Travelling in Japan can be fun just because of many small cultural differences that you notice here and there, in the way society work, in the way people act. So here is a list of oddities, from my perspective that is. None of this has to be intended as a judgment of good or bad in any way, just curiosity at work.
Without any further ado, here’s the list:
√ Everyone calls me Paolo San, and just for that Japan is one of the coolest countries I have visited.
√ Super high tech toilets: the toilet seat opens when you approach it, it is warm, it plays music, but most importantly, when you are done with your business, you can activate a spurt of water of unknown origins which incredibly, inevitably, and, in a weird way, agreeably, always scores a direct it in your asshole. Match that! (featured image)
√ Kids must go to school on their own starting at 6, even in big cities with traffic etc. Talk about taking responsibility for yourself.
√ When it’s not time, it’s not time: I arrived at a hostel at 14h55, the check in was at 15h00, so I and the receptionist spent 5 minutes looking at each other in the eyes intensively, until when she said: “now you can check in”.
√ There are no rubbish bins on the streets, on purpose. Talk about taking responsibility, part 2.
√ I saw a melon at the supermarket with a price tag of 3,000 Yen, about 26 Euros. Come to Italy, they’ll through them at you and give you some money with it.
√ You’ll find some prescription glasses with weak, medium and strong gradation anywhere you might need to use them: post office, bank…
√ When you buy yogurt at the supermarket, sometimes they put it in a plastic bag and add some ice to keep it fresh. That’s what I call a service!
√ No matter what kind of packaging you are tackling, there is always a trick to open it perfectly. Like the Onigiri ones.
√ Everything is wrapped in plastic, even single fruits. Japanese use plastic as if there was no tomorrow… mmm, wrong choice of words?
√ Japanese are passionate people, borderline obsessive really, but they learn how to do everything perfectly even when it isn’t their tradition. Examples? Great pizzas, great wine, great coffee!
√ Obsessive cleanliness: the cleanest rooms I have seen in my life, which is great. But I saw people at the onsen (public baths) literally rubbing their skin as if they wanted to see what’s beneath it. Someone please tell them some bacteria are useful.
√ Great use of space: I have had a drink in the smallest bar in the world, we were in four in it, standing, and we filled it. Wanna talk about the vertical car parking in Tokyo?
√ Public transport works and it is punctual to the second. If this isn’t an oddity to you try to catch a bus in Rome.
√ In some restaurants, there’s a basked under each chair for your purse, backpack, cowboy hat… or any other thing you don’t know where to put.
√ Tuna Sushi is divided into normal medium and very fat, and Karaoke is actually in small private rooms rather than stages where you sing in front of everyone else.
And that’s 500 words, let’s go!