A Few Tidbits from Japan

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I have about two and a half more days here in Japan.  I'm worn nearly ragged, but I've been having a great time.  I plan to do a more detailed recap when I return, but I thought I'd share a few quick tidbits  on this fine Friday.  When I travel, I am so keenly aware of small differences that I try to take note of because they're unique or indicative of larger cultural differences, but I often forget them.  Maybe this little list will help me remember them later in life.


There are shockingly few trash cans yet absolutely no litter.

During the busiest times, people line up to get onto the metro and then board the already full trains in an orderly fashion.  You don't see any of this "HEY! MOVE TO THE MIDDLE OF THE TRAIN...ASSHOLE!" business that we have during DC rush hour.

There are a cacophony of words everywhere.  I'm sort of glad that I can't read it, because I think it would be sensory overload.  When every place is so overrun with advertising, it makes me wonder if it renders it all ineffective.

Public drunkenness, man.  Seriously, there are some real shit shows here, and it does not discriminate based on age.  I saw one middle aged business man completely face plant down some stairs.  He looked dead.  It was disturbing.  I've seen public vomiting in the metro twice.  While passing by from the outside, I saw a young girl inside a restaurant just eat it into the window.

The whole anime thing is just plain freaky-deaky.  There are cafes where the waitresses are dressed up in anime outfits -- little maid costumes and school girl uniforms.  Yet it is unclear to me what is sexual and what is not.  I do not like the ambiguity on that front.

All the taxis have the same charming lace seat covers.

So, um, yeah, Americans can be disgusting and, boy, do we bolster the theory of the tragedy of the commons.  We can be gluttonous, indulgent, over-sexualized, and consumer-driven, but there are sins being committed everywhere.  Everybody's got their own way of dealing with things, no?

Mandy P
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  1. Ooh, I love these tidbits. Keep 'em coming, and ENJOY!!!

  2. wow! So interesting! I have watched a discovery channel thing on the business people in Tokyo and how drinking nightly (like all night long) is a big of a part of the daily life... Curious to know how so many people manage like that!

  3. How does everyone react to these shit shows? Is it so commonplace that they don't notice?

  4. When I went to Singapore the trash thing was the same. It was weird that there weren't places to throw things away and yet it was so clean. Where do they put everything?!?


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