Tokyo’s Energy Conservation

Because the disastrous earthquake and tsunami of March 11 triggered a nuclear crisis, people all across Japan have been doing their part in the urgent need to conserve energy. I’ve been in Tokyo for only a couple of days, but the manifestation of this energy conservation was evident as soon as I stepped off the plane at Narita Airport.

The airport was warm. At first I thought I was working up a sweat taking the long walk to customs and retrieving my luggage. When I saw an airport employee swabbing his face with a handkerchief, it hit me: The AC wasn’t running on high.

My hotel in Tokyo is also in on the act. A note on the vending machine on my floor indicates that since the earthquake, the hotel has been conserving power. As a result, the vending machines on even-numbered floors are not operational. My room is on the 8th floor, so if I want a snack or a beverage, I must go to one of the odd-numbered floors to make my purchase. (I’m pretty sure that’s what the sign says.)

Vending machines such as this are ubiquitous in Japan

The vending machine on the 8th floor of my hotel isn't running in order to conserve electricity

For snacks and otsumami (snacks that go with alcohol), go to floors 7, 9, or 11


I haven’t ventured to the super-neon sections of Shibuya and Shinjuku yet, but I’m curious to see if the bright lights are a little dimmer than usual.