* There are no trash cans in public spaces AND there is never any litter. * In a month traveling around Japan, I never heard a horn honk or someone raise their voice.
* People don’t cross the street without a walk sign-ever. Even if there are no cars anywhere nearby.
* Lots of food is eaten raw (that is typically cooked in US) is eggs in soup (read slimy soup) or raw egg whites on cucumbers or sushi, well duh, but raw squid?, they cut it when it is still alive to improve the texture (it was actually pretty good). In Takayama they serve thinly sliced beef as sushi.
* People are incredibly accommodating. One restaurant moved someone mid-meal to accommodate us and the diners did not seem to care.
* Lots and lots of bikes, with bike parking lots everywhere
* Markets of full of so many interesting items ie squid with a hard boiled quail egg inside to make it look like an octopus, deep friend sparrows on a stick, live squid in tanks that is cut into sushi while it is still alive!
* Matcha soft serve can be found everywhere
* It is the most predictable and orderly place I’ve ever traveled. I think because people take the rules/norms seriously and adhere to them.
* Pillows have 2 sides. The first side is straw/beads and the other side is down/feather. I did not realize this the first night in Japan and was perplexed at their uncomfortable pillows!
* There are textured tiles all over the sidewalks in big cities and small towns alike. They are to aid visually impaired people. The raised lines on the sidewalks turn into raised dots near an intersection. There are also musical tones that start with a green walk sign (varies from city to city).
* They don’t typically use napkins at restaurants. The Japanese are very neat eaters (Gage’s manners improved considerably in Japan-score!).
* There are bathrooms everywhere and they were always clean and most often equipped with a Toto toilet with a warmed seat, bidet etc (see Parallel Posting for more details).
* Subways and trains are very efficient, clean and and timely. Trains in Tokyo were color coded complete with (clean) velvet upholstery corresponding to the color of the train. People typically don’t eat on the trains, talk on their phones or listen to music (loud music emanating from someone’s earphones is my subway pet peeve).
* They play bad Christmas music everywhere, non-stop just like the US.
There is so much more that I know will come to me, especially as I contrast Japan to Bangkok, where we just landed!