What I'm thinking, where I've been, where I'm going and other random events

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Things I have noticed while in Japan:

I can`t speak Japanese. But while I still feel I belong in other Asian countries I`ve been too, I feel a bit more like an alien in Japan. Some say I look Japanese, but I may as well be a blonde haired, blue eyed Australian.

Fruit is very expensive. Japanese have a big thing about rockmelons. Although they call it something else here (name of which I can`t remember). One rockmelon now, can cost in excess of 10 thousand yen - which is approximately AUD$120! However I don`t know whether they GE their fruit, but the rockmelons could be display ornaments - they are perfectly round, with perfectly formed patterns on their outside. The fruit shops in Japan are almost like boutique stores, displaying fruits like rare and precious items.

I`m slowly starting to appreciate the train system. There are several different independent train companies in Japan (go privatisation!) which results in an absolute mess and tangle of railway lines. I`m amazed someone worked out how to present it logically on a map. But the benefit of all that is trains run every 5 minutes, are always clean, and are always on time. And you can basically get from anywhere to anywhere in the city by train, at a cost of about 200 yen per trip. I haven`t had to take a trip that crosses different train lines yet, so I have to found out how to buy tickets for that adventure.

Everythings comes in small packages in Japan. From tiny Udon, Ramen and other Japanese cuisine diners you find everywhere on the streets. These restaurants are so small you have to hold your breath to walk in. Then there are the tiny apartments that people live in. Speaking to people I work with, they live in apartments big enough for a single bed, and pretty much not much more - no table, no closet, nothing. That may seem unbearably claustrophobic to us, but that is the typical standard of living in Tokyo I think.


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