Just different

Japan is just different

Plastic food, white gloves, love of trains, pachinoko, toilets, manholes, social distance and futons. Japan is just different in so many different ways. Read about some of the differences I've experienced in Japan during my visits.

Japan is different – white gloves April 7, 2019 Something I noticed when travelling around Japan was the number of people wearing white gloves. Almost all drivers - taxi drivers, bus drivers and train drivers and conductors, most often, but not always wear white gloves. But it's not only drivers- the police and postal workers also wear them. When I looked into it, there was no real answer why. The Japanese Times reports that the police started weraing them when the Beatles came to Japan in 1966. At the time, the only police who used white gloves were the Imperial Guard, but the police chief at that time, concerned… Read more >
Japan is different – trains April 10, 2019 The Japanese love trains - no matter if it's a ultra-modern high speed bullet train, or very slow local train - and local trains are very slow. You can see this in many different ways. Japan rail personel salute the incoming shinkansen, the platform supervisor salutes the leaving train. Train conductors bow and say hello and goodbye as they enter and leave a carriage. It takes so little time and effort, does it make a difference, perhaps not, but a show of politeness and respect to the people travelling on the tarin and ultimately paying their wages. The Japanese love… Read more >
Japan is different – toilets April 15, 2019 In the same way that Japan is at the technological forefront when it comes to trains, so it is with toilets. Warm toilet seats, integrated bidet with sprinkle or shower, water pressure level, positioning (and much more), automatic flushing when you stand up, and even a water sound simulator to drown out the sound of you going about your business. And it even comes with an important safeguards sign, just to make sure you don't wash yourself down the toilet Not all toilets are however, equally high tech, and not least the further you come out into the countryside, the… Read more >
Japan is different – taxi, futon, eating, distance and trash April 18, 2019 I've already mentioned trains, toilets and white gloves, here are 5 more differences between between Europe and Japan. Taxi red and green The first time I tried to hail a taxi, they all drove past. As in many countries, Japanese taxis have a red and green light on the roof. I let the taxis with a red light pass by, but non of the taxis with green light on, ever stopped. Then I realised! In Japan it's opposite - red indicates it is empty and green that it is occupied. Sleeping on a futon If you stay at a Japanese… Read more >
Japan is different – plastic food, queueing, hygene, public baths, stamp books April 22, 2019 Continuing the the theme of differences, here are some more things that are very different in Japan. In this post I look at plastic food, queueing, hygiene, public baths and proof of visiting. Plastic food Many Japanese restaurants show the food they serve in their window, but it isn't freshly made food, but plastic food. The picture above shows some of the countless sushi pieces that can be purchased, and below a shop front in Matsuyama. More often than not, you cannot see into a Japanese restaurant, which for a westerner, is often a problem - an empty restaurant most… Read more >
Japan is different – Pachinoko, manholes, vending machines, breakfast, shopping streets April 23, 2019 Pachinoko - Japanese pinball Upon entering a pachinko parlour for the first time, the first thing that hits you is the fog of cigarette smoke. Inside you'll find row upon row of pachinko machines and lots of noise, not least bells and cartoon voices. Mostly male players are watching silver balls bounce around (pachin refers to the sound of the ‘ko’, or ball), hoping they will fall down into the winning centre hole. The more balls they win, the more cash they will get. The winner can swap the thousands of winning silver balls for a receipt, which in turn was swappable… Read more >