Random reflections on life in Japan

Japan is a friendly, polite country; it feels safe.  In Fujiyoshida few people spoke English, but they made a great effort to understand and be understood.

The menus, which would otherwise have been unintelligible, were much helped by illustrations.  Outside some restaurants there was a display of plastic food in a cabinet; my guide book says this practice dates back to the Meiji Restoration of 1868 when the Japanese had to explain with wax models the new food coming in from abroad.

Cabinet of plastic models outside Ootoya restaurant

Cabinet of plastic models outside Ootoya restaurant

Restaurants, like Japanese rooms generally, are plain, uncluttered and relaxing.  Here is the Kubota restaurant where we went with Aiichiro Mogi on our last day in Japan.

Kubota restaurant, Tokyo

Kubota restaurant, Tokyo

And here is the proprietress who served the most delicious eels.

web proprietress of Kubota

While on food, I have to admit to disappointment about breakfast, which seemed to be similar to other meals (miso, fish, rice etc).  I guess I am a creature of habit who enjoys her muesli, bran, fruit and yoghurt.

Japanese breakfast

Japanese breakfast

I was pleasantly surprised by the slow speed of the traffic and the length of time allowed for pedestrians to cross roads where there are crossings with lights.

web warning signweb warning sign2I liked these warning signs in at the Fuji Sengen Shrine, there was a row of them on a fence and each one was different.

Bathing is a pleasure, with a shower first, then a soak in a hot tub (for relaxation not for soaping), then another shower.

web bathroom

When you enter a house you take off your shoes at the door, you mustn’t wear shoes on the tatami matting. web shoes

You may be required to wear toilet shoes when you go to the loo (which always seemed to have a warm seat).

web toilet shoes

Sleeping on the floor on a futon is very comfortable.  Japanese people don’t have clutter so I found little space to stow my stuff in hotels.  What would they make of Telfer’s Cottage?

web 11 bedroom

Land is used economically, the paddy fields are squeezed in among the buildings.  web paddy

We took a lovely walk along a path between conference venues, past allotments and paddy fields, all beautifully laid out.

This allotment has a very upright bulldog keeping watch

This allotment has a very upright bulldog keeping watch

And all around us were the mountains, a lovely spot.

web allotment 2


About campaignerkate

I am the general secretary of the Open Spaces Society and I campaign for public access, paths and open spaces in town and country.
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2 Responses to Random reflections on life in Japan

  1. Kiran says:

    Hey Kate, your blog took me back to Kitafuji!!!… Language was a barrier but the helpful nature of the people made everything work… Lovely people and lovely weather made our experience even more memorable….

  2. Hi Kiran
    Thanks for your comment. Yes I agree entirely.

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