Random thoughts and memories from Japan

If I ask my child, of all the places we visited, which one he liked the most, he will answer me without hesitation: Japan! That’s exactly what I feel. Japan amazes and delights you, equally, from the first to the last minute spent here. So … let’s get started with our memories from Japan!

Technology. Everyone knows that the Japanese are passionate about technology. Technology and innovation are a foundation of Japan’s competitive edge. Innovative technologies and ideas are changing the way people live, and contributing to the world. You’ll notice this from the airport where passengers are thermally scanned, and is used retinal scanning, fingerprinting and facial recognition technology. Japan is rapidly moving toward “Society 5.0”, adding a fifth chapter to the four major stages of human development: hunter-gatherer, agrarian, industrial and information. In this new ultra-smart society, all things will be connected through IoT technology and all technologies will be integrated, dramatically improving the quality of life.

Everyone knows that the Japanese are passionate about technology

Small hotel rooms. In Tokyo the hotel rooms are very small that optimize space usage. Ours was about 15 square meters. If you visit rural Japan or the prefectures with smaller cities than Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya (Aichi), Kyoto, or Fukuoka, than you are more likely to have bigger hotel rooms. In Japan, most travelers have to adjust their room size expectations unless they are spending a fortune. We were accommodated at The B Ochanomizu, where we felt great

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No tips. In Japan it is not customary to tip. But I’ve written about it here before!

Traditional and Modern. In Japan you will find everywhere the perfect combination between old and new, between traditional and modern. Wonderful temples and shrines bigger or smaller, the pagodas will make you think of the times when the shoguns lived, while the island of Odaiba will make you believe in a SF movie.

Perfect cleaning. Tokyo is one of the cleanest cities in the world. However, here you will only rarely find trash cans. So most Japanese will keep their trash with them until they find a place to throw it. Or until they get home … Two other things you will rarely find in Tokyo subway stations are: benches and escalators. My wife used to joke about this: The Emperor wants the Japanese to be healthy and for that they have to move…

Excellent signage and perfect organization. This is one of the most vivid memories from Japan, because here everything is so well organized and signaled by colors, arrows, stripes that it is almost impossible to get lost. You will know at any time what exactly is the place on the platform where the subway car door will be, how many meters you have to walk to a certain exit, which side you have to go and in which direction …

English language. The Japanese speak very bad English. Of the people we met in Japan, the best English speaker was a young man we met at a shrine and who had studied in Australia for 5 years … But why this? Katakana Words: Preventing English Skills to Develop. Something that Japan can be proud of is the rapid cultural growth of the country and its companies. All sorts of different ideas, from food to IT culture, have been absorbed and integrated successfully from all over the world. Japan is known for picking up an international concept and putting a unique Japanese English twist on it. The omelet turning into omurice, are two examples of this. If it doesn’t interfere with a foreign language, Japan is excellent at adopting concepts from abroad, such as food. Only English has been incorporated into Japanese culture in a rather weird way. Television becomes terebi, Apple becomes Appuru, table becomes teburu, patrol car becomes patoca, and air conditioning turns into eacon. Those words are called katakana words, spelled with the syllabary for foreign terms and have become a natural part of the Japanese language. And this is the issue. Japanese people often don’t know how to properly pronounce words such as “black,” “red,” “light,” and “right,” because they think of katakana words.

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Akihabara. Is a common name for the area around Akihabara Station in the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo, Japan. Akihabara is considered by many to be the centre of modern Japanese popular culture and a major shopping district for video games, anime, manga, electronics and computer-related goods. Icons from popular anime and manga are displayed prominently on the shops in the area, and numerous maid cafés and some arcades are found throughout the district.

The first permanent maid café, Cure Maid Café, was established here. Maid cafés are a subcategory of cosplay restaurants found predominantly in Japan. In these cafés, waitresses dressed in maid costumes act as servants, and treat customers as masters (and mistresses) in a private home, rather than as café patrons.

Vending Machines. The Japanese have vending machines for a lot of things: juices, sweets, toys, electronics, water … and you can find them everywhere. They were a great source of entertainment for the child.

Shinkansen. The Shinkansen, colloquially known in English as the bullet train, is a network of high-speed railway lines in Japan. Initially, it was built to connect distant Japanese regions with Tokyo, the capital, to aid economic growth and development. Beyond long-distance travel, some sections around the largest metropolitan areas are used as a commuter rail network. It is operated by five Japan Railways Group companies.

15 thoughts on “Random thoughts and memories from Japan

  1. Vending machines? From the 1980’s I remember beer vending machines on side streets in Mita (Tokyo). That would not fly here in U.S.A. But with the Covid pandemic, Americans now wear masks like the more civilized Japanese did even back then without Covid if they had an infections disease. But all is not good in The Land of the Rising Sun: Some people should have committed seppuku over Fukushima.

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