should pay you to be their ambassador : )

  10. They have improved a lot over the last few years (in the Tokyo area at least) with lifts being added to stations, and being there from the start on newer lines. On JR stations without lifts usually have a "chair lift" on at least on set of stairs, which is operated by staff who will also escort wheelchair passengers onto the train (and make sure there is someone at their destination station to help them off). I'm not sure if or how other railway companies do this though.

    On underground stations, while there might be escalators between the "mezzanine" and the platform, usually the way up to the street is stairs-only.

  11. @A Z Haida,
    Last photo was at Asakusa station (belah mana, forgot lah pulak).

    We being able bodied, sure didn't notice and didn't think much about getting up or going down all those stairs but like you said, with elderly people, have to think about them. Some people would rather walk a bit than having to climb those stairs.

    I think if I bring my FIL vacationing in Japan, we'd have to limit our transport choices to buses only!

  12. @Farah,
    true! I think that's why I managed to avoid putting on more while in Japan although eat so much there.

    No need to use stairmaster in Japan. LOL

  13. @ladyviral,
    older, smaller stations don't have them and they are really lacking in space to put one. But I do agree that should have more disable friendly facilities to help them be more mobile.

  14. @foong,
    I don't mind those stairs but with two heavy bags, one on each hand, I was cursing all the way to the train platform. LOL

    I wish I can get paid for writing all these on Japan! :P I am pretty happy promoting Japan and showing friends that vacationing in Japan is great fun!

  15. @Penguin,
    I guess JR has enough manpower to oversee and look after physically disabled commuters. Heck, they have enough manpower to put one at stations just to help commuters buy train tickets, I noticed.

    I wonder whether there's some kind of ramp built on those levels where there are only stairs?

    I noticed that space between train platforms and trains one need to board might not be convenient for a wheelchair bound person to navigate. Some have a rather big gap in between and big enough for a child to fall in the gap.

  16. Oh Oh so our baby must be easy to carry still when we go there so we can stand the climb. Hubs is not to keen with walking or climbing stairs. I think his height pulls too much weight! hahaha!

    That jap girl in thigh socks look so cute!

  17. @Ayie,
    You noticed the girl? Yeah, she's cute and sexy too. How come Foong didn;t notice her, ah? LOL

    If you wanna go there, I guess bring over a light stroller instead of a bulky, heavy one. It'll be murder taking those up on the stairs.

  18. Well, even if there are no elevators, maybe a ramp be good for them... easier too.

  19. Ayie looking at cute jap girls! o_o;

    foong didn't notice? Foong isn't into them? >.>;

  20. @ladyviral,
    Ayie's baby must be a boy, with her looking at Japanese girls. Kidding Ayie! :)

    Foong, better come to your own defence!

  21. I'm going to blame you too as I prepare my itinerary in Japan based on your recommendations. :P

    Can I not climb those stairs? **dread**

  22. @ECL,
    you are going to Japan? Goodie! :-)

    The stairs are not that bad lah, just think climbing it as a way to burn off all the excellent food you'll eat while in Japan! :)

  23. I always eye on goodlooking ladies =) I don't know but I appreciate it so much when i see beautiful lads! hehehe! well I think better than being caught staring over cute guys! =P

    Maybe foong doesn't fancy cute anime like girls =P

  24. @Ayie,
    I like looking at them too. And I know Zaini won't mind. Now ogling at cute guys might be courting trouble for me! LOL

  25. Haiya, you all don't know I only like Mariah Carey? Hahaha!

  26. @foong,
    so loyal. Only got eyes on his girl. :D


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