Hello friends! Can you believe it’s my 100th Thinking Out Loud post? It actually might be even more than that because sometimes I lose count and sometimes I name it something different and it doesn’t count. But regardless it’s a big one.
Tom and I made it safely to Japan, our first stop on our world trip. 23 hours made for a very long journey. Although I slept decently on the plane I was still exhausted when we arrived. By some stroke of luck our room was ready when we arrived at our hotel at 6 a.m and so we were able to get in a couple hours nap time before heading out for the day.
I thought for my Thinking Out Loud post, I would share my first impressions/things I’ve noticed in Tokyo during my first two days.
1. Masks are prominent
I’ve seen people in Canada wear surgical masks on occasion but in Japan, I’d say about 1/3 of the people on the street are wearing them. To be honest, I don’t yet know the reason behind it. I don’t know if those people are sick and are trying to be polite and not spread it or perhaps they are afraid of others getting them sick. Or maybe it has nothing to do with being sick. I will definitely find out before my time here is over.
2. The people are serious about staying to the left
Traffic and therefore foot traffic is on the left-hand side of the road. This is taken seriously in Japan. In the metro stations there are arrows pointing which way you should walk. People are also really good about standing left on the escalators and allowing those who want to walk to go on the right.
3. People dress really nice
In my head I imagined outlandish fashion and hello kitty backpacks everywhere but instead what I’ve found is very subdued and professional dress from the people of Japan. I’m sure there are people who wear wacky clothing, I’ve certainly seen it in stores but right now, it’s me in my green coat that stands out in the crowd of grey and navy.
4. Everywhere is loud, except the subway
Tokyo is definitely a place of overstimulation. There is music and talking machines pretty much everywhere you turn. But when you get on a subway, you could hear a pin drop. Japan is a culture that values respect and it’s considered polite and respectful to be quiet on a train. You do not take phone calls and if you talk to someone on the train, it’s done quietly. Even on a train packed like sardines, it’s incredibly quiet. It’s kind of nice actually.
5. It’s incredibly clean
It’s incredible that in a city of millions, the streets don’t have a speck of litter and the sidewalks are shiny and pristine looking. After talking with our Homestay host, he explained that Japanese people take great pride in the area that they live and work and consider it their responsibility to care for it. You scrub your sidewalk outside of your store multiple times per day. If you live across from a park it’s your responsibility to care for it. It’s a system that works very well and certainly something North Americans could learn from.