Thursday, September 3, 2015

Last lasting impressions: 20 random observations in Japan

1. Cool, sleek architecture that occasionally flirts with being geometrically OTT

2. Doors that slide open when you press a button -- Don't push or pull...just a touch.

3. Taxi doors that open and shut automatically...Be careful not to touch!

4. No garbage bins on the sidewalks...How do they keep Japanese cities so clean and litter free?

5. Semi-communal restaurant dining at long shared counters or tables...I tried it once, but my meals in public are meant to be enjoyed in the privacy of my own table, thank you.

6. A preponderance of pizzerias

7. Smoking in restaurants

8. Cashiers in even the finest dining restaurants

9. A wet washcloth before every meal

10. Weak cocktails. No kick. Stick to beer, wine (plum -- if you can find a restaurant/bar that serves it), and tequila shots that are twice as big as the ones bars charge $10 for in Australia.

11. A Family Mart on practically every block selling some of the yummiest food you'll eat in Japan

12. Weirdest language moment: When I had to communicate with an Ueno massage therapist in Spanish because she (like nearly every local I encountered in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka) didn't speak English, and I don't speak Japanese.

13. Tower Records...I thought they'd gone out of business.

14. Free public WiFi that you need an Internet connection to access...How else are you supposed to get the code that they email to you?

15. Public vending machines selling refreshments in Kyoto

16. Bicycle riders in Kyoto that give me Berlin flashbacks -- Look out!

17. Impeccably dressed and manicured women who all look like they're on the way to the same audition

18. Older men who dye their hair a rather unflattering -- and unnatural -- shade of reddish

19. Quite possibly the smallest four-star hotel rooms in the world

20. Low sinks clearly made for a general population that's under 160 centimetres tall...If you see a black guy walking around Sydney with a stoop, he's probably me.
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