|Shinjuku gyoen, Tokyo
1. Silence – the minute you step out of the airport you feel as if you have been transported into a ‘silent’ zone without any warning signs put up. You realise that you are the loudest person around but you quickly get adjusted and start speaking in hushed tones along with the rest. Not the best place to be in if you are accompanied by two energetic children!
|Anti-fog mirror in our hotel room
10. No Trash bins – I found this really strange at first in Tokyo, thinking that maybe I wasn’t looking carefully, till I ended up carrying an empty carton of juice for 40 minutes before I found a bin to throw it in. And this was true in Osaka as well. It was as if some one was mysteriously hiding all the trash cans in the city! I guess people carry their trash around till they reach home, like I did, pockets filled with empty snack packs, straw, paper receipts and what not, as the streets were spotlessly clean. If one is more organised then probably carry a small plastic bag or better still don’t make any waste at all! Actually there is a legitimate reason for trash bins not being there in Japan, read here for more.
11. Language – If I thought that there weren’t enough English translations of Cantonese in Hong Kong, I take my words back. One would be lost without knowing how to read or speak Japanese in Japan. Street signs, instructions at a theme park, even everyday supermarket wares were only in Japanese. They have two different kinds of scripts from what I understand, making it an intimidating prospect for a non-local at least in the beginning. But again their culture, their ‘politeness’ took over as they went out of their way to make sure that they helped us. Polite gestures and patient non-verbal communication is all that it takes to get the job done. Hong Kong-yan are you listening?