Thursday, January 15, 2009

Top 10 Things I Love about Japan

I promise this will be my last post about Japan. I just can't help my enthusiasm after such a great trip there last year. My next two posts will be Congressional and Cypress Point!

The top ten things I love about Japan:

1. The taxi drivers wear a coat and tie and white gloves.

2. Japanese people are genuinely service oriented. Upon arrival at your hotel, the staff comes out and bows to you. If a staff member is nearby as you are getting into or out of an elevator, they will bow to you. Even employees and security agents at Narita airport, one of the busiest in the world, manage to more things along quickly an with respect and a service orientation.

3. The toilets have a button to push which creates a simulated 'courtesy flush' without wasting any water. Not only is it a 'green' thing to do, it's also brilliant. The Japanese fascination with technology and gadgets and something that distinguishes them in the world and only here could you have musical toilet seats.

4. There is no tipping anywhere in the country. Not in taxis, hotels or restaurants. The baristas at your local Starbucks don't have a tip cup out asking for money. It makes life much simpler.

5. The picture of the 1,000 yen note (roughly a $10 bill) features Noguchi Hideyo, was a prominent Japanese bacteriologist who discovered the agent of syphilis disease in 1911.

6. People don't abuse cellphones, assuming that the person on the other end of the phone is deaf. In the week I spent in Japan, I only overheard one person speaking in a loud voice on a cell phone.

7. The average Japanese has 70 cents in credit card debt. The average American has $2,607. We can learn a lot from the Japanese about living within your means.

8. The Imperial Palace sits in the middle of Tokyo and is surrounded by high stone walls and a moat.

9. Narita Airport. Although one of the busiest airports in the world, they treat you like a human being instead of a cow. Going through security is ten minutes, max. Four levels of shops and entertainment including good food, an observation deck on top of the terminal building so you can watch takeoffs and landings. You can get a haircut at Narita 365 days a year. You can rent a baby carriage. It has a medical clinic, pet hotel, playrooms, showers, a post office and a location where you can get a massage.

10. Geisha Girls

The Punjab and the Geisha

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