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Everything including the Kitchen Sink: It’s Just Different Here

Everything including the Kitchen Sink: I...

OK, so I know there’s been a lot of concern about H1N1 throughout the world.  Hand sanitizer as a hotel guest welcome sign is the new “in”.  However, we never thought the Japanese would take it to such lengths.  This interesting platform necessity was spotted in Matsumoto JR train station.   We really couldn’t figure out who would use it and when.
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Out the Train Window

Out the Train Window

For most Americans, train travel is not a part of our lives, so we are not familiar with a situation where travel can be somewhat relaxing, vs. stressful, harried and unpleasant.   Let me count the ways that train travel in Japan is so dramatically different from either train or plane travel in the US. Ease of Access: In Japan, train stations are centrally located, connected to subway and bus lines easily and are often centers of commerce and entertainment, with many restaurants, stores and information kiosks.   One proceeds directly to their train track upon arrival at...
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Floor B1

Floor B1

Sometimes you hear about this stuff, sometimes you don’t.   Many guidebooks suggest that you stop in a department store to explore the food offering there.   What they aren’t always clear about is HOW to explore and, interestingly enough, how standardized all the offerings are in Japan. First of all, there are usually three main places to find food in the department stores – the first floor has lots of fancy gift food (all boxed up, very pretty and sometimes very expensive), the top floor usually has restaurants (sometimes the top two floors) and many of...