Friday, March 13, 2009


I haven’t posted in awhile. There’s not much going on here, really. I’m still on break through the end of the month. I basically just go to the library and study everyday, and then I go home…and study some more.

In the absence of real content, I’ll throw out some random observations.

First, it’s accepted and polite for people who are sick to wear surgical masks to prevent spreading their germs to others. This is entirely normal. You can buy ones in stores with designs on them too, although I’ve never seen anyone actually wear one like that.

Second, it’s amazing to me that stores actually manage to sell magazines, books, and manga. Go into any of the aforementioned shops, even a 24hr grocery store at 3am, and you can find people standing at the magazine section reading to their heart’s content. It’s not unusual to find a wall of high schoolers jammed into the manga isles at used book stores during the day; they just stand there and read.

Third, you can pay your bills at these little 24hr grocery stores that are everywhere. It’s extremely convenient. I pay my electric bill in this fashion, and I will with my internet bill, whenever they decide to send it to me. I just bring the bill with the cash, they rip off a stub, stamp it, and the end. These stores are essentially the equivalent of the stores that are attached to gas stations in the states, and gas stations here just act as gas stations. They also sell cheeseburgers and hot dogs, which don’t taste that great (but are cheap). The major chains are: Lawson’s, Family Mart, 7-11, am/pm, and I think I’m missing one.

Fourth, one of the popular ways to advertise in Japan is through disposable tissues. Print off some sheets of paper with your business info, shove it into little plastic bags with some tissues, and hire people to stand on the street and hand them out. Instant success.

Fifth, umbrellas. The masses here all own the same umbrella. It’s clear with a white pole. I very much doubt that most people who put their umbrella in the rack before entering a building leave with the same one. Big places, like shopping malls, don’t have umbrella racks. There’s a little trashcan/plastic bag dispenser unit at the entrance. You’re supposed to take one of the bags, put your umbrella in it, and then trash it on the way out. It’s often so windy here when it rains that umbrellas are pretty much useless. I managed to have 2 distort into pretzels on the same day. That was a fun day.

Sixth, the word “Togitsu” is spelled wrong on all the manhole covers in Togitsu. It’s spelled Togitu. Whoops.

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