< class="pagetitle">Posts Tagged “It’s the Little Things”

It’s not unusual for me to go a day or two without using “regular” utensils.

We were out shopping a couple days ago and Yuko asked me a question I never imagined I’d hear-
“Do you think we need another fork?”
-and it reminded me that until last weekend we had exactly one fork and exactly one (table) knife.

In our “silverware drawer,” there’s a section for cooking utensils (including two pairs of 30cm chopsticks and standard slotted spoons and whatnot), a section for chopsticks (filled to overflowing, in fact… just counted, eight pairs), and a section for miscellaneous utensils (including a couple muddlers, four full size spoons, a few dessert spoons and dessert forks, and the utensils you see pictured here).

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Japan is obsessed with individualized packaging. Case in point: I bought this bag of cookies without reading it too carefully expecting… I don’t know, a bag full of cookies, right?

When I opened it though, I found exactly FIVE cookies, each individually wrapped in its own little clear plastic bag. It’s the same story with most foods here though, so I can’t be too surprised.

I’ve seen party bags of snacks, segmented into handful-size plastic bags of snack mix. I’ve even (coincidentally) bought packages of sembei, those delicious Japanese rice crackers, with each cracker individually wrapped. And don’t get me started on bakeries that put each item on a piece of plastic, then wrap that whole thing in a small plastic bag, then put that bag in a large plastic shopping bag for you.

For a country that prides itself on being ecologically minded, there sure is a lot of excessive packaging.

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No open container laws.

In the left cup holder is an open Asahi beer, and in the right is an open bottle of tea. In all fairness though, Japanese people do not mess around with alcohol and driving a car. There’s none of that “I’ve only had a couple, I’m okay to drive” thinking that you sometimes find in the states. If you’ve had alcohol, you don’t drive.

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Pictured on the left is a wall plate of five Japanese light switches. They’re always mounted to switch horizontally (as opposed to vertically in the US). The little oval mark is the “on” position, which always seems to be on the right. The bottom two switches are for vent fans (I took this picture in a commercial kitchen), which when switched on, are backlit by a red light.

Also interesting is that most switches are outside of the room they’re switching, so you have to turn the light on before you enter a room, or you’ll have to go back out if you forget.

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In Japan, patrons get a little plastic basket to hold movie concession items. At the end of the movie, employees stand outside each auditorium to collect the baskets (now containing each patron’s refuse).

Also possibly related- Japanese theater floors are not sticky.


Basket pictured in front of a Terminator 4 (ターミネーター4) poster

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I’m starting a new series of posts on my blog today. It’s basically just a quick blurb about something unexpectedly different between America and Japan. So, without further ado, here’s “It’s the Little Things,” part the first.

Pheer my mad Photoshop skillz 99% of the time (anecdotally, of course) locks in Japan lock with what I’d call “underhand” rotation, meaning that the lower part of the lock matches the movement of the bolt- as opposed to American locks, where the movement of the bolt typically mirrors the movement of the upper part of the lock.

Pictured is my apartment door, currently locked.

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