More things to love about Japan
I'm not actually in Japan anymore. But there are a couple more things about Japan that I liked so much, I just need to get them out here on the internet. I promise I'll get to Dubai next.
The vending machine lifestyle
One thing you have to love about Japan is how efficient and convenient everything is. Vending machines are the embodiment of this – and they are everywhere. Want a metal can of coffee as you're wandering through an empty alley? You can. There's inexplicably a shiny, fully stocked vending machine there.
There are vending machines that sell just about anything in Japan. Even a lot of restaurants will have you order on a vending machine. Put the coins in the machine. A couple minutes later, a chef will hand you a delicious bowl of ramen noodles. Now that's the vending machine lifestyle.
Japanese people love using English. They don't always get it quite right though...
There are cute cartoons everywhere in Japan: fancy restaurants, public transportation, law firms, warning signs.
Even the Okayama government rallies behind a cartoon. His name is Momotaro, the Peach Boy. He was born from a peach, which is the pride fruit of Okayama. He used bits of kibi dango rice candy, another Okayama speciality, to befriend a pheasant, a talking dog, and a man monkey. Then, the four of them went out to fight demons and save Japan.
The city loves these guys. Momotaro and his rag tag band of animal demon fighters are depicted everywhere. The city's soccer team is named after the pheasant. You'll even find them on the manhole covers:
Unlike in America, Japan hasn't seemed to have come to a consensus on a standard toilet. This makes things sort of interesting. Whenever you walk into a bathroom in Japan, you're never quite sure what you're going to get.
Occasionally, you'll find what I like to call, Mr. Squatters:
Yep, you've got to squat. This idea tends makes Americans like myself a little bit uncomfortable. It's an American ideal that the toilet should be a place of rest, not a place where you have to hold a body weight squat while you try and rush your business because your legs are getting tired.
Other times, you'll get one of the most high tech pieces toilet technology you've ever seen. You sit down. You're happy. Why? The seat is heated to a comfortable 78 degrees. You lounge. Maybe you read some Japanese tabloids. There's no rush. You finish. Now you're in for the best part. You've got some options:
The coolest Americans in Japan
Finally, I want to give one last shout out to Brian and Jessica. They're probably the coolest Americans in Japan. Definitely in the top 10. They were amazing hosts as well. I'll never forget raging out to Metallica with Brian and a group of Japanese high schoolers on the 7th floor of a karaoke skyscraper.
Next up: Dubai,