40 things about Japan…

September 22, 2007

1) On trains the ticket inspector bows every time he/she leaves a carriage to go to the next one.
2) Trains lean over when they go round corners.
3) Each train line has a little ‘jingle’ which plays when the train arrives and leaves.
4) When you pay for something in a shop, you put the money in a little tray instead of handing it to the casher. But when they give you your change, they hand it straight to you, notes first, then coins.
5) The 1 yen coin is so light that if you throw it the wind takes it (we found this out when throwing one into a fountain).
6) You can find drink vending machines absolutely everywhere. They all take notes as well as coins.
7) The flap at the bottom (where you get the drink out) goes outwards not inwards.
8 ) There are hundreds of different brands of mineral water.
9) Cold coffee is really popular.
10) You can get Green Tea flavour Haagen Dazs.
11) Every public rubbish bin has multiple compartments for recycling different types of waste.
12) McDonalds sell prawn burgers.
13) Everyone carries an umbrella because it is dual purpose – it keeps the rain off, or shades you from the sun.
14) You can leave your bike, shoes, umbrella etc out in the street and no-one will nick it.
15) Women all get their legs out, i.e. short skirts, high heels etc, but rarely do you see their shoulders or cleavage.
16) Women often wear long socks, especially black ones, some times over the knee ones.
17) Men’s fashion is quite girlie (long styled hair, flowery shirts, tight jeans etc).
18) People smoke, A LOT.
19) Diet drinks are rare.
20) There are very few fat people, but diet pills and supplements are advertised everywhere.
21) In Tokyo, we could count the number of western people we saw on our fingers. There were a lot more in Kyoto.
22) In restaurants, you always pay at a till, never at your table.
23) You never have to tip.
24) In department stores all the restaurants are on the top floor.
25) Many restaurants have examples of the dishes on display outside. They are preserved by some kind of ‘jellifying’ process which makes them look really unappetising.
26) In our hotel we were given the world’s tinest tooth brushes and toothpaste tubes which were about an inch long.
27) Many people walk ‘pigeon toed’. It’s mostly girls and often when they are wearing high-heels.
28) Everyone carries wet flannels around with them, to wipe up their sweat or cool themselves down.
29) Even though it’s really hot and muggy, the fashion is for lots of layers, wooly hats, long socks etc.
30) Lots of signs and menus are headed up in English for each section, but the details are still in Japanese e.g. menus read ‘appetisers’, ‘mains’, ‘drinks’ etc but you can’t tell what any of the options are.
31) Fast food restaurants and train station waiting rooms all have electrical sockets for you the plug in your laptop or anything else you want.
32) On the subway platform, there are marks where the train doors will open, and everyone queues neatly behind the marks, intead of bundling on.
33) You always get free iced water in restaurants even before you have ordered anything.
34) All the mobile-phones are flip type with large screens so they can play games on them.
35) You are not allowed to make calls on train or subway.
36) All pavements, subways, in fact everywhere public, has raised grooves and bumps on the ground to aid blind people.
37) People only have tiny dogs, which are often kept in handbags.
38) The phrase we have heard the most is ‘arigato gozaimasu’ which means thank you very much, but it sounds like ‘gato zaimaaaaaaas’.
39) Everything is advertised or promoted using young pretty girls.
40) Tokyo has been called one of the world’s most expensive cities, but we think it’s still cheaper than London!

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