Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Japan Part 3 - Where's all the garbage cans?

After 10 days in Japan I have a list of some pretty cool things that stood out compared to Canada. 
1. Garbage cans are hard to find. Why? Because the Japanese take ownership for their impact on the environment. If they had some trash, they just hold onto it until they find a trash can. No need for a trash can on every block. You would never see someone flick a cigarette butt. 
2. It's so clean. No gum on the floor, graffiti on buildings or junk in front yards. Taxi and bus drivers are constantly cleaning their vehicles as they wait in line ups to pick up passengers. Every taxi or bus I rode in looked like it just came from a detail shop. 
3. The Japanese are just so friendly. Friendly in a respectful and humble way. I loved being greeted when I walked into a shop or restaurant - by everyone. When I mean everyone I mean the wait staff, the cooks, the hostess and who ever else worked there. The same ritual was repeated when you left. So there was this constant greeting and goodbye hum I became accustomed to - and something I miss now that I'm back in Canada. All too rare to get that level of pure great fullness in business as I saw in Japan. 
I see this post is getting long and honestly I could write 20 more things I found interesting but I'll wrap up with one more. 
4. It was not crowded !  We are eating breakfast on the top floor of the Westin Tokyo and looking down at the streets of the financial district on a Friday. It's amazing how few cars and people there are. The city is so efficient with trains and public transport that they are the masters of moving people efficiently. I didn't see any traffic jams and when we did travel on the freeway by car the traffic flow was smooth because everyone did the same speed - no jerks speeding and slamming on their brakes. 
Sure the train stations were crowded and quite something to witness. But one you understood the protocol like walk on the left, line up to enter and exit the trains, basic stuff. Finally I must note how quiet Tokyo was. No loud Harley motorcycles, no horn honks and people generally spoke very little in public. Tokyo is many times the size of Vancouver but felt so organized, friendly and calm..
Bonus Round - OK, needed to mention there basically was very little crime, no homelessness and from what we were told by our business hosts, very very little in the way of drug abuse or alcoholism. I was told a story about a business case left on a train seat and nobody touched it all day until the trains were cleaned out at night and it was returned to the person who lost  it.
definitely a city I will go back and spend more time.