Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Weird Things We Noticed in Japan

Ok, first of all, there are still smoking sections in Japan. As in, early 90s, would you like smoking or non smoking sections. As in, even if you're in non smoking, you can still smell the smoke. Waaaamp.

For a super technologically advanced country, the fact that everything is cash based is quite odd. Even major stores like McDonald's only took cash. I cannot fathom a reason for this, especially in touristy places where people might want to spend lots of money. But can't. Because they aren't carrying enough to pay for both souvenirs and dinner, which is also expensive in those areas.  And when they do have a machine, it's still an old "sign the paper" receipt. I guess I've gotten so used to the sign pads in Korea that I forgot what it was like to have to sign a credit card slip for a $2 purchase...

Paying for toilet paper. This doesn't happen all over, but it happened near a temple that we had paid for and also at a major train station in Osaka. WHY would I have to pay for toilet paper?!?! Isn't that, like, a right in a public bathroom? I can say a lot of things about various bathrooms that I've used in my travels, but I can't remember a time where I was left no option but to BUY toilet paper. Thankfully I always carry tissues and things. But still.

I forgot what "tax not included" shopping was like. In London, Europe and Korea, what you see is what you pay. If it says 5 pounds, 5 euros or 5,000 won, that's it. Hand it over and you're done. In Japan, if you're in a shop where tax isn't included (it is in many tourist places and shops), if you see something for 500 Yen, there's tax and then you get back a bunch of small and useless coins. And there's no smaller bill than 1,000 yen, which is almost $10. Which makes it super annoying when you have to dig around for 100 or 500 yen coins to pay for things.

Some guy on the train was leaning over us reading some clearly adult stuff disguised as a newspaper. Or maybe not disguised. Maybe it's normal to read erotica on your morning commute? I know that Japan is a little, er, more lax about that kind of... entertainment... But really sir? I don't want to see that you are reading comics involving naked women on the subway. It's awkward and gross. 

It's not all bad things though. Lots of things are cool about Japan, like how their bathrooms almost always have heated seats that include bidets. Listen folks. Life is too short not to use heated seats and to try bidets. 

Usually (Denny's being an exception), Japan successfully keeps the America in American style things, as evidenced by McDonald's mcgriddles of awesome!

People were crazy helpful, even with limited English. Usually when we were looking at a map, we would get help from a random passerby who happened to see our distress. We managed to figure out most things by ourselves (even tho the maps in Japan always orient themselves to where you're facing, not just staying standard north...), but when we needed help, it was there. One lady at the train station ticket desk even chased after us through the station to make sure she'd written the train information and times correctly for us. It was a beautiful thing.

We didn't get bumped, brushed, bashed or shoved nearly as often as we do in Korea, which was a strange change for us. It was sooooo refreshing to have people apologize if they bumped into us.

I can't wait to go back someday^^


This week, as I sat at my desk working on spring camp stuff, a new video came up on my newsfeed. I don't usually pay attention to new releases of groups I don't know, but this one caught my eye, and you can imagine why.

I'm not entirely sure of the reason for the title, but they definitely use the black/white motif the whole time. Apparently this group is making a comeback after almost 2 years (as in, an ACTUAL comeback, not just releasing another album and calling it a comeback like other groups). I find the song quite catchy, and may have to check out more music from RAINBOW later. 

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