I’d like to begin the post with Thai cultures I know well. But, it will end up with comparison between Thai and Japanese cultures which I personally don’t like the comparison. I think different countries will definitely have different cultures and people. We have uniqueness in our own ways. However, what we should do is how we learn from them. These are a few things I learn from Japan. It’s totally different from what I’ve seen in my country. Some may say it’s a normal thing but for me, it’s so amazing!
Actually, we’ve heard a lot about interesting things in Japan especially the toilet. We can see the toilets in many public places like the subway stations. Moreover, it comes with the high technology to clean and to give us pleasure with automatic water injection. Some also offer sound option to make a nature sound (raining, bird singing, wind blowing, etc) while we are flushing. Vending machines is another popular topic to talk about because there are so many. I can see them almost every building. It’s not only the soft drink, coffee, and green tea which you can choose to serve hot or cold but it also has some snacks, souvenirs, toys, and alcohols. Here are some more interesting topics I’d like to share.
Japan is well-known for thier coverage railway system. There are so many types of trains designed for different routes and services. Here is some interesting things I find in Japan’s train. Priority seats are possible here. They mostly give their seats to those in need. But, it seems simple because I can see it in Singapore and Thailand, as I could remember. Yes, I see the priority seat sign but I’m not sure that it will work or not. However, ‘the car for women’ is the new thing for me. It’s nice to see all women in one car. It shows the respect for women to get more convenient in taking a train. Of course, I am one of them.
One day, I took a train as normal. The train had arrived at the track. All people got off the train but they didn’t allow the next passengers to get in. I thought they might want to clean the train as we did (in Thailand). Yes, they did. But, it’s more than that, the seats were changed their side! They automatically moved themselves from arrival to departure position. I am not sure whether you will understand my explanation or not, I only know that it’s so cool! So, the next passengers didn’t need to feel dizzy sitting against the train direction.
Next thing I love about the train here is Shinkansen. I didn’t have her experience this time but my feeling for its was the same (so cheesy). It’s fast, comfortable, and beautiful. I was so sad when traveling with Shinkansen was not in my plan. However, it still made me amazed when my train heading back to Osaka (from Kobe) was stopped for no reason. I was wondering because we hadn’t reached the station yet. If this was in Thailand, I had no surprised at all because they always did. Well, next thing I knew was the loud noise and a thing like train moving very fast in the dark beside my window pane. I immediately saw the map and realized that my railway was so close to Shinkansen railway. Now I knew, we needed to stop and let it passed first due to the safety reason. Oh, how cool it was! So privilege!
Normally, there’s so many types of tissue paper for various purposes. In Thailand, I think we don’t take it seriously. We just have a cheap one for a bad quality but save your money, and an expensive one for soft and good quality. However, I could see only one type of tissue/napkin paper for the restaurants. It’s not the soft one but more like paper for oily food. Another type of napkin is the wet one. It’s thick and soft. You need to wipe your hands with this wet napkin before having a meal.
There’s only one type of tissue paper for the restroom as well. It looks like normal tissue paper but thinner. The good thing about it is disposable method. You just need to throw it in that toilet and flush it down. This tissue paper is designed specifically for flushing purpose. No worry for garbage bin, we could save time and people for taking care of this issue.
Japan has the most 7-11 outlets in the world, not to mention Family Mart, Lawson, and so forth. As the result, you can see these stores almost every corner! It’s so good for the backpacker who wants to save money but still want to have some good meals. I knew because I always had breakfast and lunch there. Most of them are affordable and taste very good. But, what I love most about food there is the fresh coffee. It’s so good, I had it every morning while I was there. Anyway, I prefer Family Mart’s. On the top of that, you can find wide range of Japanese foods (fried, steamed, boiled, wrapped, noodle, rice, so many!), snacks, desserts, frozen foods, and fresh ingredients. I feel like the small fridges and local restaurants more than just the convenience stores.
Food is the popular item for convenience store in Thailand as well. It is accounted around 60-70% of all items sold. Right now we can pay bills, buy flight ticket, and do many services like the one stop service. Well, we have fresh coffee as well in 7-11 and I like it because it’s pretty cheap and it tastes quite good (I’m now drinking it while I’m typing this post!). But, You can find more services in Japan. They have postal services and digital copy services too. Well, I do not know exactly about other services they may provide, I just explain what I have seen.
Since convenience stores are the place I usually visit, I could notice another thing when staffs hand me the bag filled with my purchased items. They usually roll the bag handle. So, the two handles of plastic bag are rolled together as one. I have no idea why they do this. It makes me carry this bag easier, I guess. However, this is similar to other stores when you buy a particular product. Staffs usually prepare a delicate, useful, and nice packaging even that product is a cheap or a very expensive product.
When I start talking about convenience stores, the picture of Japanese people come to my mind. I need to interact with the staffs every time I pay for items or ask for a cup of ice coffee latte. My satisfaction level always goes up when they provide a very good service to me even I do not understand. Yes, most of them do not speak English. It is normal when you say ‘I can’t understand Japanese’ but they still reply back in Japanese. However, I could translate the meaning from their smile, tone of voice, and eye contact. They have enthusiasm to provide service and make customers feel good as much as they can, so lovely.
They are so kind to other people. When you are in trouble, especially get lost, they will try their best to explain the direction. Well, they may not speak English but they will try to explain in Japanese and hand language with patience and courtesy. My friends are so afraid of this difficulty. Actually, they don’t need to worry about it because English may not be important than hand language. Yes, I rarely use my English skill in Japan!
Respect to other people is highly important in Japan, you can easily notice it in the train. Beside the priority seat, they are so quite. Sit in the priority seat or make loud noise are hardly seen because they really respect and don’t want to bother other people in the same train. So, you will see them walking with headphone and earphone all the time. Sometimes, it’s also hard to believe that it’s still possible to find the peaceful places among crowded trains or streets. You may feel strange first but you will finally get used to it.
Last but not least, I really enjoy the stay and people I met in the guesthouse. It’s the last 3 days in Osaka, where I decided to try the guesthouse with Japanese hostel style for the first time. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Firstly, the accommodation is so comfy even it’s a shared bathroom, no TV in bedroom, and I need to prepare bed by myself. But, I feel like home because those are exactly the same thing as I have at home. Next thing is the nice people. Staffs and guests are so nice to me. We had a lot of conversation about the previous trips in Japan, what to see in Thailand, where should I go tomorrow, where to shop in Osaka, and so many topics that we could think of. Not only the warm and nice place with budget cost I get but I also have a lot of ideas, inspiration, and deep information by talking with other people from different countries around the world! Well, I only had a chance to speak with Japanese, Taiwanese, Malaysian, Korean, and Dutch which I learnt a lot from them.
There’re still many things to write about Japan. I hope that I could write more if I could stay a bit longer. But, I may need a year to understand and experience Japan cultures in the big picture. Well, the reason why I do it because I love it. I love the cultures and people there. It makes Japan outstanding and fascinating. And, there’re so many people who feel the same way as mine, I’m sure. I could say that it’s the place where I want to come back for more. Once or twice is never enough.