Watch the Sunday gang in Harajuku

Trip Start Aug 07, 2007
1
6
16
Trip End Dec 22, 2007


Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines
shadow

Flag of Japan  ,
Monday, August 20, 2007

It's my last night in Japan: so, what lessons have we learned in the last couple of weeks?

1. FIRST AND FOREMOST, JAPANESE TOILETS ARE AMAZING

Rarely, if ever, has a society invested so much time and resources in bathroom-related technology. As ever, though, the best ideas are the simplest, and my absolute favourite thing about Japan is the toilets have a little sink in the top of the cistern so you can wash your hands in the flush. We should get these in Britain forthwith.

2. JAPANESE SOCIAL MORES ARE BAFFLING

As I discovered when I made the fatal mistake of sipping delicately from a bottle of fruit juice on a train.

HAGGIS: That's a massive cultural faux-pas!
ME: But I saw Japanese people drinking on a train the other day!
H: Which train?
M: The one from Tokyo.
H: Ah; the Shinkansen. That's different...

At one bar I went into, they made me put my bag into another bag. Why? Christ knows. I didn't like to ask.

3. JAPANESE PEOPLE ARE AMONG THE NICEST IN THE WORLD

Even in a big city like Tokyo. By way of illustration, last night somebody gave me some watermelon.

4. AUGUST IS HOT

Everyone who lives in Japan looked at me like I was a crazy person for visiting in the height of summer. They may have had a point. Still, made a change after July in London.

5. JAPAN IS A GOOD PLACE TO GO FOR A DRINK

This surprised me.

6. THE LANGUAGE IS INTIMIDATINGLY DIFFICULT

Apparently they have a slightly different numbering system for counting cylindrical objects. That fact is enough to put me off trying to learn Japanese ever.

7. VEGETARIANISM IS TRICKY

From what I can gather, Japan invented vegetarianism, then forgot about it forever. Hurrah for Thailand, India and Mexico. And hurrah for Japanese Subway and their avocado sandwich.

8. JAPAN ISN'T AS EXPENSIVE AS EVERYONE THINKS

Eating out is cheaper if anything. Although for the first few days I kept trying to hand over hundreds of pounds to pay for a round of drinks.

9. IT'S A GOOD PLACE TO BE A TOURIST

There are Japanese tourists everywhere (during Obon, anyway), so you don't feel too conspicuous trudging round with a rucksack photographing things. Although oddly there aren't very many Western tourists at all. There's a gap in the market there.

10. I AM LIKE DAVID BECKHAM

I am, according to the lovely but crazy people of Tokyo, like David Beckham. How, I do not know. Maybe they just meant I'm a little bit dim.

Anyway, that's enough about Japan.
Slideshow Report as Spam

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: