Stories Travel Information

Morning Walk Thinking About the Quirks of Japan

This morning I woke at 5am and realised that I had not seen a sunrise since I was staying with the Taoist Master in South Korea. So up I got and went for a walk. As you can see above the Dōtonbori canal looks great as the light begins to appear.

I really enjoyed the stroll, but was surprised to see quite a few homeless people sleeping along the pathway. Osaka seems to have alot of people who are homeless. I also noticed quite a few around the entrance to the Zoo when I went for walk one evening.

The first quirk I thought about this morning was the technical toilets they have over here. I remembered this as I sat down to, once again, discover seat was warm. It is quite a disconcerting feeling, one that I will probably only get use to just before I leave the country. The other cool feature is the control panel that each toilet has that enables you to control how powerful the integrated bidet spray is. There are other features too but have not been brave enough to use those yet. Also as a fan multi-functional spaces and furniture I have to say how much I love the fact that most of the toilets have a sink included above the cistern.

There are vending machines everywhere in Japan that mainly sell drinks, including alcoholic ones so you will never go thirsty. Some let the user purchase the drinks using an IC card, which is like an oyster swipe card that can be used for many other purchases other than the subway, like in restaurants and convenience stores.

Whilst on the topic of convenience stores, I have to say that they are everywhere and I mean everywhere. You can have anywhere between 3 to 10 in a one block period. I would say you are never more than 200 meters from a store. There are 5 main chains – Family Mart, 7 – 11, Lawsons, SunKiss and Mini-Stop. And they are convenient, Family Mart for instance has free wifi and generally a toilet which you can use even if you do not purchase something from the shop. They have a microwave which you can use to heat up any ready meal you purchase as well as free boiling water to top up your pot noodles. They really do try and think of everything!

Especially around train station and shopping malls there are lots of lockers for you to leave your bags instead of carrying them around all day. The idea is to make life simpler, which I am a big fan off.

In restaurants and cafes one thing I can’t get use to is that Smoking is allowed, some places have designated areas sealed of to eat, drink and smoke but on the whole there is no smoking ban which I was quite shocked about.

Finally the taxis, I still can’t quite get my head around how dated they look.

By Mark

The areas of life I am most interested in are great design, the golden ratio, minimalism, Pareidolia (faces in everyday objects), micro living and finally I will be searching for remarkable human beings who use the power of their mind to achieve amazing effects.

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