Hello again boys n’ girls, it’s time for your daily dose of Japan! But rather than taking my usual path of “first I explored here, then I explored there” I’m going to summarize just a few of the highlights of my week. Even when I don’t have time to take an entire day and trek out to an unexplored area, I like to try to see something new each and every day. This is not nearly as hard as you might think. In fact, it’s almost impossible not to. Which is a good thing, because the deal I made with myself is “I’ll only take a study break until I find something I’ve never seen before.” It usually takes about twelve and a half seconds.
Let me illustrate with a few examples.
Day #1: A Hardware store. These are the types of things that you get to see when you actually live somewhere and aren’t just visiting. Actually, wandering around this store almost made me feel like I was back home – usually clothing stores, malls, and of course supermarkets have a distinctly Japanese feel – there’s no doubt that you’re in another country. But how many different types of light bulbs, doorknobs, and toilets can there really be?
Well, just let me tell you.
Here is Exhibit A, an $800 toilet seat with a wireless remote control. You know, for when you’re using the toilet from…across the room…and need to…um…adjust the seat warmth…for…the…air?
Note: It gets worse. “In 2002, Toto launched the Neorest 600, its $5,000 high tech flagship. With a 16-bit processor and 512 Kbytes of RAM under the hood, the Neorest’s seat can be raised by wireless remote. And when the seat is up, the toilet assumes it can save water with a smaller flush. The Neorest is tankless, using clever valves and the pressure of the main household line to clear the bowl. If you’re doing your business while seated, it morphs Transformer-style into an advanced bidet, offering a gentle front-and-back aerated warm water spray, catalytic deodorizer, and a hot air dryer.”
What an age we live in.
Day #2: Can it be true? There are women giving away FREE BEER in a TRAIN STATION on a Sunday afternoon? I guess it’s time for my daily prayer:
Thank you for Japan
Day #3: Speaking of daily prayer, does this count as a new and unique sight?
Day #4: I’m sure most of you have heard the horror stories of Japanese people and their rules. Well let me tell you, every bit of it is true. They are RULE HAPPY here like you wouldn’t believe. I’ll talk more about that another time, but I just wanted to provide a bit of insight as to why this picture is interesting. The ONE exception, the ONE time that Japanese people ALL break rules without thinking twice is bike parking. It literally seems like they line up to park by these “no bike parking” signs. “Bwahahahaha, we’re rebels! Rebels without causes! We live on the edge!” they all seem to think.
Day #5: Speaking of horror stories, this one will scare your pants off. Quite literally.
You know those urban legends that go around, but are far too ridiculous to be taken seriously?
Never underestimate Japan, my friends.
This is a real-life vending machine with used girl’s panties, and the name on the machine is “Interesting 16.” I’ve heard the stories, but never met anyone who’s actually seen one. Not even my friend who lived here in Kyoto for a year. I guess I got to be the lucky first.
Day #6: OK, OK…I can’t let a whole post go by without throwing in at least ONE “The Beauty of Japan”-style picture; after all, that really is what I see more than anything here in Kyoto. Just like each of today’s pictures, I found this place by complete accident. Roaming the alleys here is much more rewarding than doing so in LA. Especially certain parts of LA.
Don’t go away, we’ll be right back with some Plum Blossoms right after these messages.