Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My first impressions of Japan

Hey man. Japan is so awesome. It's so much cleaner then America! For example, the subway stations have so much less trash then in America. If you look on the floor you won't see any spit stains or beer cans. Hold on I've got to take a call. Hello? No. Wait, why. Um. Just get me the club sandwich. What do you mean they don't have them?! ARGH! Oh well. Just get me whatever you're getting. No, I'm not even going to eat it. Never mind. Alright, see you. Ok, what were we talking about? Oh right, Japan’s cleanliness. It's good. Wouldn`t you want to travel to Japan if you could?

There are a lot of vending machines here in Japan. So many I think that if you got them all together you couldn’t fill up the Grand Canyon. They sell everything from water, Pocari sweat, canned coffee, soda, and at least 10 kinds of tea. Prices are usually 120 yen to 150 yen which is about $1.20 and $1.50. It's summer time right now so the drinks are cold, but I heard in the winter time the drinks are served hot from the same exact machines.

Driving on the opposite side of the road is very disorienting being from America where we drive on the right side of the road, in a S.U.V, cranking up the music. As far as I can tell, there is no road rage – in Japan everybody drives smoothly. Sitting in the passenger seat feels like sitting in a capsule, not because it's secluded, but because that's where I'm used to the steering wheel being. The roads are a lot more narrow then in the U.S. (presumably to save space).

I have seen more advertising here in one week then I have in one year of my life. Advertising is everywhere here. Almost every inch of the cabin inside the train has some form of advertising. The sneaky ad agencies have even snuck ads under my hand on the escalator. They’re on the steps, the columns, store windows, and even on the sides of trucks. Now that I can read katakana, I can read the ads. They are ads for things you’d expect: ads for shows, bargain sales, department stores, food, baby items, baseball teams, and little burgers with holes in the center -- meat donuts, I guess. These commercials are in the form of banners, stickers, posters, and people in suits. Most ads have some English on them.

Right now in Japan it's the rainy season and it has rained every day that I've been here. Some days it’s not much but it's still rain. During the day it can get very hot, very very very hot. Added to the heat is humidity which makes it even hotter. It may be 86 degrees out but it feels like 96. I don’t know if it gets cooler up in the mountains but I hope so. It's not all that bad –during the morning, evening, and night, it gets cool and comfortable.

Walking around is just so cool-- it gives you ideas for everything. Example: There are bullet trains in Japan. But there aren’t any bullet elevators here, and that makes me cry, because that would be the greatest idea, ever. It would top aerosol cans. It would be EXTREMELY handy for the tallest buildings, like the Empire state building and the Chrysler. Someone with the cash to do this should contact me, so we can get to work on the idea right away.

Next post, coming soon: my second impressions of Japan, like about people. N stuff.


  1. Hey, Bing! Excellent post - keep the info coming. I am an 'armchair traveler', so am living vicariously through your adventures. :)

  2. Hey, Bing.

    Norm here. Interesting stuff, though I am curious where in the US you have been that has a subway system so I can know what form the basis of your comparison to the Japanese subways. Also, do you feel that you stick out like a sore thumb there? One thing I always hear about Japan is that there is very little diversity. Finally, what part of Japan are you in right now, and what other parts are you planning to visit? Glad you're having a great time.

  3. One of my great pleasures in Japan was buying a nice hot can of coffee in a vending machine. A vending machine sitting unmolested on a quiet lonely street corner down the street from my spartan accomodations in an off season dorm room.

  4. Hey Bing, hello from the West Coast . . . it is GREAT to see pictures of you. My first impression? A duplicate of Mike & Mary, both, if you can imagine that, with darker eyes. When did your hair get so curly? You look FABULOUS and I'm so proud of you. You are superbly literate, a good writer, and it appears you have been studying Japanese & can speak/write? Daine really wants to go to Japan and we talk about it a lot, because Bob played music gigs there in the 80s - has lots of photos and had a GREAT time there. He is always regaling us with stories of the people he met there and his experiences. I will make sure to forward your blog to both Bob & Daine. Also, he developed lifelong friends there - just a month ago, we had the son of one of his friends stay with us for a week. Again, you look AWESOME and I am very proud to be your aunt, and really enjoying your blog. Love, Nancy

  5. Hi, Bing
    Thanks for the blog. I'm glad you're enjoying Japan and appreciate your blog. You're a good writer, man. Don't feel bad that Nancy says you look like me; Grandma Jeanette used to call your Dad "Mary" sometimes and used to call me "Mike" sometimes. Have you met any kids your age? I guess I can start calling you "Uncle Bing" now. Congrats. Don't you think your Dad is probably too young to be a Grandpa? If I can, I'll get Grandpa to look at the pictures at least on your blog. He's doing okay. George is here in Hallock, too, and is re-shingling the front part of the roof.
    Love you, Mary

  6. You are so cool! I didn't even know you were in Japan. How dare you leave the country and not tell me. You are in big trouble, mister. Don't even dare come back in country. Which it doesn't even sound like you want to do, so I change my mind, get back here fast. Because you don't want to. Will they let you bring sushi on the plane? I WANT SOME SUSHI!! Nice blogging. Must be inherited. Later, you lucky peanut. Anna

  7. Well, here I am again. I read Anna's blog and am reminded of how much I like her sense of humor. What's new now, Bing? Are you still in Japan, and for how long will you be staying? If you bring some sushi for Anna, make sure you remind her that, as a nurse, she MUST be educated on the dangers of day-old sushi. Ha ha. I wish I were there with you, we could have some fun. Are we still on track with our usual grade-school topics of conversation, which shall remain un-named on this blog, or have you outgrown me now that yu are teenager? I have wilfully regressed and am loving every minute of it, although it is embarassing to your Cuz Daine. Much love, Auntie Nancy

  8. Hey, listen everybody! Bing may be stuck in Japan! PayPal donation for his return is on the right. All the Japanese college students want him to stay and they are threatening to charge ransom.

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  11. Cool! I like the combination of donut and hamburger I think it is so yummy.