Did you know that….
—In Japan, they drive on the left side of the road, as in most British colonial countries
—At many big intersections, all traffic stops for pedestrians to cross at the signal, and pedestrians and cyclists can cross diagonally if they wish.
—Bikes are supposed to be on the roads on a specially-marked lane, but most seem to ride on the pavements (sidewalks). As a Japanese friend here told us, “It’s not allowed actually, but somehow it is allowed.” It can be a bit disconcerting for a walker, as the cyclists weave around between the people.
—Using ATMs is a bit tricky, because most don’t accept foreign cards and/or don’t have any English menu.
—Pachinko is still incredibly popular—whole complexes are devoted to it, all very bright and colorful. The gaming places are often called Vegas Vegas!!
—The Japanese love dogs—usually little dogs. The dogs are often rather spoiled, get carried around in baskets or in the owner’s arms even.
—All streets and public places are amazingly clean. When you do see the odd bit of paper garbage or a discarded bottle it stands out like a sore thumb. If garbage is strewn, the culprits are usually the ubiquitous crows.
—For many people, dress is much more casual these days, although workers in stores etc still wear a uniform of some kind and look really neat and tidy. During the day time we hardly saw any yukatas or kimonos—although you see many for sale in special shops.