FIRST VISIT TO TOKYO
I have never been to Japan except a
short stopover at Narita in 1980 on the
way to Los Angeles. I was very excited
of the idea of going to the Japanese
Amateur Radio Festival to be held to Big
Sight, Tokyo. Rusli did all the bookings
and planning. I decided to follow his
plan. I paid him a total of RM4.5K for
the trips to Jakarta and Tokyo. We took
In fact we were not alone. At KLIA2 we
met two young ladies also going to Japan
for the first time on their own. We
learned that they were students and
seasoned travelers. They booked the
hotel at different location and had
drawn their plans for the visit. We also
met Aziz, Rizal and two other hams at
the airport. They all did drop their
luggage. The two ladies didn't.
The last train was at about 11.30 pm.
Fearing that we would not catch the
train we tried to minimize time-wasting
by not checking in our baggage.
The immigration was fast. We followed
the direction to the train line, the
Keikyu Line. We asked the two guards the
way to our hotel. The two lady officials
told us hurry and quoted the ticket
price. It was 570 Yen per ticket.
Down on the platform we did not know
what to do. We saw the two girls were
asking around. We too did the same. Two
young men and a lady came to our help,
giving us instructions that we need to
change train at Shinagawa, and followed
us on the train. At Shinagawa we bade
good bye. There was a lady student who
studied in Tokyo approached me asking
where I wanted to go. Then she rushed to
the two girls. I guessed she wanted to
assist the fellow ladies.
Again we asked a gentleman who stood
waiting for the train. He said that it
would be the last train and an only
train. We should not be worried. He told
us to keep an eye on the computer screen
on the train.
The train arrived. WE jumped in. There
was quite a crowd. The Japanese won't
push you around. They have a high value
of courtesy. The train announce "ASAKUSABASHI".
We jumped out. There were several exit.
We walked to the nearest and climbed the
stairs. It was drizzling outside. A lady
passed by. We stopped to ask her the way
to Apa Hotel. She walked us for about
500 meters to the hotel. We thanked her.We checked in at about 12 midnight.
BUYING TRAIN TICKETS -
We had discounted a taxi ride from the
beginning. It would cost anyone a
fortune for anyone to hire a taxi.
Train, subways and similar form of
vehicles are common. There are busses
which we did not know how to use. A
train pass can be purchased by
foreigners from outside of Japan. One
can google for the JR, Japanese Railway,
and ordered a ticket. It is also
available in some stations in Japan with
a passport. For a week it would be from
RM800 - RM1500. It would save us if we
were to go for long distant traveling
within the country.
We wanted to take a local
for going between nearby places.
In every rail station there is a ticket
machine. We can use coins or paper note.
The picture on the left shows a 100 yen
and a 10 yen coins. For the first time I
went to a counter and just mentioned a
word 'AKIHABARA'. The officer looked at
me and said 'One four O platform 1'. I
went to the machine and chose 140 from
the list of numbers, and put 1 silver
coins followed by 4 bronze ones. A
ticker shot out. That's it.
go back to Asakusabashi I bought a
ticket first and went to the counter and
said, "ASAKUSABASHI' and the officer
responded 'One four O platform 6'.
BIG SIGHT -
It was raining on the 20th of August. I
woke up at about 10 am ( 9 am
time ). We went down for breakfast at
about 10.30 am. I always took a simple
breakfast but a lot of orange juice. I
had my food prepared for the victuals,
the Brahim fried rice cooked with boiled
At 11 am we began our journey. I brought
my bag pack and had a smaller one. The
ticket to the Big Sight was 350 yen. At
the moment I don't remember whether we
changed train. Probably at Misabashi
station. It was a long journey. The
train crossed the sea. I think it was a
reclaimed land. There were full of tall
From the rail station to the arena there
was a roof. The rainfall didn't bother
us. There were many people coming down
the train heading the same way. I
whispered to Rusli that they probably
came for some other activities.
The crowds were all went the same way.
The queue for the tickets was long. The
ticket cost 1500 yen and it took about
45 minutes before we reached the ticket
booth. We were trying to look for Aziz
and his gang but could not find them.
Aziz had been to Japan Ham Festivals
several time already.
We were there until 4.30 pm. There was
no sign of Aziz. We guessed that they
might have been busy doing some
purchasing somewhere else or going sight
FISTS is an international Morse club
founded in 1987 by G3ZQS.
The FISTS Club,
(International Morse Preservation
Society) was founded in 1987 by the late
George "Geo" Longden G3ZQS of Darwen,
Lancashire England, after recognising a
need for a club in which veteran
operators would help newcomers and
less-experienced operators learn and
improve CW proficiency. During the
first year, membership reached 300, most
of whom were in Great Britain and
Europe. The original Introduction
to FISTS by Geo holds
as true today as it did when he wrote
it. Geo also explains how
he chose the name FISTS.
American Chapter (now
known as FISTS Americas) was formed in
1990 to assist 11 members in the USA
receive the newsletter and as a banking
convenience. Nancy Kott WZ8C of Hadley,
Michigan was named US representative, a
position she held until sadly she became
a Silent Key in 2014.
Under Chapter (New
Zealand / Australia) was formed in 1998
to provide a similar service to
Australasian members, with Ralph Sutton
ZL2AOH as the VK/ZL representative.
From a VK/ZL membership of four, there
are now over 100 members "Down Under",
principally in New Zealand. The New
Zealand membership is the largest in any
country outside England, Wales and North
Asia Chapter was
formed in 2004 by a few Taiwanese and
Japanese members to provide East Asian
members with various services in their
CW Clubs seem to stress
more on using hands and fists to send
Morse rather than using the computers.
Piju, 9M2PJU, told me
about the FISTS booth. I had wanted to
see it. The first strolled around the
arena failed. We could not find the
I carried 10 pcs of
PIJU's souvenir to be given away for the
people there. Piju is a member of the
FISTS group. So with the late Rizal.
On the second round I
asked the people at the CW Operators'
Club as to the location of FISTS using
the S-Pad on my Samsung Note 2.(I lost
the S-pen. May I might have dropped it
due to sheer excitement of finding the
The FISTS was just near
the Japan CW Operators Club. We chatted
and took several photographs and I
handed the button pins and the
key-chains having Piju's call sign on
them. I gave mine a few.
I think the Malaysian
hams who have passion in CW should get
together to discuss Morse codes. It
would be fun to talk about the
experience of Morse sending and copying,
and about the
making of the homebrewed keys.
But we Malaysians are too
busy and having a multitude of ideas and
philosophies. And we have too many smart
people in our midst.
We have lost the real CW
operators as they are now detaching
themselves from the hobby, either
because they are old or because of their
health. Chow and Eshee were among a few
of these creatures. Eshee would be
pounding his straight key on the contest
at a great speed.
Morse keys at the
exhibition hall were sold like a hot
cake. Rusli coxed me to buy one for my
- Akihabara is well known for it's
electric and electronic stuffs. Before
the trip I
did ask around of what things
should I bought in Japan. I got all sort
of answers. The one who convinced me was
Au, a radio friend on the Whatsapp. He
talked about Casio watch, the Oceanus
type and on every goodies about it. I
told Rusli about Au's suggestion.
As we took a stroll we
kept a look at the prices of items in
the shops that we
passed by. Almost everything in Japan is
expensive. After some time we arrived
the town center.
Rusli bought a cammera
and two Casio watches. One cost RM2700
and another at RM400. The camera was
about RM2000. I bought a watch and a few
other things at a later time. It was a
real crazy. Had not because of the high
price I would have bought more stuffs to
fill my bags.
Window shopping was more
interesting and fun.
I brought with me six packets of Brahim
Briyani and Nasi Goreng Kampong combined
and a pack of maggi mee. I had no
appetite in Brahim. Probably ot was not
hot enough or it was too saltish. I
could finish three packs of maggi for
three nights. Only on the first day I
prepared nasi goreng for victual at Big
Sight. But I ate only half of it.
As we were walking we
came across Kebab sstall that written
the word Halal. And we did ask a
salesman where about any Halal food. I
also knew that under emergency I could
feed on shrimp bugger at Mac Donald. On
the second day onwards I carried with me
a can of potato chip and a bottle of
Aladin was one of the Halal
restaurant. It is not within
AKIHABARA itself. One has to
take a train or walk for about
20 minutes here. There are a few
others but we did not go for the
Nearby our hotel there are many
small shops including 7-11 where
I bought fruits and juices for
evening consumption. The price
was not too expensive.
Rusli brought more foodstuffs
than I. He even brought some
sort of lemang accompanied by
daging rendang. And he brought
along the victuals with him all
along. When I was hungry at
Akihabara I bought a set of
shrimp bugger. You won't die of
hunger while visiting Japan.
COURTESY AND CIVIC
Should I conclude that the Japanese has
a very high ethical standard. You may
see them bow while talking on the phone
as if the other party is in front of
them. When you are in Japan you must not
hesitate to approach and seek for their
help. We started with asking them the
way to our destination, what train to
take. Everyone would be willing to come
to our aid, giving us a detail route
plan or would either take us to the
place we want to go.
When the train arrived
nobody rushed to board it until all
passengers were out. In the train ladies
did stand up to give seat to another
man. I would not to accept it and prefer
to stand all the way.
The city, small town and
the back streets were clean. People do
not litter, no garbage seen as what have
here in Malaysia especially after some
events like soccer match.
Public toilets are not
only free but extremely clean. I was
amazed even in the Big Sight arena the
automatic vowel cleaning system are
deployed; no need of the hand and paper
usage at all. It is just like the one in
From the feedback on my
FB postings I learned that Japan is a
safe place. People can sleep with the
door unlock which used to be our old
practices where we slept with open
windows. And if anything got lost they
would get their belongings back.
At the airport while
going home to Malaysia I put all my bags
on a trolley; a hand carry luggage and a
backpack. Whenever I entered a
shop I would leave the trolley outside.
In one shop I made a purchase of two
beautiful T-Shirts. I was shocked to see
my backpack was missing. Panicking I
went downstairs to make a report to the
information center. I was asked to
return to the counter one hour later.
In the meantime I walked
around looking for the lost bag, both at
the level where I was and on the upper
level. I could find it anywhere after
more than an hour. Rusli suspected
that I might have dropped it somewhere
on the way starting from the place where
we started. I went down again, follow
the track carefully, asking the shop
attendance and airport officials. Nobody
saw any bag.
I had plain tickets and
those items I bought in Tokyo. I decided
to make a police report. Before going to
the police Rusli and me thought it would
be better for us to go around the area
once more. We did. At one corner I saw
my bag being left on a bench. I felt
very relief. I checked the content.
Nothing was missing. It must had been
dropped somewhere and picked by some
guys with the idea the owner would be
looking for it as we had done..
It was all about ethics,
morality, civic mindedness and a pure
clean heart. A Minister would resign
with a small mishap not even caused by
him. How would I not said the
deteriorating of ringgit in relation to
Japanese yen has something to do with
morality and our unashamed behavior.
One main problem is the
deteriorating value of our currencies.
The ratio from 100Y:RM1 is now
100Y:RM4+, I would compute it is due to
our leadership problems. It is just my
view. You may not agree with me.
are everywhere. Rusli wanted
watches and camera fully made in
Japan. They are more
expensive than the ones in
Malaysia. The watch above used
China made casing. That explains
for the cheap price.
transceivers are cheaper in
Tokyo as compared to the price
in Malaysia but it is too bulky
to carry. There are a lot of
refurbished iPhone 5 and 4. The
average price is between RM400 -
RM1200. If I had not controlled
myself I would have purchased an