Apr 10, 2012

The Japan Chronicles - Part 4

Our time in Japan went much too swiftly, and here I am back in Tennessee.  Just a few more impressions to share with you.

I was impressed with the way things are packaged.  This is a selection of different kinds of rice, in a store that I would compare to Whole Foods in the U.S.  So much thought is given to the appearance and presentation of things in Japan, and the wrappings can be quite elegant.

Look how this meat is carefully arranged in it's packages to look appealing.  This was at one of the street markets, not a high end shop.

Here's one of the places I enjoyed the most, best described as a kind of street market, only pedestrian and bicycle traffic allowed.  Shops line both sides, offering all kinds of goods and services, and farmers selling their goods from stands set up in the center of the street.

Bicycles are everywhere, and everyone walks.  Cars are a real luxury, with gas at about $6.70 per gallon, and almost no free parking.  There are also significant license and inspection fees each year, of several hundred dollars, calculated on the size of the engine.

You can find almost everything, from a pharmacy,to the Pachinko Parlor,  to the 100 yen store (like the Dollar Store), to this Dog Spa.  We saw so many more dogs this trip, and Japanese dog owners are very loving and proud of their companions.

This shop specializes in school uniforms.  Most Japanese school children wear uniforms, and we saw these styles on kids all around.

This chart was in the window display - don't you love the rabbits?  Kaku is the uniform manufacturer.

While I was taking the photos, the girl on the right came running out of the shop to ask if we were American?  She was excited because she had done a Homestay in Portland, Oregon, and we were a good chance for her to practice her English.  Homestays, when Japanese students spend time abroad, living with a host family and practicing their English, are very popular.  It was a delight to encounter this girl, who spoke very good English.  Although all Japanese take English in school, and can read and write English, it is much harder to learn to use it conversationally, and most of the places we went, we were the only English speakers.  I think this may be different in some of the bigger cities, like Tokyo or Yokohama.   Everyone was kind and friendly to us, even though we do not speak any Japanese. These three young ladies who work in the Uniform shop are a good example, and were so pleased when I asked if I might take their photo.

This a flower shop along the shopping street. We saw flowers and plants tucked in everywhere.

Food was everywhere!  These are sweet snacks, cookies, candy, cake and sweet crackers.

Here are savory snacks, like crackers and chips in amazing flavors - seaweed, wasabe, green pea, shrimp.

These are Bento boxes, single portion take out meals, usually rice with meat or fish and some kind of pickled vegetables.  You see these everywhere, in super markets, convenience stores, train stations.  Bento is a typical lunch, and Moms carefully pack Bento boxes for school lunches.

If you'd prefer one stop shopping, there are lots of supermarkets, too, including Costco and Walmart.  I was surprised to see lots of Churros being enjoyed in Japan, until my son explained that they were introduced by the Costco food court.

Here's a small part of the dried mushroom selection.

And, so many noodle choices!  The produce selection was amazing as well.

So, that's a little look at what we saw and did.  If you ever have a chance to visit in Japan, I hope you'll go.

One last photo, and my favorite of all.

Thanks for dropping by, from the Dog and me.


  1. Oh Jan, Kana is absolutely beautiful! ♥ What a joy these posts were to read! I especially love reading about their culture and traditions. Thank you for sharing with us. :> )

  2. Jan you have no idea how wonderful it was to see and read all about your visit. Kipp has to wear a suit to teach english at his schools. They are serious about their children's education. What a beautidul place and kind people. The picture of the meat display was amazing. I mean it looked good enough to eat raw! I agree the last picture would make anyone smile.

  3. Jan, as I said before, your grandchild is so adorable! What a fascinating culture! I thoroughly enjoyed reading all about your trip so if you have more things to talk about and more photos to share... I'm waiting! :)

  4. Dear Jan,
    what a lovely post!!! It's fantastic to travel with your photos...
    Thanks :-)))

  5. what a joy to see and read about your trip to Japan Jan! Thank you for sharing!

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  7. Jan Im just catching up with your pictures of Japan.Ive so enjoyed them and learing more about this country and I must say I love what I have learned. It's so interesting. Hugs~~Pam