Japan - Details



Friends from abroad visiting me in Copenhagen often think we are pathetic because pedestrians here mostly stand, very patiently, waiting for the little green man, before they cross the street. It doesn’t really matter if it is 3 o’clock at night, with no car in sight, we’ll wait for the green light. It seems we have some fellow sufferers in Japan. I saw the exact same phenomenon there. No jaywalking.

There were two things I never saw in Japan: graffiti and litter. It seemed to be non existent. Everything was clean and tidy. It was the time when the cherry blossom petals fell to the ground, and I saw people sweeping up these petals every day in front of their homes, as well in public parks. A pity, as I sort of like the look of 'pink snow' on the ground. We sort our domestic waste but did not have as many sorting systems at public places at the time [2008].

Garbage sorting
Sakura Japanese cherry blossom

In Japan I saw garbage sorting bins at most train stations, parking lots and picnic areas, and people seemed to use these very conscientiously and carefully. And there were pictograms, so even an illiterate like me understood the system. In Denmark we seem content if people would only throw their trash in the bins and not right next to it. So there’s definitely room for improvement.

It also seemed the rule to write distances very accurately. If the elevator was 105 meters away at the other end of the platform, the sign would say 105 meters and not 100 meters. And if the temple was 390 meters away, that’s what the sign would say and not 400. Good to know, so when you passed 395 meters you knew for sure you’d missed the entrance to the temple!

Sign Japan

When the conductor checked my ticket, he brought to my attention that I was in the wrong seat. I do not know how many people were in the other carriages but the picture on this page will show you what the rest of the carriage I was in looked like: not a soul. So I was slightly perplexed but promised to move, if the legal ticket holder for seat 12C should arrive. That seemed to satisfy him and he moved on. We were already on our way, and it was the Narita Express which went non-stop from the airport to Tokyo station. I still don’t get from where another traveller would arrive, unless he did a James Bond stunt and jumped onto the train from a low flying helicopter. You never know.

Japan Narita Express

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