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Experiencing Japanese Punctuality

Some time ago, I talked with my colleague Ayano about the different forms Japanese thoughtfulness can take. She then remembered her manager at a previous company, who would do everything to show up precisely on time when having meetings at a client’s place. “If you’re late, it’s rude. If you’re too early, it can be…

Surviving the Japanese Heat

The Japanese summer heat, with its high humidity, is famous for being difficult to bear. Japanese people themselves have a hard time coping with it, and “Atsui ne,” [“It’s so hot, isn’t it?”] is the seasonal start of most conversations. Summer 2020 is an exception in the sense that it is even worse than usual….

Why Do the Japanese Fold Toilet Paper?

Japanese washrooms have been attracting attention worldwide for some time. Common topics include the famous high-tech toilets with heated seats, and the cleanliness and abundance of public washrooms in the country. However, this time I’d like to talk about toilet paper. It’s not that Japanese toilet paper is exceptional compared to other countries’, even if…

Are Tokyo’s Streets Really Clean?

Tokyo’s street cleanliness is a natural object of admiration among foreign visitors. “Japanese people don’t litter” has become one of the most famous misconceptions about Japan, along with “Japanese trains are always on time.” Tokyo is indeed cleaner than most big cities anywhere else in the world, and Japanese people tend to be extra careful…

When Thoughts Become New Worlds

While Haruki Murakami and Hayao Miyazaki have become household names around the globe, there’s one Japanese creator who also deserves mainstream recognition: Hideo Kojima, the game designer best known for the Metal Gear franchise. I’ve been aware of his work since the original Metal Gear game was ported over to the Nintendo Entertainment System back…

Thoughtfulness at 30,000 Feet

When you live almost 5,500 miles away from your hometown, you tend to spend a lot of time flying, experiencing varying levels of hospitality and thoughtfulness throughout the process. One flight I’ll never forget is when I was flying with my mother on an ANA flight from Tokyo to Okinawa in 2010. The flight was…

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