Leaving any subway or train station in Japan you will always find a useful street map spread across an adjacent wall as you come out. Each one is different depending on the location of the exit itself and they are designed so that when you look at them you are effectively looking at the city in front of you. Each map is effectively individually tailored to its location. Someone has actually stood where you are standing and figured out the orientation you're trying to figure out. And you're either looking puzzled or you are probably about to get very lost.
The issue is that, this remarkable (and very expensive) form of ultimate customer service may allow you to quickly orient yourself to the local environment, however it only does so if you know that is what it is actually doing. By definition, if the map reflects what you are looking at, North will almost definitely not be at the top. Unlike every other country in the world. So when you hold the directions in your head, you're starting at a disadvantage. The good news of course, is that the map will be in Japanese anyway. So you're probably lost from the start.
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