[Originally posted October 14, 2007]
As in Japan. Last week I went to Tokyo and Kyoto (the better city, btw) for a little vacay with my buddy Prashanth, and loved it. Rich history, wickedly tasty cuisine, humble people, ridic nightlife (in my pictures I look like I was having a greeaat time), fascinating nuances…I can go on and on. All in the trip was amazing and I highly recommend visiting. Immediately. Below are a couple of random things that particularly struck me:
1) R-E-S-P-E-C-T. You know those masks you sometimes see Japanese folks wearing? Those people are not trying to avoid infection, they’re trying to avoid infecting others. || Every time you interface with someone they always greet you, and no matter what the interaction they thank you, bow, wish you a great day and bow again. || Before exiting a rail car, a ticketmaster will turn around and bow to passengers. || If you ask someone for help they’ll try really (really) hard to help (to the point where we felt guilty asking). Sometimes all you have to do is look lost and you’ll get offers of “can I help you” in broken English (look lost in some other countries and you’ll still hear broken English, but they’ll be asking you to help them…with all your money thankyouverymuch).
2) ALARMS. Alarms in Japan are loud. The ones at the Imperial Palace in Kyoto near the South Wall are imperially loud. Yeah. All I’m going to say is don’t lean up against the palace walls for a picture. (And if you do, walk away quickly, snapping pictures anything/everything while ignoring the squad car that pulls up…that worked for a, uh, friend of mine).
3) TRAINS. They’re everywhere. And despite the massive crowds, they’re *clean*. And, shockingly, on time (another word of advice…when the doors are closing, they’re not suggesting you step back…it’s more of an order). (Not that I was hit by closing doors). (Twice).