My Travel

Tokyo: Newbie Impressions

The toilets talk. It’s a wee bit unnerving. No (British) pun intended. OK, they don’t actually talk, at least I haven’t, er, experienced anything like that yet. But they are always warm. Some of them make a noise when you, er, get very close. Others lift the lid up by themselves when you enter and the panel of buttons next to the seat is intimidating at first glance, but the most important one is usually illustrated unmistakably or simply helpfully labeled with FLUSH in English.

There was one fantastic toilet I didn’t want to leave for a while, because there were paper cups by the sink and little packages of what turned out to be self-toothpasting toothbrushes. You hold them under running water and voila.

When shopping, cash is put in a small tray placed in front of you for that purpose, and if you miss this step and hand it over to the cashier, you apologize, because that is not how things are done around here, and since the cashier is thanking you so graciously you feel horribly disrespectful. Your change, though, is given back to you by hand, but I can’t help wondering if that is happening because of my aforementioned blunder.

Little towels soaked in warm water await on tables in almost all the cafes we’ve been to so far, and it’s very refreshing after a lot of walking in the city. Most containers on the tables will include a sauce for food, even if said container looks like a teapot to you and you accidentally ruin your sister’s green tea by wanting to be helpful and pouring in to her cup from said container.

Almost everyone, and that’s a seemingly constant stream of a great many people, walk on the left. Navigating becomes a habit, and even if you do err to the right, locals will politely skirt around you, giving you breathing space to step back to where you belong.

Even if your waitress only speaks Japanese and you, unfortunately, don’t, she will stay until she has made absolutely sure that she has understood your order correctly, even if you start repeating “OK” like a parrot just so as not to feel like an idiot and let her do her job. Her attentiveness will cause blushing and feelings of subsequent gratitude in your soul.

Locals also like to stop and watch traditional Japanese weddings and film them with their (considerably more advanced than mine) mobile devices. No pushing or yelling.

If you go inside a jewelry shop like Osemawa in the Harajuku district and open your mouth at the sheer amount of earrings on offer, after a closer look you will see a sign reading “FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT HAVE PIERCED HOLE”.

There are people everywhere and most of them look happy and industrious.

And I want to take pictures of practically every sign, poster or ad, because I can’t read them, but each letter is so intricate that it all looks like a work of art.




One thought on “Tokyo: Newbie Impressions

  1. Pingback: What to Wear #33: Short(s)-Listed | Writsomnia


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