A few things I've noticed during my first day in Japan, that I find interesting:
- Taxi drivers all wear suits, and Taxi doors automatically open for you.
- People are exceedingly friendly and customer service is better than any other place I've seen, yet people are not tipped.
- There is an obsession with things French. Lots of high-end boutique stores, cafes, and pastry shops utilize French names and language.
- It is considered rude to talk on your cell phone on buses or trains
- Many places don't open until after 10AM or later.
- The city seems relatively safe. There are many places we have walked around where I would have instinctively avoided in any other city. (For instance, a deserted alley at night).
- But there are also a lot of weird, petty crimes.
For instance, on the subway there is a sign that says "Don't be a pervert" -- because basically there is a big problem with Japanese men groping school girls on the subway. So much so that they have to put these signs up and designate special, female only cars. Of course all these signs are only in Japanese and not readily discernable to a foreigner, but fortunately I have a good translator ;)
- Lots of places only take cash.
- There is an obsession with price = quality. We saw ONE mango being sold at a grocery store for $200. Is the "perfect" mango really worth that much? Does it really taste that much different from a quality mango you could get for 1/100th the price at a Farmer's Market? We also saw $35,000 chopsticks and $75 for four pieces of chocolate. The representative of the chocolate store claimed that these were "the most expensive chocolates in the world", but said nothing about their taste or quality.
I should have asked for a free sample...
The dog salon...for when shedding just doesn't work well enough.
- To turn off or on the sink, I have to do the opposite of what I normally think to do. For instance, pushing down on the handle only causes the water to gush out faster, splattering into the sink and then onto my pants.
- Women in Tokyo love their little rat dogs. They dress them up like children in funky clothing, carry them around, and take them to fancy salons where they get their hair and nails trimmed. I thought that shedding accomplished this function already, but apparently it is not as fashionable.
- Space is at a premium and everything is tiny. But showers take up entire rooms.
- There are no public trash cans anywhere, yet there is hardly any litter on the streets.
- There are vending machines selling everything from water to beer, so you will never go thirsty. Just be prepared to carry your bottle around for 3 hours until you can find a trash can.