Friday, August 8, 2014

Japan Culture & Vending Machine Introduction


I grew up watching Japanese dramas and had been falling in love with their culture and food. I always wanted to travel to Japan at least once in my lifetime but everything is so expensive and out of my budget when I had to think about the costs of a return air ticket, accommodation, riding on bullet train, etc. Japan is the only country on the Earth (that I know) has a combination of traditional and modern culture which goes hand in hand.

When my dream came true to travel to Japan recently, I was very excited and there was a lot of reading and preparation to do in order to understand the transportation system, adapt the culture and  learn some basic Japanese words. It is not difficult to learn about Japanese culture and lifestyle as you can find many short videos uploaded online to guide the first time visitors like me. For me, I was very amazed with their excellent customer service culture (hospitality or also known as Omotenashi in Japanese). Japanese staff will engage some simple friendly conversation during your checkout payment and even bow to customers before they leave the places. You will be surprised to how they pack food and presents the products in very detailed manner to ensure they become handy to carry around. This kind of hospitality is rare to find in many developed countries.  



I was even astonished to see many kinds of vending machines in Japan. The vending machine is not restricted in selling drinks only but you can find any kinds of vending machines from selling cigarette, beers, hot food, ice-cream, packed fresh bananas, etc on the streets, in the train stations and even in the hotels as well. Japanese really love animals. You can find pets on the streets. They treat their pets as part of their family members and are willing to spend on their pets. Japan is one of pet friendly countries in Asia besides, Taiwan. Japanese bring their pets for a walk in the park and taking them on public transportation, as long they are staying in their crates.

Most visitors complain about small hotel rooms but to me, it's not a big deal. We spent the whole day (until late night) strolling, shopping and eating outside rather than staying in a hotel room. A hotel room is the place where we need to rest and sleep before we continue our trip the next day. Majority of hotel rooms are small unless you are willing to pay for 5 star hotels there.  

There is a culture practice which you need to remind yourself when you are standing in front of thee counter checkout. We normally hand our cash payment on cashiers' hands but in Japan, it is slightly different culture. When you pay or get your change at the cashier counter, all the transaction have to be done by placing the cash on the small tray. The small tray is normally positioned in front of the customer at the cashier counter.

Public transportation especially the subway train and bullet train is very convenient to travel from city to city. It takes some time to digest and understand Japan Subway System and the routes. Every subway company represents a single colour code with the first letter (represents the company name) followed by numbers in order, traveling from one point to another point. For more information on the timetable and route of a bus, subway train and train ride, please refer to Hyperdia website. The alternative will be depending on the recommendation via Google Map after keying the locations from point A to point B.    

(Source: WAORYU ONLY in Japan via Youtube)

 Saying Thank you by flashing a few times with the hazard lights.
(Source: TheJapanChannelDCom via Youtube)





Welcome to Japan signboard with robot screen at Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan. You will be surprised to see the airport staff remove the luggage from the conveyor belt by arranging them in an order with the luggage' handlers facing up for your convenience to grab the handlers immediately before leaving the airport.



As soon as we see Tokyo Skytree, we know we are reaching Tokyo downtown from Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan
As soon as we see Tokyo Skytree, we know we are reaching Tokyo downtown from Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan

Typical small room with bathroom is sufficient for a place for tourists to rest before continuing your journey in Japan
Typical small room with bathroom is sufficient for a place for tourists to rest before continuing your journey in Japan

Ordering your Japanese meal by paying cash through vending machine which is located in front of the main entrance in Japan
Ordering your Japanese meal by paying cash through vending machine which is located in front of the main entrance before the meal is prepared and served in Japan

All cash transaction have to be placed on the small tray in front of the cashier machine in Japan
All cash transaction have to be placed on the small tray in front of the cashier machine in Japan

The portion of Japanese ramen and set meal are generous and the prices are reasonable too in Japan
The portion of Japanese ramen and set meal are generous and the prices are reasonable too in Japan

Japanese customer service is incredible to the extend this cake is packed with dry ice and a plastic spoon attached on the top box in Japan
Japanese customer service is incredible to the extend this cake is packed with dry ice and a plastic spoon attached on the top box in Japan