A July 2004 trip
to Japan by Shannon Schiner
Quote: The USA and Japan are both interesting places. Each has unique aspects that probably seem strange to a foreign visitor. Here are a few of the more striking examples that I found during my trip to Japan.
READ! It is probably a good idea to read about the Japanese culture before visiting to familiarize yourself with some of the formalities.
ASK! Japanese people are friendly and I found the vast majority extremely helpful. If you are unsure about something, don't hesitate to ask...it is much better to ask in advance than to offend someone in the end.
Of course, you can imagine my surprise the first time I sat down and the seat was warm, actually a bit too warm (played with the thermostat), and the sound of rushing water came blasting out from beneath me. To be honest, I couldn't believe it, and I almost fell off of my "perch". However, once I found the control panel, I realized that the technology in Japan goes FAR beyond just the cellular phones and computers. Throughout the country, I found several interesting customized bathrooms, complete with everything anyone could possibly dream up. Toilets with bidets, showers, sound effects, heaters, deodorizers and even little dryers!
That's not all, though. One day, feeling particularly thirsty for something citrus (due to my orange juice habit at home), I decided to solve the dilemma by grabbing a canned beverage from the nearest vending machine. A few coins later I was holding a very attractive can with lemon decorations. Yummy, lemonade. Although the lemonade tasted a bit odd, I didn’t really give it too much thought. Until I started feeling dizzy and a bit out of it. You guessed it, not lemonade. The beautifully decorated can held some type of sake beverage. That’s right, sake enhanced beverages in the vending machines! Hungry? How about a nice boxed lunch? What do you need, a few coins can get you anything you might need to survive!