JENESYS 2018, Japan in the rear view mirror
NARITA, JAPAN; Sadly, the 9-day trip to Japan has ended. Everyone has been nothing but wonderful throughout the entire trip. We bonded really well and it was quite hard to say goodbye to each other.
Not only we will be missing each other’s company, but we will definitely miss the coordinators from JICE who have helped and did a great job taking care all of us during the whole trip. Thank you very much Kajihara-San, Obara-San, Kato-San and Sakurai-San among others. Your kind assistance and hospitalities are very much appreciated.
We also would like to extend our special thanks to the government of Japan for inviting a group of professionals from Malaysia consist of different backgrounds including academicians, masters and PHD students, government officers as well as members of the media to Japan, giving us the opportunities to learn and witnessed the strength of Japan in-terms of their people, technologies and cultures. We absolutely enjoyed this trip and brought home with us new perspectives and enriching experience.
From our visits and lectures during this programme, one fact to conclude is that the Japanese has a fantastic public transit and railways system and they are quite easy to catch on. Direction and signs are also shown in English or you can easily ask for help, the Japanese are a very helpful bunch.
In addition, Japan is a country that is rich with cultures. Although they have many advanced technologies creating new and useful ones as well as undergo modernisation phase (just like us) like the adoption of Western clothes, food, hair styles and houses, but they still maintain of doing things traditionally. We were so lucky to witness a mix of modern and traditional Japan during our homestay experience such as sleeping on tatami mats and taking a long bath in tub at nights (getting in a tub after cleaning up to soak).
Maybe you already knew a thing or two about Japan such as on their punctuality, advanced technologies and politeness as mentioned in our previous postings. But here are some fun facts we learnt during our Japan discovery that you might not know:
Japanese are very well-dressed. They pride themselves as being the face of their company. Not just those who work in the corporate world or having a 9 to 5 working hour, but you can see people working at the parking lot (as picture above), taxi drivers, bus conductor and even our coordinators are dressed in an appropriate manner. Any street in Tokyo is full with people in business suits.
Walking and bicycle
Apart from taking the public transportation, bicycle is another popular choice opt by the Japanese. You can see there are many parking areas designated for bicycle users around the cities where they are usually seen riding on the sidewalks. Also, the Japanese love walking too which includes the elderly generation. That’s the secret to good health and longevity in Japan, almost everyone engages in healthy daily cardiovascular activities.
We stayed in a 4-star hotel in Tokyo and 3-star hotel in Sendai. While both rooms are quite small, you can find all basic amenities in the hotel. They provided a well-known product for toiletries and they even equipped us with night wear so you can always travel light when you’re travelling to Japan.
This particular service has made our trip a less-trouble one as we were able to transfer our luggage strategically from one place to another. In total, we used it 3 times, once from Tokyo to Sendai, since we had to take the Shinkansen – not very convenient to bring all big luggage riding the bullet train, Sendai to Kami town, as we spent 2 nights at the hosts family and from Kami town to Tokyo – our bags arrived just in time during our last day there and get ready to pack for home. We found that the service is extremely reliable – we travel around just with our backpack on and the best part is that our hotel did all the arrangement for us.
Vending machines are everywhere in Japan, it is a perfect solution for anyone on the go. It is easy to use even if it is in Japanese. The flow of purchase is made easy by flashing lights after each step. For example the light on the coin slot is always flashing to show you that is where to start, after you slot in the coins the product selection will light up and after you select your item, the dispensing area will light up. You can find anything ranging from beverages, food, top-up cards, clothes and even electronic gadgets on sale in their vending machine. Now that’s a whole new level of convenience.
Toilets in Japan are easy to use with a touch of a button. Public toilets are mostly built in with a bidet inside the toilet bowl. That way, the floor is always dry and clean. All your business in the toilet bowl, stays in the toilet bowl. There is also a button that plays water sounds so other people can’t hear the sound of you doing your business.
Good posting habits
Letters posted through the mailbox around Japan have their own pick up schedule. This way, the mailman has to be punctual for the pick up and not as and when he arrives like in most countries. By pasting the designated time of pick up on the mailbox is like a promise to the customers that their letters are posted daily. Customer satisfaction guaranteed.
In most supermarkets, you can find small refrigerators and free ice vending machine for you to store your perishable groceries while you shop for other things in the shopping mall. It is often free of charge. Convenient much?
Signages are not just stickers on the wall / floor
They follow rules even if there is no one watching, no coercion needed, they just adhere just because they want to and because it is a way of life. No one gets in the way of others, even when it is during rush hour. Something to emulate.