Our oriental adventures are over for now and it’s time to return home. This trip was so amazing and we were so lucky with the wonderful weather and very few bumps in the road.
Japan is definitely a place I could visit again! I love that no matter where you are, there are always mountains or the ocean in sight. The people are lovely and the country has such a friendly feel.
What I’ll miss: Fresh sushi, efficient bullet train travel, all the animated signs and cuteness, the offers for photos (did we ever mention the photo-takes for design blogs and the offers to be in fashion shows?), the ever helpful CG-guest wifi that popped up whenever needed, and the candy angel store.
What was most memorable: Climbing Mt Fuji and experiencing onsen.
What I don’t mind leaving behind: Tiny spaces and crowded subways.
As per usual, here’s our little list of quirks that we’ve noticed along the way.
- There is a love for electronic tones (not music, more like an old Nokia ringtone). These jolly, cartoon-like tunes play when the train arrives or in the background of the grocery store.
- Face masks are a popular infection control practice.
- There are phone charging stations randomly on the streets. People just hangout and wait for their cellphones to charge.
- The doors of taxicabs open on their own. The cab drivers pull over and the back door just opens up to entice you in.
- Ok, I thought there were no garbage cans in Thailand, but there are NONE here. How do they keep everything so clean?!!
- I have seen more spiders here than Thailand. Unexpected.
- When you pay for something, you place your money into a little tray – never into the person’s hands.
- Anime is ubiquitous. I thought it was mainly popular among the younger crowd, but in the morning all the businessmen on the subway are reading anime magazines, as well as the oldsters and children.
- I find the bow here such a polite way of showing respect. Andy is funny because he will keep returning the bow, which makes the other person return the bow, and it continues in a circle so that they’re both just bobbing at one another endlessly. I’ve had to call an end to it on several occasions.
- There are “women only” cars on the subway.
- Over 70% of Japan is mountains
- People with tattoos are not allowed in most onsens and some other public facilities.
- Speaking of the subway, those white-gloved men do exist and they do mash people on the train.
- Japanese script is written up and down, with pages read from right to left.
- They have roller-coaster escalators… They go up, down, and plateau.
- You know how you can buy sailor moon costumes at home? Well they’re actually just day-to-day school outfits here.
- Sadly, the tsunami hit tourism pretty hard here. This was quite noticeable to us with fewer tourists, and many places are offering discount tickets. Some hotels and trains are also saving electricity by turning lights/AC off during the day, etc.
- We find the taste of ginger in everything… Andy bought a tea drink that was spiked with ginger (to his great distaste), I bought a 0-calorie 7up that appeared to be sweetened with ginger, colorful candies will trick you and end up being ginger-flavored…
- Every TV, regardless of it’s age or type, looks like it’s in super HD. You’d like it Tata.
- By the way, this is my favorite Japanese character: