… but it’s pretty impressive.

A Few Little Things I Really Like About Japan

おもてなし: Loosely translated as “hospitality,” but that’s a tremendous understatement. Japanese customer service is amazing, occasionally bordering on excess. They’ve grown up in a culture that promotes it, so it’s only natural for them to do the same when they get a job. For the rest of us, it’s the best kind of culture shock.

Safety: Japan is a pretty safe place, to the point that violent crimes and kidnappings make national news due to their rarity. It helps that Japan is a homogeous society that doesn’t have a constitutional right to bear arms (meaning guns are pretty rare here).

English Signs: I’m guessing it was something done during the occupation, but all signs for subways, trains, highways, and other public transportation venues have English transliterations for place names (at the least). Some of those kanji are hard to remember, especially ones usually used in place and family names, so the English is helpful.

Photographic Intuition: Maybe it’s because photography is a popular hobby here, but Japanese are very good about agreeing to take strangers’ photos when asked — assuming they haven’t offered to do it first — so everyone can be in the picture. In return, don’t be surprised if they ask you to do the same.

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