Saturday, April 7, 2007

Interesting Japanese Things

FAKE FOOD: You may know that Japan is famous for its fake food! Nearly every restaurant has a display, which makes it easy for foreigners to order. I went to a fake-food (called "sample") store today- very realistic! (pictured above)

WAITING: Everyone seems to wait for everything. We waited about an hour to eat at a famous
donburi (rice with toppings) restaurant. Then we waited for maybe 30 minutes to buy some Japanese sweets to take home!

FOOD: cakes, ice cream, and other "sweets" are not really that sweet here (to suit Japanese taste). And the Indian food isn't spicy!

SHOES: some traditional restaurants make you take off your shoes. There is even a "shoe-guy", much like a coat check at the opera.

KIMONO/PURSE: many women wear kimono on Saturday. They do not carry a purse, because they can stick everything in their sash (obi)! I saw many cell phones stashed in obi!

SHINTO VS. BUDHISM: Shinto shrines are called "jinja" 神社 and Buddhist shrines are called o-tera (the "o" is honorific) お寺. At Buddhist shrines, merely clasp hands like praying and bow. At the Shinto shrines, two claps are involved (I don't remember the order exactly).

HANDWARMERS ON BIKES: On bicycles and motorcycles, you will see handwarmers attached to the handlebars. They look like muffs, but the hands are separate, and of course it is stuck to the bike.

BYOT: Bring your own towel. Public restrooms have no towels and no air driers.

GROCERY DELIVERY: Since very few Tokyo-ites (I made that word up) own cars, there is a grocery delivery system. Much like the Swan Man, you order veggies, meats etc. and they are delivered to your door in coolers. My family has a delivery every week.

ESCALATORS BEWARE: Mom might have difficulty in Tokyo-- there are escalators everywhere! Sometimes you don't even know one is coming until you are pushed onto it by the crowd!

TRAIN FARE CALCULATION: with Suica (the debit card of the train system) you do not have to worry about the train fare. You swipe when you enter and exit a train line, and it automatically records and debits the amount, depending on where you started and ended. So, if you happen to get lost (like me), it doesn't really cost extra if you stay inside the subway. You only pay for where you get off.

LACE UP AND ZIP DOWN: Many shoes here are both zip up and laced. These shoes look like normal leather lace up shoes, but they have a small zipper, about 2.5 inches long, down the side that I presume is for easy removal when you enter someone's home.


sporter said...

Tammy, I loved the signs!!!! I am so sorry that your birthday was kind of soggy! I can imagine your frustration but it had a happy ending, That is good. Your adventures are SOOOO interesting! If you can keep writing while you are studying that would be great but studies first!!! What a great way to journal.

We miss you but thrilled that you are learning and having fun!

Love, A. Sharon

costumerie said...

Bike hand warmers.. omg.. heaven.