Japan Recap

Some good stuff and some bad stuff – I’m glad to be home.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I’ve been back from Japan for a couple days now, and I haven’t had a good restful sleep yet, so I am clearly jet lagged. I don’t miss Japan; I’m quite happy to be back in the comfort of my own home, not taking trains or deciphering photos of food. But there are some things from Japan I would not mind keeping. Most of them relate to how civilized a culture the Japanese have. And there are some things that the Japanese can totally keep for themselves, most of which relate to some odd rigid formality of their culture.

Look for more details in future posts, but here’s the list for now:

To bring back home:

  • Squat toilets in public
  • Warm towel before a meal
  • Shower before dinner
  • Tea all the time
  • Leaving the check at the table
  • Politely entering trains
  • National religious obsession with cleanliness
  • Lots of public bathrooms
  • Pickles at every meal

To let them keep:

  • No napkins at meals
  • No towels in public bathrooms
  • No trash cans on the streets
  • Cramming in elevators
  • Tourist information centers on high floors of random buildings
  • Bean paste sweets
  • Futons on tatami mats