Apr 01: More Random Observations

It’s Monday morning, we’ve just had breakfast, and we’re about to head out for a day of wandering around in Asakusa. Here are some more random thoughts and observations, in no particular order:

  • Tracie read my last posting and pointed out that we didn’t actually take the subway–we took the train. Japan has a subway system, a train system, and a rail system. The distinction between the latter two isn’t readily apparent, and all three share stations to some extent. Yes, it can be confusing.
  • Tracie also says that the name of the station is Hase Station, but that isn’t the name of the area in which the Great Buddha resides.
  • Beverage vending machines are ubiquitous, both in Tokyo and in the smaller areas we’ve visited. You can find one on just about every block, and several near any attraction. They dispense both hot and cold beverages, including soft drinks, beer, coffee, tea, and water. No, I still haven’t tried Pocari Sweat yet.
  • You can’t predict how much English any given person will speak. There doesn’t seem to be much correlation to age or gender, although most people seem to speak at least a little. On the other hand, we haven’t yet had a serious communication-based problem; it’s actually rather remarkable how quickly we’ve been able to do what we need to do with only a few words, hand gestures, and fingers pointed into a guidebook.
  • Japanese kids tend to be so cute that you just want to pick them up and squeeze them. Obviously we refrain from doing so. They also tend to be well-behaved and we have yet to see one pitching a fit in the manner that contemporary American children to do when they don’t get things exactly their way.
  • Engrish is everywhere, particularly on T-shirts. (See Engrish.com if you’re not familiar with the term.)
  • We’ve already started bowing, without any conscious decision to do so. People smile at us when we do it. I’m not sure whether it’s because they’re touched that we’re making the effort or amused by our inept attempts.
  • People smile a lot in general. People also seem remarkably relaxed.

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