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Workaholic: It’s Just Different Here

Workaholic: It’s Just Different Here...

This is our busiest time of the year, so not much time for posting blog entries.  However, here’s a typical situation in Japan where someone is unclear on the concept:
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Signal Dilemma: It’s Just Different Here

Signal Dilemma: It’s Just Different Here...

It’s not hard for Americans to find things and situations in Japan that are puzzling. The language gap alone gives plenty of fodder for misunderstanding. But usually standard traffic signals are fairly similar the world-over. However, we ran into this conundrum on the streets of Kyoto. Apparently, the blind have a different button that they have to push for a signal to safely cross this street (with only one way across).  Now we sure couldn’t figure out how they would KNOW that there was a different box for them (since it wasn’t making any noise and we didn’t see any braille on it), but therein lies this signal...
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Rooftop Temples: It’s Just Different Here

Rooftop Temples: It’s Just Different Here...

Looking out the window of a speeding train, it’s easy to spot lots of small temples tucked away in backyards, small forests, at the top of mountains and hidden in city streets.  But this was a first as we pulled into the station in Asa, in Yamaguchi prefecture, perched on about the 14th floor roof of a modern office building:
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Sour Milk: It’s Just Different Here

Sour Milk: It’s Just Different Here...

As a frequent traveler to Japan it should come as no surprise that there seems to be a different set of tastes that appeal to the average Japanese. The fruit flavors are different, the candies are different and certainly the drinks are different.  But this new offering — conspicuously being announced in the Tokyo subway system, had even my iron-stomached traveling companion gagging: