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Motorcycle Paradise

Japan is nice (off topic)

From time to time on this blog I post some observation whilst riding that may come across negative, but I don’t mean my tone to sound like that.

My life in Japan is really peaceful. It is one of the safest countries I have ever been to with no petty crime. I mean people in regional areas leave their cars running with air con in the car park while they go shopping. Young children travel to school by themselves and afterwards can be found in playgrounds unsupervised until music plays at 5pm (4pm in winter) from the community speaker systems all over the country for them to go home. Takes me back to my carefree childhood, which is more years than I wish to disclose. The stories of the wallet or new phone left on seat that nobody touches are true. Nothing is vandalised, there is no graffiti, public space is less but immaculate and often feature fresh flowers that would be stolen or trampled elsewhere.

It is a very polite society, nobody is pushing in or littering or generally being an ‘arsehole’ for want of a better description. You reserve your seat by placing an item on table at cafe and nobody touches it then everyone returns their tray when done to free up place for another. My former city was the opposite. The attitude is very self centred. Petty crime and theft is rampant. Everything is vandalised, especially public transport where trains have glass so scratched you cannot see clearly out the windows. And this despite being a welfare state like Scandinavia which logically should mean people have less reason to behave like arseholes to borrow that technical term again.

I enjoy a sense of freedom here despite it being a more structured and complex society. Being a foreigner I am not expected to know or follow all of societies rules. That is akin to when you travel somewhere and feel a weight lifted from your shoulders, I have that every day here. Additionally Japan is not a nanny state so people take control of their own actions rather than expect the state to molly coddle them. There are no safety nazi’s draining water features and I ride my push bike without needing a helmet same as I did in my youth.

I have no need for a car here, despite living towards the end of the rail line (65km from downtown Tokyo) I have a train every 5 minutes, every 2nd train is express, 7 days a week. A schedule I was told is ‘impossible’ by my former rail colleagues who struggle to achieve 1/2 hour services.

Amazon delivers same day in Tokyo, it’s crazy but true. No need to carry bulky goods from supermarket or mall, just order online and they arrive that day cheaper than retail.

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The level of customer service here is something I will miss. In Brisbane at best you get treated as an inconvenience. This is a crunchy biscuit type of cream puff from my favourite local bakery. They weigh each one to ensure it has sufficient custard cream filling. Then it is placed in the first wrapper than you use to hold it when eating. Then placed into a paper bag along with dry ice sachet which they place inside folded napkins. The paper bag then is carefully folded and sealed with a sticker embossed with the store logo. That then is placed into the plastic carry bag that is closed and the handles rolled together to make it more comfortable to carry. I am then thanked for my business now and all my previous custom at the shop. All for $1.70.

Meanwhile in my former state, Queensland says it is going to save the planet by banning all plastic bags in shops. Drank too much of the bathwater as a friend I miss would have said.

Well I could have just moved out of the area I lived in rather than the whole country. Probably would have been smarter. But life is just experiences and this has enriched me. I recognise there is a section of Japanese society that merely tolerates foreigners but so far I am too much in my own bubble to be troubled by this.

2 comments

  1. Japan sounds lovely. Your comments on Australia remind me of Oregon though. Our town Corvallis banned plastic bags - they did so several years ago. And to get people to recycle Oregon just upped the bottle deposit fee (doubled to 10 cents). Seems people can't be trusted to do the right thing on their own here. Sad.

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    1. Recycling here is strict. There is about 10 categories of rubbish separation plus special bags each must go in otherwise it is not collected. There is very little recycling in Australia besides aluminium cans. Landfill sites are full of plastic bags so their answer is try ban them. Strange logic, but then it is a country with abundant sunshine and vacant land with a small population that could easy power itself solar yet relies on coal.

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