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September 18, 2005

Postcards from Japan

A few words to remind me of Japan:

"Bullet trains" - woosh, one of the trains we travelled on told us that it was going 285km/ hour. I think some of the newer, more expensive ones go at 400km/hour+ (but I worked that out from Japanese TV so am not exactly sure if I guessed right). The trains were always on time too - if only British Rail could take some efficiency tips (but not costing tips) from the Japanese.

"Toilets" - Really they go from one extreme to another. Public toilets away from tourist attractions are generally hole in the floor types and the toilets in hotels are usually western toilets with some electronic extravagance like a heated toilet seat or 5 ways to wash your bum.
"Sushi" - we did eat quite a bit of sushi, and ate out at a place with a sushi train one day which was quite an experience. Of the non-raw fish kind, strangely we found tuna mayo maki rolls in a corner shop, which is Rob's preferred sandwich flavour.
"Style" - wow, the Japanese are a noticibly sylish lot & Rob and I were very messy in comparison (more so than normal :) ).
"Safety" - never felt safer - no evil intimidating chavs running around causing chaos.
"Baths" - Japanese baths are about 2 thirds the length of a western bath and a little higher so there's no baths for two.
"Bright Lights" - you have to wonder what vast quantity of electricty Japan's neon lighting obsession uses up.
"Vending Machines" - 4 million of them selling drinks, beers and cigarettes. If you put stuff like that in vending machines at home, it wouldn't last 5 minutes before getting broken in to.
"Typhoon" - first time I have been in a country which was having a typhoon. We weren't near the typoon but we got the weather...
"Thin-ness" - everyone is sooo slim (apart from the Sumos who have to work very hard to get fat I'm sure), but Japanese people tend to have small frames so I guess that could explain it. I am sure the diet helps too and the fact that there is not much junk food in the shops.
"Pachincho/Games Parlours" - 5+ floor buildings jammed packed with game and slot machines. In the entertainment quarters, these are everywhere and pretty busy too.
"Temples & Shrines" - how many? wow we saw quite a few and we just scratched the surface.
"Slippers" - what a complex set of rules there are for slippers in Japan. I stopped wearing them when I was about 10 and all of a sudden we are within a whole society based around slippers.
"Service" - Even though we were staying in cheap hotels (these were very expensive by travellers standards for other countries), the rooms were always very clean, the service good and the staff polite & accomodating.
"Bikes" - people ride bikes on the pavements and not on the roads in Japan which is very confusing when you first arrive as you are constantly having to adjust your position on the pavement for passing bikes. I think Rob saved my from collision on a couple of occasions.
"Politeness" - its true, the Japanese are on the whole a very polite lot.
"Mobile phones" - mobiles phones are even more of an obsession here than at home. The phones are different, they are more of the clasp variety with internet and email
"Replicas" - not the Rolex variety, more the mini Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty.

Posted by deb at September 18, 2005 08:50 AM


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