➟ The Japanese work environment

While we are working, conversations must be something related with the work. Personal chatting among colleagues is basically considered inappropriate. For shops, sales persons should not take a seat. They’ll always stand and ready to bow when customers enter the store. Sales person sitting on a chair gives customers goofing impressions? I don’t know, but I have never seen any cashier sitting at a check out counter at supermarket in Japan.
In this summer, I’ve traveled Sydney (Australia), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Brussels (Belgium), Venice and Florence (Italy) but I have seen shop workers always chatting with colleagues even if there are customers in the store. I’ve seen many people from all these cities working much more relaxed than Japanese people.
Much of the post is about how hard it is for Japanese workers to take long vacations of more than five days. I started out feeling it was a uniquely Japanese problem, but it really isn’t too different here. At the very least, we aren’t prevented from having personal conversations in the workplace.


➟ Vintage Tokyo subway courtesy posters

Don’t Forget Your Umbrella (October 1981)

If you’ve seen the Tokyo Metro company’s recent “Please Do It At Home” campaign, it might interest you to know that they’ve been at the batshit-crazy poster game since the 1970s. Click through for illustrations of considerate trainfaring starring Superman, Hitler, Catholic nuns, and Astro Boy.


Japanese traffic lights red, yellow, blue? – JapanSugoi – Everything Cool about Japan

From JapanSugoi:

In Japan, green traffic lights are considered “blue” and described as ao shingō (青信号). In modern Japanese although there is a word for “green” (”midori 緑”), which is a relatively new term that has only been used since the Heian Period. Even after “midori” came into use, green was still thought of as a shade of “ao” instead of an independent color and only became distinguished after World War II.

Includes a couple other interesting examples of how culture filters even things we take for granted, like the color of the moon.


Photos from Japan

Late last year, I wrote about returning from my trip to Japan and sorting through the 2000 photos I’d taken. I finished the job of uploading them to Flickr quite a few weeks back, but neglected to post the links here.

This is the entire set on Flickr, but you will see less as an anonymous member of the public, and a few more if you’re listed as one of my friends.

This is a ‘Best of’ set that I put together, with 150 photos in all (again, depending on your friendship status), which is much easier to get through.

This is a 94-photo subset of the main album focused on Tsukiji, the largest fish market in the world.



Ryoanji zen garden