I got back from Japan about noon on Saturday. My sister picked me up and kept me awake for a few hours but I crashed at 6:30 and just woke up now in the middle of the night. Damn jetlag.
So I went and got an egg sandwich and some drinks, but before I take an ambien and try to sleep til morning I thought I'd write up some observations on Japan. I'm sure there are more to add when my faculties are at 100%, or at least above the 30% they are now, but:
- There are drink machines EVERYWHERE. Selling hot AND cold drinks. Like 3 machines on a block in the residential areas. Right out in front of people's houses. It's strange but handy.
- Movies are expensive. We went to see Watchmen while there and it was about $20 per person.
- People with tattoos can't swim in pools. Apparently old people think they're Yakuza (mob)
- You can actually find 120 film. Like at the corner store. Crazy.
- We were some of the tallest people around.
- Toilets have heated seats, electronic bidets, and buttons that make flushing sounds to cover embarrassing noises.
- The train system is amazing. Shinkansen bullet trains that go 180mph. Just awesome. And they leave every 20 minutes or so.
- I wish that the short skirt or shorts with knee high or thigh high fad would make it to this side of the pacific. That said, many of the younger women walked with a strange gait. Not sure if it's learned or anatomical. Kinda like their knees were rotated inward somehow.
- Cash is king. Almost everything is done with cash, very little credit card use and you've got to seek out international ATMs. Look for 7-11 Stores. I hear taxes are high too, but with such a cash society, I wonder how much of the economy is off the books.
- It's a strange mix of very old and very new. On your left is a 1300 year old temple and on your right is the latest pop star cardboard cut-out that little girls are in line 100 deep to pay to get their picture taken with.
- Overall I did not find the whole place as overwhelming as I had feared. It's like New York but with vertical signs up every building.
- When you're at a store, you don't hand money to the cashier, you place it in a tray
I've got 20-something rolls of film to go through and scan tomorrow, so that's a full day. Can't wait to show you all some pictures.
More observations tomorrow I'm sure.