Monday 18 August 2014

24 hours in Tokyo

Customs I've learnt:
- never put your bag on the floor: use a table, chair, hook or specially provided basket
- place money on the dish provided, not into the vendor's hand
- stand on the left on the escalator
- a nodding bow is good, but if you bow more then you might end up in a over-bowing situation where people keep bowing lower and lower
- you generally stand by the door of a restaurant (don't walk in the door unless you can't get the waiter's attention), then end up sat in a queue on a chair or stool outside until there is a table ready for you
- don't eat or drink outside/on the move (including on the train), it is acceptable if you are sat on a bench

Other observations:
- people who speak English can be found in the oddest of places: a chef who named every type of fish in English (more than 20 types) and the American girl working in a Japanese cafe with amazing cakes
- the pedestrian crossings and train stations often play jingles or even whole songs to signify different events (e.g. train approaching)
- instructions are very clear (which door to use, which side of the stairs to walk, cycle lanes on pavements, etc) and are often laminated sheets stuck up
- due to the no eating whilst walking "rule" there are almost no litter bins on the streets
- most people seem to be really quiet most of the time, unless their job requires them to be noisy (e.g. greeting customers at a restaurant)

Things I have done that were scary or unusual:
- rode on a roller coaster (my first big roller coaster - can't say it's my favourite activity, but I did it!)
- eaten abalone, roe, sea urchin (two types!) and eel. The eel was quite tasty!

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