Sunday, 14 October 2012
Last week on the train I witnessed a small incident that reminds me what I love about Japan. A young lady got on the train and sat down, spilling the coffee she was holding all over the floor. She promptly pulled out a pack of wet wipes from her bag and started mopping it up. In itself this is probably not that unusual, although I'm not sure whether this would happen in many other countries, but what happened next though was a perfect illustration of Japanese courtesy and preparedness: an elderly lady sat across the carriage whipped a plastic bag out of her handbag and handed it to the young woman, so she had something to put the soggy tissues in. It was a small gesture, but it was the cherry on top of a scene I can only imagine happening in Japan.
Monday, 16 January 2012
Tuesday, 10 January 2012
As for me, well, I went to Narita Temple, in Chiba. It's quite a way from home, and was freezing cold. The atmosphere is very enjoyable if you wrap up warm. The street is full of temple-goers and vendors serving a variety of food from steaming vats and hot plates. We watched a man slicing up an eel (unagi) before dipping it in a delicious tare sauce and grilling it for our delight. It's cruel, but it's traditional... and who am I to argue with tradition?
And I'm very sorry, but here was the finished article.
Monday, 12 September 2011
Another quote to get you in the mood. This one is from "When You Are Engulfed in Flames" by David Sedaris. In this quote, he marvels at the order and cleanliness of Tokyo.
Windows flanked the moving sidewalks, and on their ledges sat potted flowers. No one had pulled the petals off. No one had thrown trash into the pots or dashed them to the floor. How different life looks when people behave themselves - the windows not barred, the walls not covered with graffiti-repellent paint. And those vending machines, right out in the open, lined up on the sidewalk like people waiting for a bus.
Even with earthquakes, tsunami and nuclear meltdown, Japan stayed cool (too cool, it could be argued). It puts England's riots and general lawlessness of last month into some perspective.