In all honesty, I expected Japan to be way different compared to the other countries that I have been to. And it certainly is obvious from the moment the aeroplane touched down on the tarmac of Narita Airport. As the plane was taxiing to the disembarkation bay, I noticed the airport workers on the tarmac bowing to the plane passing by as a mark of respect. Similarly, when I boarded the bus from Narita to Shinjuku, every time the bus was about to move to the next stop, the attendant at the stop would bow down in respect. I find this aspect of the Japanese culture interesting, as it seems that respect is embedded within their society. They do it because showing respect is a part of their norm. It is not something that is forced on them - at least, that's how I view it.
After two days in Tokyo, I have done quite a bit of travelling in order to meet up with Malaysian students around the capital city. Here, I get to experience first hand the well-known efficiency of Japanese transportation. The accuracy and efficiency is excellent, bar none. Honestly, if public transport in Malaysia can be half this efficient, I think most of us would feel more than happy.
Cleanliness is again another enviable trait of the Japanese people. You could hardly see any litter or cigarettes being thrown on the streets, walkways, trains or underpasses. I noticed that almost all parts of the city that I have gone to have signs that forbid people from smoking on the streets. Do this in Malaysia, and suddenly you will get complains left, right and centre.
Another fascinating observation is the reading culture. In the past, I actually envisaged that almost everyone who commutes would be reading a book when they are in the trains or buses. However, this is not the case (at least from my first two days of observing). About half of the commuters would read (books, comics, newspapers or magazines), but interestingly the other half would be busy texting messages on their handphones. I guess with the advent of technology, people have begun to shift from reading books to texting messages.
I have about two more weeks to go. I am pretty sure I will get the chance to experience more of the Japanese way of life. I will certainly jot them down here if I have the opportunity.