The Aftermath…

Well, I’ve been back in the states for about 2 weeks now and I have to be honest, I miss Japan. I did promise I would add a couple of posts about things that I didn’t have time to take down while I was away, so here is the first of such posts.

I came away from this trip knowing now a few things about Japan that you would not read about in any travel guides. For one, the only garbage cans in the streets are for PET bottles, so if you have garbage of another type you’re going to be hanging on to it for a while. And, all the garbage, everywhere, is sorted into 3 groups, bottles & cans, paper, and “combustibles.” It’s an eye opening experience being in a Mc Donald’s and having to sort your trash at the end, food in the combustibles, pour what’s left of your drink into the combustibles, put the lid and straw of your soda with the plastic and the cup with the paper… even throwing away your fast food trash is an exercise in efficiency over there.

I don’t have any pictures of us sorting our garbage or being distraught at having to carry refuse around for an entire day, and I’m sure people reading along are getting bored of the explanations so here is something that I thought was very odd about Japan and I have plenty of pictures of.

There is this social phenomenon in Japan that I found very hard to understand while I was there. Simply put, the men can’t go home. I don’t know how else to say it. The best explanation I got was one hinged on the communal nature of this society. If a man that lives on your block works so hard that he only gets to go home and see his family once or twice a week, then you can’t be seen in your home more than he is or it will appear as if you don’t work as hard, as a result of this, Japanese men do not go home… I know bizarre, but this whole thing leads to an interesting phenomenon. People sleeping everywhere! To me, it was so strange to see this for several reasons:
1. I can’t sleep that well in a bed, let alone sitting up on a train or bus.
2. Fear of getting robbed or worse while I was at my most vulnerable.
3. Fear of missing my stop (they had a sixth sense about getting up at their stops)
4. the whole getting robbed thing would really get to me, so I’m listing it twice.

But As you can see the general Japanese public has no qualms with public napping:
I apologize for the poor quality of some of these pictures but they had to be taken from the hip as to not alert the citizens around me that I was taking these pictures, I was not completely sure how they would react so better safe than sorry. In this shot you can actually see several people sleeping:
Oh yea, another crazy thing is that on board all public transportation, NO ONE IS TALKING! Not a soul! Everyone is quiet as a church mouse and very attentive to the screens or their cell phones (well, those of them who are not sleeping), even on the flight over… silence… very creepy at first but easy to get used to. Far superior to the flea market ambiance of Miami’s public transportation system in almost every aspect. I know I have seen chickens on the metro at downtown station… I digress. With all the people sleeping everywhere, I must admit I was a bit jealous at times of their easy slip into slumber, but this guy, he takes the cake, he is now a role model of mine, I can only hope to achieve this level of relaxation with my surroundings at one point in my life, but until that point, I think this is completely insane.This picture was taken at about 11:30pm on a main road in Nagoya, and this man is passed out right in the street, suitcase and suit still intact, completely unbelievable!!

O.K. that was my first post-Japan installment and I hope to at very least have 2 or 3 more, but for now I’ve got to go. Real life beckons…

Cojelo con take it easy,

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