Our Japanese has certainly improved and we have learnt some of the cutural traits in place. Formal greetings, no money given in the hand rather put in a dish, no need for tips, bus entry from the back and exit from the front, elderly people are shown great respect.
Japanese food is so delicious and varied and there are plastic displays of all food in windows, which makes choices simple. Of course, eating local food is cheaper (and much more delicious) than eating western food.
Accommodation is on the small side, compared to what we are used to. Space is at a premium. Nevertheless, comfort is not compromised. Small is cute. Toilets are a novelty as we are not used to toilets that have seat warmers and fancy bidets that clean everything. No matter where the toilet facilities are, they are clean and modern.
Japanese queues are very orderly. With such an efficient transport system a queue for a bus, for example, still moves along well.
Shoes are removed and slippers donned for entry into buildings.
The transport system and infrastructure are first class. The Japanese use public transport as it is fast, cheap, efficient and timely. There are lots of bike parking areas near stations.
First Class Service: Today we went to the GPO in Kyoto to mail a parcel home. The 20 minute experience was one to celebrate. It was quite remarkable. A very lovely, older postal worker went out of his way to carefully hand craft packaging that would protect our irregular sized parcel. Once this was done he found the right type of bag/envelope to send it in and then proceeded to do what Japanese people love doing, and that is use a stamp to ensure that our “FRAGILE” parcel would get home in one piece instead of many pieces. This done, he began to calculate the best way to send it. We had all the time in the world and he certainly was very patient with us and did his job very, very well. On completion of our mission we couldn’t believe how good the service had been. This experience reflected what we already thought of Japanese service, it is first class!