12 April 2006

Quintessentially Japan

三年ぶりの日本。It is always a treat to be in Japan, especially after 3 long years. It was nostalgic and refreshing to observe many quintessential Japanese traits / objects / phenomena. In particular, 3 years had almost made me forget...

  • How polite Japanese service is. When at the airport, the luggage attendants along the stretch of road ALL bowed in appreciation for your patronage as the limousine bus left. When in the train, people take very seriously the sign that says "Please refrain from using cellphone as they disturb other passengers". When shopping, every shop attendant greets you with an enthusiastic, genki-na "Irasshaimase!".

  • How beautifully delicate Japanese cuisine is. I love warabi mochi and sakura mochi. Drool... I wonder if Meidi-ya here in Singapore has any? Did I also mention the sashimi which is pretending to be sushi? The portion is so generous that you can't see the rice:

    sushi tappuri

    sushi tappuri

    ...Or the tofu feast we had where the soya milk shabu shabu had me almost drinking from the pot and the tofu siew mai was so incredibly meat-like that I wouldn't have minded turning vegetarian... Slurp again.

  • How fun Japanese English is! You've gotta love "Breastopia" (name of a mobile clinic to encourage women to have their first mammogram) and the sign on top of my tap that says "Good to drink" :)

  • How omnipotent Japanese vending machines are. They even dispenses hot coffee in cans now! Oh, and I also like how you get little nubs of half-and-half with your coffee rather than bleh weak milk.

  • How exciting it is to shop in Japan. Heater-equipped eyelash curler, charcoal-infused pore pack, blotters where the oil doesn't transfer to the other side of the paper, long wallets for men...

  • How space-tight Japan is. My Tokyo hotel room is surely the tiiiniest one I have ever been in... It is even smaller than the Parisian hostel I was in! (Actually, only the bathroom that was tiny in that place; the rest of it was actually spacious.) But in their typical space-efficient fashion, the Japanese have managed to squeeze a fridge, a double bed and even a bathtub. Whoa.

  • How pampering Japan is. A heated toilet seat is the BEST thing ever invented for sub-10 degree temperatures. Absolutely no argument about this.

1 comment:

  1. Haha. Let me add the MiMi Kurin (name of a salon meaning ear clean) to your Japan collection. The invention of a scoop attached to a miniature camera to clean out your ear certainly intrigued the BBC correspondent so much that not only has he tried it out, he wrote an article on it too. Read about it on: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/4907154.stm