This is, as the title indicates, a list of things that I’ve noticed as I was strolling around town. The occasional cultural note will be included, but keep in mind there is no main focus.
To start things off, this is a picture of my air conditioner/heater. There is no central air in Japan, but there are these machines mounted on a wall in each room to keep people warm or cool depending on the season. As you can see there is a message written on the outside. If I had read it beforehand then I would have avoided nearly losing one of my fingers (no joke). 運転中は手を入れないでください Roughly translates to, don’t stick your hand in here stupid.
Next on my list is a short cultural note. Below is a picture of a wall socket. If you haven’t noticed, there is nothing plugged into it. In Japan, especially because of the tsunami that hit Iwate and Sendai areas, saving electricity is a top priority. It is important to conserve energy in any way possible, and it cuts down on energy costs. My last month electric bill was around ￥1500 or $19.00. Not only do I unplug small things, but I unplug my washer, microwave, heater, etc. when I’m not using it.
Now before I begin to talk about my trip to town, I needed some money. Japan is a cash culture, meaning they rarely use credit cards. That doesn’t mean that credit cards aren’t used or aren’t accepted, but rather, people prefer to use cash over plastic. Crime is also not as fierce in Japan as it is in other places in the world so there is no real threat of being mugged. That is to say, trouble doesn’t come looking for you, you have to find it.
The character on ￥1000 was a famous doctor, ￥5000 represents a poet, and ￥10000 was a revolutionist. They represent $10, $50, and $100 respectively at a ￥1:$1
Moving on, the beginning of my trip! I don’t get to photograph any sunsets since I work during most of them. It’s nearly impossible to get a good shot since everywhere you go you are surrounded by mountains or seven-story buildings.
Now to explain, AEON is a super store that can be compared to a shopping mall or walmart. There are groceries and food products on the first floor, men’s and women’s clothes on the second floor, kids toys and clothes and furniture/appliances on the third floor, and lastly a gaming center on the fourth floor. The gaming center reminds me of Chuckie Cheeze with a modern bowling alley thrown in it.
Christmas in Japan with a children’s favorite, Anpanman.
This little gem was coupled with several shirts that had equally poor English. Either that, or my grasp of English has plummeted in the past 3 months.
Although I didn’t go here, there was a reminder of home which is about five minutes from my apartment. And yes, they are all over Japan.
One last story to sum things up a bit. I’m not much of a car person, but in Japan, cars and motorcycles are quite popular. People will rev their engine as loud as possible as they drive down the street to gain attention. It is a trend that I am not interested in nor impressed by considering all it does is wake me up or drown out my thoughts. On one occasion, I witnessed a group of bikers making such a ruckus that the cars going perpendicular to them with a green light had slowed down to see what was happening. As they slowed down, they were soon forced to a stop. The bikers slowly passed through their red light as everyone watched and continued on down the road.
I ended the trip by buying some crocs, a new cup, some raw salmon, and some bargains from the 百円 dollar store.
I hope you enjoyed reading, please add any questions or comments!