OK folks… Here’s what you’ve been waiting for: Heidi’s take on Japan.
I love Japan! It’s clean and safe, the trains and subways run like clockwork, the people are friendly and the food is delicious!
- We’ve been here for almost 2 weeks and have seen 2 homeless people.
- The trains and subways are wonderful. Fast, convenient, and punctual, they are a traveller’s dream. We really do have a lot to learn in North American. Just a bit of trivia … Tokyo’s Shinjuku station handles 3.5 million people a day (yes, that’s the correct number) and has 200 exits.
- No one crosses against the lights or j-walks, but of course we do. We often left a local at the curb.
- People are still allowed to smoke in restaurants. We often returned to our hotel smelling like smoke.
- Japan is earthquake country (as we experienced a couple of nights ago). Every apartment building has a small staircase built into the outside of the building. There are red triangles visible on one or two windows on each floor of buildings higher than 3 stories; they are evacuation areas. Most disconcerting of all was the sign we saw at an intersection in the town of Arashiyama; it read “Evacuation Area for Tourists”. Yikes!
- Did you know that Japan’s washroooms have heated toilet seats? They’re everywhere! I read somewhere that if the Japanese turned off the heating element on the toilet seats, the country could shut down a power plant. In many public washrooms, they only have cold water to wash your hands, but the toilet seats are heated! Not only that, most of these toilets double as a bidet. While I’m not against a stand-alone bidet, my gross meter flew off the scale when I noticed these toilet/bidet hybrids in public washrooms. Yes ladies, you can “refresh” yourself at the airport, shopping mall, local restaurant or even at a temple!
- For some reason, the toilet seats on one of the bullet trains we travelled in were not heated. I guess they need all the electricity to power the locomotive.
- Finally, the Japanese have embraced Christmas in every way imaginable. There are Christmas trees and ornaments are everywhere! The Japanese love consumerism and they have embraced the pomp and pageantry of the season.
We’re having a wonderful time in the wonderful land of the rising sun. It is different from Canada in so many ways, yet I still feel comfortable here.