When I was in Japan, I found many things strange and other things quite surprisingly in their normality. I did find strange how little English was used there and how hard it was to find someone who spoke it. However, qualifying this as strange would be a bit presumptuous of me, since I don’t speak Japanese. I just expected a country that is so prominent on the global scene to be more geared toward English.
As with most countries, the list of strange things could go on forever. Yet, I have restricted this to the ones I witnessed most often.
1. High-Tech Bathrooms
You know you are in a strange land when you need a user manual to use the toilet (not to install it, just to use it). I have needed explanations before with some really rudimentary installations, but not the other way around. This being said, there was something nice about heating seats and self cleaning toilets. We might just import our next one from Japan.
2. The Vanilla Truck
This one made J laugh so much upon hearing it and, for the week that followed, I was treated to an interpretation that managed to be both high-pitched and hoarse. It was some sort of truck that drove down around Shibuya with speakers screaming a song worthy of Dance Dance Revolution, which only discernible lyrics sounded like “Vanilla, Vanilla!” From what I remember the truck looked somewhat like the one below, but not quite.
3. Beer at movie theaters
Well, I suppose for some this won’t come as a surprise, but with Canadian drinking laws being what they are, I am always surprised when people drink in the street. With travel, I have gotten used to it more, but I was still taken aback when beer was offered in movie theaters.
4. Umbrella Lockers
Well, this was actually pretty cool. Imagine walking in a place with your wet umbrella and being able to leave it to dry at the entrance in a locker designed just for this very purpose. Forget the trail of water behind you after a storm and forget about someone making a run with it.
5. Vending machine
I was surprised at the number of vending machines we could spot in a day as well as their locations, all the way into small alleyways. Their varied content was a sight in itself, behold here the hard earned sweat of a pocari (everytime I saw this, I couldn’t help but imagine a Pokemon specie called pocari).
6. Bonus Picture that Speaks for Itself
7. Bonus Video
I saw this video for the first time when Y chose it at the karaoke and gave a pretty good interpretation of it. The fashion choices here are qualified as Visual Kei. Judge for yourself!