1. There is very little crime there.  Why this is no one seems to know.  It just seems to be a very orderly society for some reason.  Nobody even jaywalks in Japan.  Our guide Ronnie often told us not to be afraid to leave our luggage unattended, because “nobody steals stuff in Japan.”

2. The cab drivers are awesome.  Many of them make a point of trying to make the interiors of their cabs look elegant, sometimes even with fresh-cut flowers! and most of the drivers themselves wear white gloves, white dress shirts and uniform caps.  They will not accept tips.  If you try to tip them they’ll refuse it, saying you have made a mistake.  Most of them drive with great skill.  I came to have a lot of respect for these guys.  They are real professionals.

3.  The Japanese people in general are very patient. courteous, and seem to be possessed of a natural inclination to be helpful.  It’s very rare to see anyone become impatient or lose their cool over something.  People do their work with a calm and methodical attention to detail.

4. The climate is very humid.  You just have to get used to it.

5. There are drink vending machines located on almost every street corner in the cities.  They contain a bewildering but very appealing variety of soft drinks, flavored waters, and all kinds of exotic cold coffee drinks, most of which were quite delicious.  My wife and I became fond of these drink machines and got into the habit of looking for them every time we went out walking.

6. A lot of people in Japan ride bicycles, and most of those who ride bicycles ride them on the sidewalks, not on the streets (I suppose this is necessary because most have of the streets have only very narrow lanes).  As a pedestrian it took me while to get used to the idea that I had to keep alert for folks on bicycles coming up behind me and wanting to pass me.   Most bicyclists have a little bell on their bikes that they ring when they want to get around you.

7. Food preparation in Japan is a fine art.  Everywhere we went in Japan whether it was a restaurant or somebody’s home, all the food was prepared with consummate artistry and elegance.  It’s like the culinary equivalent of a Bach partita.

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