[Warning! This is a long post!]
Recently I took a little vacation and went to Japan with my sister and brother to attend our friend's wedding. However, I have a few fantastic friends here (from Aetolia) that followed me through the places I visited (on discord) and were incredibly insightful and altogether hilarious to talk to. One of them, @Alexsandor
, suggested I share the pictures here.
Before I do that though, I need to thank one particularly special friend and his esteemed statue that will (hopefully) forever watch over the Duiran bridge (I -just- had to make a new statue and left it at the bridge, will decorate it later!). I don't think he will be offended when I call him an epic Japanese nerd. Aside from the itinerary my sister and I made he gave me a spreadsheet that covered so many tourist attractions all over the country, and it was even organized by subway station stops! I hope one day you get to go on your trip
Whenever I do new cultural explorations like this, I love to take pictures and make a scrapbook when I get home. So that's what I'm sharing.
We first landed in Tokyo, went to a small town close to Mt. Fuji so we can spend the night there and get nice morning pictures of it, and freeze our butts off! Then we went to Kyoto and spent the rest of the vacation there until it was wedding time.
As soon as you enter the airport, you're greeted with a few blocks that introduce you to the trade skills at the heart of the country and example blocks of them. You might need to zoom in to read that! I only took pictures of these two.
Since my siblings and I were flying in from different places, we landed at different times. So I went to grab food on the way to the hostel. I quickly learned that a lot of shop doors have these push buttons. It's polite to wait for the door to slide all the way open before entering and exiting too.
The idea of having sugar in your tea is not really offensive or even insulting but just frowned upon. You're changing the flavor and not appreciating the natural taste and benefits of it so you'll seldomly find it in places unless you ask for it specifically.
I have to say that the first really big surprise was getting at the currency exchange and getting the first bill to pay. It takes a while to settle with that amount of cash and its value.
Everywhere there is a sidewalk or a place for pedestrians to walk there is a divider that delineates the flow of traffic, people usually walk on either side of the divider. It took me a moment to get with the system because I'm the type of person who still enjoys walking on stuff like crushing autumn leaves, sidewalk dividers, etc.
Same thing on the escelators. You are expected to stand to one side so that people who want to climb/walk up faster can use the other side. Same with stairs too, you walk up one side of the stairs and the otherside is for people going the opposite direction. This is just understood everywhere and practiced!
In some places you see little symbols like this that tell you what direction the water will flow if/when it rains so you know where to walk and bike. I initially thought this was a compass and went to pick it up, then I thought it was pointing directions because I first spotted it at a bus stop but I saw more that were just little tiles in the ground so I asked someone randomly and got a nice full explanation!
(Sorry about the quality, you'll have to zoom in! I just downloaded all this off my phone and posted, no energy to crop anything.)
Most of the shops put up signs depending on the neighborhood. They're usually signs reminding you not to eat and walk. This is another cultural law because you will most likely either drop your food or bump into someone but more importantly, you're not respecting your food!
Some shops offer different "sets" of food, which are just different combos or arranged meals. This shouldn't have surprised me as much as it did considering everything else but, in a way, it's considerate.
Signing your name on contracts or important documents isn't good enough, you still need to use your seal/stamp. So people can get their very own customized seals and ink pads and there's such a large variet of bags to carry your seal in, for both men and women!
I think this is good enough for the first post!
I have a few more pictures to share in a second post.