News Stories Tagged japan
Japan's vending machines, ubiquitous and indicative of the technology-rich culture, aren't exactly healthful—offering sugar-laden coffee, colas, and even alcohol. However, new machines are geared toward the health-conscious. Dole installed banana dispensers around Shibuya Station in Tokyo, targeting hurried commuters with no time for breakfast. The fruit is lightly refrigerated and gently lowered to the opening to avoid bruising. Single bananas and bunches are available.
The most hygienic restrooms are in hotels and department stores and are usually marked with international symbols. You may encounter Japanese-style toilets, with bowls recessed into the floor, over which you squat facing the top. If you can’t face a squat, the last cubical in the row may be a Western-style toilet. In many homes and Japanese-style public places, there will be a pair of slippers at the entrance to the restroom. Change into these before entering the room, and change back when you exit. Many public toilets don’t have toilet paper, though there are dispensers where packets can be purchased for Y50 (45 cents) or so.
This pass offers unlimited travel on Japan Railways (JR) trains. A one-week pass is less expensive than a regular round-trip ticket from Tokyo to Kyoto on the Shinkansen. Note that you must obtain a rail-pass voucher prior to departure for Japan, and the pass must be used within three months of purchase. The pass is available only to people with tourist visas, as opposed to business, student, and diplomatic visas.
Japanese of all ages and backgrounds bow in greeting each other (even on the telephone!), and foreign visitors who at least bob the head will get a smile of recognition. However, Japanese know all about handshaking now, and the visitor’s head may crash with an out-stretched hand. In business, exchanging name cards is essential.
All lodgings provide a thermos of hot water and bags of green tea in every room, but for coffee you'll either have to call room service (which can be expensive) or buy very sweet coffee in a can from a vending machine.
Tardiness is a major faux pas. Japanese addresses tend to be complicated, and traffic is often heavy, so allow for adequate travel time.
From chopstick faux pas to respectful forms of greeting, here are the top things you need to know (and avoid) on your next trip to Japan.
Japanese don't wear shoes in homes, temples, or traditional inns. Having shoes you can quickly slip in and out of is a decided advantage. Take wool socks (checking first for holes!) to help you through those shoeless occasions during the winter.
Similarly, if a glass at your table is empty, show your attentiveness by filling it for your companion(s).
Life will be easier for you in Japan if you've had some experience with chopsticks. The secret is to learn to move only the chopstick on top rather than both at once. Don't point, lick, or gesture with chopsticks. Also, never take food from a common serving plate with the ends of the chopsticks you've had in your mouth. Never use your chopsticks to take food from someone else's chopsticks, as this denotes a funerary custom.
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