Some general impressions of Japan this time, before we move on to Tokyo. They drive on the left there; if you're not used to it, be careful to look both ways before crossing the road:( Read more... )
Also for a country with lots of high technology, we saw a surprising number of people doing fairly menial jobs one would have expected to have been at least partially automated, for example acting as a tram conductor, or sweeping the street using not just a broom but indeed the old-fashioned kind consisting of a bundle of twigs, rather than street-sweeping vehicles.
We saw a lot of people doing their jobs in a public context, for example traffic police, wore white gloves. I suspect this owes something to nineteenth-century England, though how, I'm not quite sure.
There are lots of people in Japan wearing surgical masks; apparently something like one in four of the population suffer from hayfever.
There are a lot of USAn fast food chains to be found in Japan; I saw there chains, like Denny's or Wendy's, which I hadn't seen since my last time in the States in 1990.
And lastly, for today, the ecological niche which is filled in the UK by seagulls (black-backed gulls and herring gulls) is filled in central Japan (I didn't see this when we went further west), instead by black kites. It was quite something to see these great big birds of prey swooping low over beaches. Sadly, I didn't have a camera with me when I got to see them really close up; and when I did later have a camera, I didn't get to see any close enough up to get a decent photo of.