· High-tech public toilets, and lots of them
There's no doubt about the fact that Japan does porcelain thrones better than anyone. Numerous times we've been shocked to walk into the restroom of an otherwise dodgy place, only to find a gleaming toilet heavy on the extra features. A focus on cleanliness and modern facilities goes a long way when a city is dealing with an influx of millions of visitors in the middle of summer, in an otherwise already crowded center.
· Hello Kitty everything!
Officially licensed or not, Hello Kitty merchandise is going to experience a new wave of popularity with the opportunity for Olympics-edition items. Besides souvenirs, Olympics visitors will to the Hello Kitty Cafes (like the one in Haneda Airport) and the Hello Kitty theme park as side-trips from the Games.
· F*ck Yeah, Zaha Hadid
You either hate or love architect Zaha Hadid for her sweeping, ultra-futuristic buildings, and we're firmly in the latter camp. Tokyo has plans to smartly renovate their existing stadium leftover from the 1964 Olympics, and they've enlisting Hadid to make it happen. Since Zaha's structures are few and far between, the stadium project means a great mass will have the opportunity to experience and benefit from her vision.
· Growth for budget airlines
Budget airlines are a new thing to Japan. Currently there's only the very cute Peach, soon to be joined by Vanilla Air, and who knows how many more will have entered the ring come 2020? Millions of air travelers focusing on Japan flights for the next seven years will absolutely help build a network, and Games-goers may be moved to tack on a quick side-trip to other regions of Japan or Asia if the price is right. For example, we recently flew roundtrip between Seoul and Osaka and Asiana priced out at $330, while budget Peach asked half that.
Getting excited yet? If so, bookmark the official plan and see you there in 7 years!
[Photos: Jaunted, Tokyo 2020]