Daibutsu, Kamakura

Daibutsu, Kamakura
Daibutsu in Kamakura, June 2010. There were thousands of school kids visiting that day. It was still great fun.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Some cool and not-so-cool things from my recent trip to Japan

Cool

The Yaki-udon I had at a restaurant in Nikko. It was delicious. Fat, flat udon noodles, cabbage, muchrooms and other stuff on a hot skittle from a restaurant on a side street in Nikko next to the train tracks. The place was empty when we got there at about 11:30 but by 12:15 it was packed with people. They had other delicious hot skittle dishes such as a cheesy rice dish.

Not-so-cool

A little car stuck in a ditch on the side of the road. I always wondered how the narrow Japanese streets can have ditches right next to the street. In the US, people would be driving into these all the time. I thought that Japanese drivers must be extra careful. But just outside Utsunomiya, there was a lady sitting in her tiny car which was stuck in a ditch on the side of the road.

Cool

Revolving sushi. I went to a revolving sushi in Utsunomiya which I had also been to in 2006. Delicious. What was cool is that the plates have transmitters on the bottom and the waitress just had to hold her reader over the plates to add up the price. Cool. At the revolving sushi in Los Anegeles they do it the old fashioned way, they count the plates. Boring.

Not-so-cool

Seeing the blue tarped homeless tents along the Edogawa on the way to Narita.

Cool

The American 80s music they play at all the Flying Garden restaurants.

Not-so-cool

Cold Japanese houses. But what is cool are the heated toilets seats.

Not really cool but interesting

Two girls dressed as maids coming from the JR Utsunomiya Station. I was surprised to see this in Utsunomiya.

Cool

The button at the table at some restaurants that rings a bell to call the waiter or waitress when you need something.

Not-so-cool

No matter how many times I have been to Japan there are always one or two times I smack my head on a low doorway. I did it again.

Cool

The polite welcomes and service at stores and restaurants. The clean streets. The cool small cars like the Nissan Cube. The Jizo statues next to the road near Otawara. And many other things.

15 comments:

  1. Yeah, those road side ditches, especially in the countryside, are real hazards.

    It took me about a week to get used to driving in the U.S. again after 6 years of occasional driving in Japan.

    I quickly realized how much friendly Americans are too each other out in public, and how totally cold and rude Japanese are to in each other.

    Walk into a convenience store in Japan however, and you'll be greeted warmly, but not so in the U.S.

    For me though it's more important for someone to hold the door open for me instead of letting it slam in my face, so glad to be back stateside.

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  2. Yeah, you always have to watch your head. That's really annoying.

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  3. Jason, you're right. Japanese are very polite in some ways but others they are not such as not giving up their train seat for an elderly person or pregnant women.

    Sixmats, I have been to Japan 6 times for a total of several months and I still always forget to lower my head sometimes.

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  4. The irrigation ditches are all over Japan. I've yet to see a car drive into one but nice to know it happens. Not sure if the Japanese are that much different out than Americans. I did see a fender bender my last time over. What a surprise that was to observe.

    I find Japanese drivers extremely polite and accommodating, as opposed to American drivers. I have found a good mix of polite and not so polite Japanese. I figure people are people wherever you are.

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  5. Tony, I agree people are people wherever they are. But I still feel that when I return to America, I am depressed by how rude or selfish or careless people are here. I see everyone in Japan (at least in Tochigi) driving relatively safely but then I come home and people are swerving in and out of lanes, going 60 mph down a 35 mph street, going through read lights, giving people the middle finger, etc. It is one of the reasons I miss Japan.

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  6. I agree with your statement about how depressing and rude people are here vs. Japan. There may be hustle and crowds in Japan but they are never rude and always polite. I think shopping is a good example. Americans are downright rude and mean.

    What I miss most is the love and kindness given by the Japanese to those who they take into their lives. It is unconditional and sincere. Even when I meet members of my wife's family I've never met before, there is no awkwardness, they accept me with no questions.

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  7. It is exactly the same with my wife's family as well from the very first day I met them.

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  8. Have you ever been to Osaka? The drivers there are more American-like.

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  9. I have not been there yet. So they are bad drivers, eh?

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  10. hmm. overall, you seemed to have a great time. Zannen! An eyeball with you would have been great.

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  11. I always enjoy visiting Japan. This trip was really just visiting family so no pictures.

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  12. o&b's mama2:31 PM

    you need to bring a helmet nex time :)

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  13. Japanese roads are so narrow that it's inevitable people are gonna get there wheels stuck down those ditches.

    When I first arrived I remember being asked to help try to lift a car out a ditch...We only managed to move it slightly scraping the bottom of the car along the ground and probably damaging it even more!

    Driving in Japan has made be a better driver...I think. So far I've managed to stay out the ditches!

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  14. I think most Americans should spend some time driving the Japanese roads. Maybe then they will be better drivers.

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