Comments on: From Remote Control Toilets to Konbinis: Japan First Impressions travel wide, live deep Sat, 28 Mar 2015 21:42:05 +0000 hourly 1 By: » An Introduction to Japan The Hipmunk Blog Tue, 05 Feb 2013 09:02:30 +0000 […] convenience, fuel them.” For the rest of their 15 first impressions head over to the Uncornered Market blog. Fun stuff!-Jodi […]

By: Daniel Noll Tue, 13 Nov 2012 09:57:17 +0000 @Srivathsa: We love India (and have written a lot about it), but I can understand how different you found Japan. Definitely a different sense of organization between the two cultures. Surprisingly — and I just looked into this — population density in India and Japan are not that far off (954 vs. 836 people per square mile).

Thanks for such a thoughtful comment and for sharing your experience in Japan.

By: Srivathsa Fri, 09 Nov 2012 15:10:55 +0000 Just got back from a 7 day vacation in Japan (Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima) with my family. You’ve captured the essence of Japan very well. Going from India, we were just blown away by how courteous, polite and civilized the Japanese are. People went out of their way to help us when we asked for directions.

The public transport was just amazing though pricey by Indian standards. It was easy to use (even the Tokyo subway), clean and punctual. No one frowned when we fumbled with our money or our passes. The driver would patiently wait till we finished. Walking was a real pleasure after the sidewalks of Indian cities.

On the Braille bit, apart from the sidewalks, there was Braille on the elevator buttons, on the railings of staircases (at the ends) and even on the toilet control buttons. The attention to detail was incredible and everything seemed to be designed with people in mind. What a change from India where it is the survival of the fittest.

By: Daniel Noll Wed, 25 Jul 2012 22:06:14 +0000 @Lidia: That it is.

@Kaori: I love hearing this. Your comment makes me think two things:
1) Normal is in the eye of the beholder
2) Visitors always have a way of a showing us a different perspective of home.

Great to meet you this past weekend!

By: Kaori Myatt Tue, 24 Jul 2012 22:46:30 +0000 Great to see other prospective view…I grew up and all were “Normal” to me. I was so attracted by western culture and unnoticed all beautiful parts of Japan… I recognized anew…of Japan! Thanks!

By: Lidia Wed, 18 Jul 2012 07:46:24 +0000 Japan is such an amazing country, especially because its culture is so different compared to western cultures and it is so very exotic in its differences.

By: Daniel Noll Tue, 17 Jul 2012 18:53:30 +0000 @Arianwen: Wow, no kidding. Being a guy, I never did consider the implications of fascinating toilets to queues in the women’s bathroom…those lines are already long enough! Funny.

@Mariko: It’s interesting to know that the high-tech toilets are common across Japan, in homes and apartments. Being open to new cultures — from our standpoint — is the only way to go. Makes things more interesting and more fun, and a bit easier to make friends along the way. Thank you so much for your thoughtful and insightful comment. Stay tuned for more posts from Japan (we’ll be mixing them up with other destinations, but there will be many more!).

By: Mariko Tue, 10 Jul 2012 06:47:29 +0000 Hi! I have been enjoying following your blogs on your recent visit to Japan.
I am from Tokyo and now living in Hong Kong.
I have a quite simillar model of then toilet in your photo at my home in Tokyo…yes, it’s kinda common to have that high-tech one at not only, common places such as hotels and office buildings also home and I miss it :-).
Glad to see you are amazingly open to diffrent cultures…which,I am sure, makes your life richer…
I look forward to your following posts…

By: Arianwen Wed, 04 Jul 2012 11:25:29 +0000 I love the sidewalk brail idea, and those toilets sure do look fun, although I can only imagine the queues for the girls loos if they brought them to the UK!

By: Daniel Noll Tue, 03 Jul 2012 20:19:15 +0000 @Sheila: Glad you enjoyed it. Am glad that it brought back memories and was fair enough to ring true to your experience. Am grateful to hear that.

@Sutapa: Thank you for such a nice compliment. Although, I have to say that Japanese people, on balance, are rather easy people to interact with, so there wasn’t a lot of heavy facilitation required on our part.

Izakaya restaurants are great. I’d be interested to know which Japanese bites you tasted.

@George: Wow, all the best to you. I’m certain you’ll have a great time living there.

@Jesse: Funny. I suppose you commenting on the toilets. Someone we met remarked the same. If you are an innovator, you innovate until you can’t innovate any longer. So I suspect there’s more in store for the future of Japanese toilets.

@Ashley: I imagine Japan pleases and tempts a lot of people in the design world.

Thank you so much for the insight about the lack of trash cans. The sarin attack might help to explain it. That’s the first I heard of that explanation, but that could make a lot of sense.

@James Mundy: Thank you! Although there may have been a trash can or two outside of Japanese convenience stores, we don’t remember loads of them. In any event, the lack of trash cans in response to bomb and terror attacks seems to be a common theme. Thanks for your comment.

@Andi: So this squares with your experience in Japan?

@John: Thank you for such a thorough response.

Men barely having a chance to see their families, this really is very sad. As a requirement of the job, that makes sense given the work culture.

Pachinko: Ha! Did not know that. Circuitous, for sure.

Cleanliness: That is sad. Seems like a common theme throughout the world, I’m afraid.

Thanks for the distinction between sento and onset.

Am looking forward to sharing what we experienced in the way of Japanese food. Is going to take some time to sift through our notes and photos, though.

@Christy: Sidewalk braille is genius. I’m not sure that’s the word or phrase commonly used to describe it, but that’s what we called it.

Glad you enjoyed it!

@AvaApollo: Imagine the rest of the world with Japanese style toilets…am trying to get my head around that.

@Alex: And New York City strikes me as much friendlier than it used to be (that is, back in the early 80s). But yes, I agree that we can never really have enough politeness, respect, and consideration.

@Michelle: Sure is.

@nihonjin: Thanks for re-affirming. In what city do you live?

@japanese: Not surprising at all that you would connect Buddhist instruction with informing Japanese morality. Makes sense to me. Funny that “no one is a Buddhist” — to me, there’s a bit of religious variety in Japan that can cause a little bit of confusion when labeling people’s religion.

Wow, a soul dwells in everything. Even more of what we witnessed in Japan now makes sense.

Thank you for such a thoughtful comment.

@keiko: We didn’t play Pachinko very much, but it looked to us like a game that is designed to make your money disappear. Sad to hear that it’s connected with the Japanese mafia (I did hear that also while in Japan).

Don’t be sorry for all the “bad things you mentioned. I’m glad that you took the time to comment and educate us about some of the questions we had about Japan after our visit.

We’ll let you know the next time we visit Japan!

And no apologies needed for your English…it’s very good. And much better than my Japanese :)

@Armands: One button toilets certainly are easier. But they’re not much for the ultra-curious among us.

@David: Another vote for sidewalk braille. Although, like I said above, we’d never heard it called that. Either way, it’s very cool, thoughtful, useful.

@JT: Was not aware that Japan had the most Michelin starred restaurants. Might have to check that fact out.

@Jude: Glad we could add some fuel to your Japan fire.

@Kieu: Good luck with that toilet. When you have a party, your guests just might get stuck in there — either by way of confusion or curiosity.

Ah, the jar of happiness. Good times.

@Roy: Easy sell, Japan.

@Roxanne: Glad we could make you laugh. Toilet talk is good for that, it seems.

@Dana: So true. However, there’s a balance in timing — not too soon, not too late, for us to communicate what we feel a country is about.

@Mark: I hope that you are not forced to spend all your time in the toilet in Japan, but perhaps that you choose to. The food is really terrific, though.

As for the no garbage cans in Japan, the end result is different than in Hanoi, Vietnam for example, where squads of people go around at night sweeping and shoveling the streets. In Japan, the feeling of personal responsibility is strong.

@Masa: Thank you for your comment. Glad you found us and our Japanese experience.

@alan: I hear you.

@Anne: Thank you for your comment. We’re grateful to hear that our impressions, while obviously much more limited than yours, actually squared with your experience.

I love your description of Japanese contrast and paradox, including the shift from tea ceremony to manga-punk.

@Tom: The warm seat was the best. There, I’ve said it! Thanks for your comment. More on our Japan experience coming soon after we get beyond the latest round of speaking and conferences.

@Claire: So true. Even Japanese machines are polite. I wonder if that’s where they got the idea for some of the characters in Wall-E.

@Chris: Thank you for your comment and for the link on pointing and calling on Japanese trains. Love that term.

@Daniel: Japanese toilets — and toilet seats in particular — seem to be of great interest. I hear you, though — I couldn’t imagine spending time on one of those heated seats in the middle of August.

“…a full day’s hard labor…” Love that description!

@Erik: Glad to hear we could help. When it comes to Japanese culture, there’s little to cause fear, at least based on our experience.

@Sarah: Photocopier toilets…don’t give them any more ideas!

@Tom: Glad you enjoyed it. Though Japan is not the cheapest country to travel in, I can’t imagine that Japan would disappoint.

@Ryan: Very true, it’s all a function of what you’ve become used to, and also one’s values.

Regarding the first sip rule when drinking with your boss, I don’t know. However, it would strike me as odd — in a culture that is about respect and also values saving face (particularly for one’s boss) that this would be invited. If this were true, I would expect a lot fewer bosses actually willingly taking part in the after-work drinking ritual.

That’s just my perspective. I’d love to hear from someone else on the thread regarding if and how this actually works in Japan.