Masking in Japan in 2023

 

I went to Japan over the holidays, where I felt at times like I’d been thrust back into the bowels of 2020, a place I feel no one should ever want to go, but I admit that I should not have been as surprised as I was.

Japan has tighter requirements for entry for foreigners than many other countries in Asia.  The government maintained a restrictive Visa requirement into October 2022.  This is gone now, but for entry in 2023, one must still show either proof of “full vaccination,” which includes at least one booster (three shots), or a PCR test within 72 hours of one’s arrival in the country.

This is, by the way, less stringent in some ways than the rules posted for people flying into the United States, as all non-citizens on flights to the good ol’ land of the free, home of the brave, must show proof of vaccination—no PCR test option available—with only a few exceptions.  (I have never said US policies are driven by logic).

Regardless, once through the customs gauntlet of Japan, I found the Japanese themselves aren’t just into vaccines.  They are still heavily invested in wearing masks in all public spaces, including in parks and on sidewalks.

Per the state in which I live, this was really wild to me.  Masks are not even required at my doctor’s office anymore, and I haven’t owned one in months and months and months.

Of course, I admit while I was in Japan, I was only asked to don a mask myself at a tiny number of attractions: a national palace, an art museum, an aquarium, and a Buddhist temple.  For the most part, the Japanese leave the gaijin (outsiders) completely alone, and I would never voluntarily play along with the Covid costuming unless a request was directly extended to me to wear a mask when going into a building.  Then I’d shrug and take the piece of paper offered to me because… well… Japan is not my country.  There are no traditions of freedom and nonconformity in this island nation.  This is a place with signs that request “modest talking” in restaurants and on trains with strong implications that even whispers might be too loud unless there is an emergency… like someone needs CPR or something.  So I discovered these people do not make me angry in the same way as Americans clinging to Covid hysteria often do, especially since I understand that masks have been a part of Asian culture that long precedes a pandemic.  I hold people from other countries to a different standard, I guess, and I am from a part of the world where being polite is poured into children as much as sweet tea, so when in Tokyo….

That said, when I went skiing in Nagano, I truly felt I’d fallen through the looking glass.  Almost every person there who was Asian was masked up for Covid, yet a glance around at the people made me feel like I was revisiting my childhood in the 1970s, during which I spent a great deal of time enjoying ski slopes in California back when California was still a paradise.

Can you guess what absurdity I observed that made me laugh?

The vast majority of Asian skiers/snowboarders I saw barreling down tree-lined runs at high speeds while strapped to what are essentially sticks on their feet were “protected” against a virus that doesn’t transmit in cold temperatures in the wild, yet they weren’t wearing helmets on their noggins.

Go figure.

Now, don’t get me wrong.

I absolutely believe in the right of individuals to make personal risk assessments in every situation, including on mountains, but this particular juxtaposition of chosen “safety gear” was a bit jarring.

Regardless, Japan is a gorgeous nation, and this wasn’t my first (or last) trip to the Land of the Rising Sun. However, if showing vaccination records and wearing masks and observing intellectual inconsistencies bother you, you may want to opt instead (for just a wee while longer) for tickets to Thailand.

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  1. John H. Member
    John H.
    @JohnH

    Lois Lane:

    However, if showing vaccination records and wearing masks and observing intellectual inconsistencies bother you, you may want to opt instead (for just a wee while longer) for tickets to Thailand.

     

    Or Guatemala

    • #1
  2. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    People in many parts of southeast Asia (including Japan) were routinely wearing masks long before Covid, especially during winter flu season, so current mask-wearing is not necessarily Covid-specific. 

    • #2
  3. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    People in many parts of southeast Asia (including Japan) were routinely wearing masks long before Covid, especially during winter flu season, so current mask-wearing is not necessarily Covid-specific.

    Oh, it is.  I have been to Japan multiple times.  You are absolutely right about wearing masks being more “normal” there, but it was never universal before.  It is almost completely universal in Japan at the moment, which is wild, though the government has advertised their opinion that outdoor mask-wearing is no longer useful.  I mean, walk through the streets of Tokyo.  You’ll see some masks below noses.  You’ll see some maskless people who clearly aren’t from Japan.  You’ll see one or two men in suits with bare mouths.  And then everyone else will be hidden.

    • #3
  4. Manny Coolidge
    Manny
    @Manny

    Actually Japan is the only Asian country that I would consider visiting. Something about their culture intrigues me. Traveling is such a pain these days, I really am not tempted at all. Glad you had a nice time. 

    • #4
  5. Chuck Thatcher
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    Decades ago Japanese citizens would go masked in public.  So not totally surprised at your observations.

    • #5
  6. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Manny (View Comment):

    Actually Japan is the only Asian country that I would consider visiting. Something about their culture intrigues me. Traveling is such a pain these days, I really am not tempted at all. Glad you had a nice time.

    It is a magnificent and very, very different country.  I love Japan.  But they are stuck in a weird place.  

    • #6
  7. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Chuck (View Comment):

    Decades ago Japanese citizens would go masked in public. So not totally surprised at your observations.

    All the time???  I have visited Japan multiple times over multiple decades and never observed universal masking in the past.  

    • #7
  8. Manny Coolidge
    Manny
    @Manny

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Actually Japan is the only Asian country that I would consider visiting. Something about their culture intrigues me. Traveling is such a pain these days, I really am not tempted at all. Glad you had a nice time.

    It is a magnificent and very, very different country. I love Japan. But they are stuck in a weird place.

    Maybe that’s what makes them intriguing!

    • #8
  9. Chuck Thatcher
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    Chuck (View Comment):

    Decades ago Japanese citizens would go masked in public. So not totally surprised at your observations.

     All the time??? I have visited Japan multiple times over multiple decades and never observed universal masking in the past.

    No. Definitely not universal!  But what I was told was that if someone had a cold or something they’d wear a mask to keep from spreading it.  Saw evidence of it in all the places I can recall – from Tokyo to Tamano – that would have been in the early ’70s.  

    But I simply don’t recall seeing masks over here at all, so it stood out to me there.

    • #9
  10. Chuck Thatcher
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Actually Japan is the only Asian country that I would consider visiting. Something about their culture intrigues me. Traveling is such a pain these days, I really am not tempted at all. Glad you had a nice time.

    It is a magnificent and very, very different country. I love Japan. But they are stuck in a weird place.

    Wish I had photographs, was first there in 1971 and we rode bikes around the countryside.  People were warm and friendly, particularly in the small farming communities.  Not much English but we managed – amazing how much a smile and hand motions can accomplish. 

    • #10
  11. Manny Coolidge
    Manny
    @Manny

    Another thought came to me.  Have you visited the Catholic section of Japan?  I believe it’s the Nagasaki area.  This is part of my fascination with the country.  Catholicism had taken root in the country in the 16th century, and when Japanese leadership put a bloody stop to it and actually closed their country from the outside for centuries.  The Catholic community went underground and survived without outside contact for some 300 to 400 years until Japan opened up again in the 19th century.  The great novel Silence by Shusaku Endo, a Japanese catholic, was based on the persecutions of the 16th century.  Not sure how much of this you know, but it is fascinating history.

    • #11
  12. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Chuck (View Comment):

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    Chuck (View Comment):

    Decades ago Japanese citizens would go masked in public. So not totally surprised at your observations.

    All the time??? I have visited Japan multiple times over multiple decades and never observed universal masking in the past.

    No. Definitely not universal! But what I was told was that if someone had a cold or something they’d wear a mask to keep from spreading it. Saw evidence of it in all the places I can recall – from Tokyo to Tamano – that would have been in the early ’70s.

    But I simply don’t recall seeing masks over here at all, so it stood out to me there.

    For sure.  It’s almost universal right now.  It’s not surprising, but that’s definitely about Covid.  And while masks with a cold were polite, masking when healthy is a pretty useless gesture.    

    • #12
  13. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Manny (View Comment):

    Another thought came to me. Have you visited the Catholic section of Japan? I believe it’s the Nagasaki area. This is part of my fascination with the country. Catholicism had taken root in the country in the 16th century, and when Japanese leadership put a bloody stop to it and actually closed their country from the outside for centuries. The Catholic community went underground and survived without outside contact for some 300 to 400 years until Japan opened up again in the 19th century. The great novel Silence by Shusaku Endo, a Japanese catholic, was based on the persecutions of the 16th century. Not sure how much of this you know, but it is fascinating history.

    I watched the movie about Endo, but I’ve never traveled to Nagasaki.  I’ve spent the most time in Tokyo, which I’ve visited multiple times in different periods, and it’s interesting to see changes in culture there.

    For a quick example, there is a “red light” district in Shinjuku (an area of Tokyo) that highlights men now, i.e. women go and buy the time of men for company in a sorta geisha way, which shows the rise of women in power/money.  This sort of consorting while in a relationship is not considered bad.  It’s not uncommon at all for a successful, married man to have a mistress… even expected.  Women have taken a cue?  Definitely not a Catholic one!!!!  They want men to talk to them in a certain way, so they “buy” the relationships they want.

    I’ve been to Kyoto, which people think about when they see tourist photos.

    I’ve climbed Mt. Fuji with my husband.

    I’ve kicked around Yokohama where there is actually a museum for cup o’ noodles, which was surprisingly fun.

    This trip was about skiing in Nagano where the Olympics were held.  This was an interesting experience because it was also unique.  There were a ton of Australians!  The Japanese economy has been garbage for a very long time, so skiing took a hit as a recreational sport.  You can see this in the support infrastructure.  Still, the Japanese Alps are lovely, and we had… again… a very unique experience.

    I agree with Chuck.  The Japanese are very gracious and kind, though a lot of people still don’t speak English.  A man who was taking his kids skiing at our inn went to great pains to try to explain to us the meaning behind some Japanese character on a cup, which was so nice, though we struggled with communication.

    As a side note, I think Japanese women (in general) are extremely beautiful.  And I love, love, lovvvvvvvveeee modern Japanese clothes.  Like Gwen Stefani does.  :)

    • #13
  14. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Another thought came to me. Have you visited the Catholic section of Japan? I believe it’s the Nagasaki area. This is part of my fascination with the country. Catholicism had taken root in the country in the 16th century, and when Japanese leadership put a bloody stop to it and actually closed their country from the outside for centuries. The Catholic community went underground and survived without outside contact for some 300 to 400 years until Japan opened up again in the 19th century. The great novel Silence by Shusaku Endo, a Japanese catholic, was based on the persecutions of the 16th century. Not sure how much of this you know, but it is fascinating history.

    I watched the movie about Endo, but I’ve never traveled to Nagasaki. I’ve spent the most time in Tokyo, which I’ve visited multiple times in different periods, and it’s interesting to see changes in culture there.

    For a quick example, there is a “red light” district in Shinjuku (an area of Tokyo) that highlights men now, i.e. women go and buy the time of men for company in a sorta geisha way, which shows the rise of women in power/money. This sort of consorting while in a relationship is not considered bad. It’s not uncommon at all for a successful, married man to have a mistress… even expected. Women have taken a cue? Definitely not a Catholic one!!!! They want men to talk to them in a certain way, so they “buy” the relationships they want.

    I’ve been to Kyoto, which people think about when they see tourist photos.

    I’ve climbed Mt. Fuji with my husband.

    I’ve kicked around Yokohama where there is actually a museum for cup o’ noodles, which was surprisingly fun.

    This trip was about skiing in Nagano where the Olympics were held. This was an interesting experience because it was also unique. There were a ton of Australians! The Japanese economy has been garbage for a very long time, so skiing took a hit as a recreational sport. You can see this in the support infrastructure. Still, the Japanese Alps are lovely, and we had… again… a very unique experience.

    I agree with Chuck. The Japanese are very gracious and kind, though a lot of people still don’t speak English. A man who was taking his kids skiing at our inn went to great pains to try to explain to us the meaning behind some Japanese character on a cup, which was so nice, though we struggled with communication.

    As a side note, I think Japanese women (in general) are extremely beautiful. And I love, love, lovvvvvvvveeee modern Japanese clothes. Like Gwen Stefani does. :)

    And I should also say I do think that there is a cultural insulation… despite the graciousness of Japanese to guests.  

    • #14
  15. Dotorimuk Coolidge
    Dotorimuk
    @Dotorimuk

    Back in October I joined some friends in a tour group to Vietnam. (They were all Koreans.)

    In Vietnam, there were lots of other Korean tourists everywhere we went, and they were easy to spot because they were the only ones wearing masks. The Vietnamese sure weren’t.

    • #15
  16. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Dotorimuk (View Comment):

    Back in October I joined some friends in a tour group to Vietnam. (They were all Koreans.)

    In Vietnam, there were lots of other Korean tourists everywhere we went, and they were easy to spot because they were the only ones wearing masks. The Vietnamese sure weren’t.

    That’s about the same in Thailand where I also went.  Masks were a thing of the past.  That’s probably another reason why Japan was such a stark contrast!  I am sad I didn’t have time to fit in a place like Vietnam.  Later!!!  :)

    • #16
  17. Mister Dog Coolidge
    Mister Dog
    @MisterDog

    Are they wearing masks in the onsen? That would be hilarious.

    My experience living there all through the ‘90s is that people with colds or the flu often wore masks but not people who weren’t sick.

    • #17
  18. Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. Coolidge
    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr.
    @BartholomewXerxesOgilvieJr

    I fell in love with Japan when we visited in 2016. We made another trip in 2019, and my hope was to go back every couple of years.

    Then the pandemic happened, making another Japan trip impossible until 2022. Now, theoretically, we could finally go again; and yet I sadly find that I feel no great desire to do so. I don’t want to walk down a crowded street without being able to see any other human faces. I don’t want to wear a mask, and I don’t want to feel the silent disapproval of those around me if I choose not to.

    Some people have pointed out that mask-wearing was already “normal” in Japan before the pandemic. That’s true as far as it goes. But look at this picture from our 2019 stay in Osaka:

    There are a couple of masks in that picture, but you have to look for them. And I actually had to hunt through my pictures from Osaka to find one that showed anybody wearing a mask at all. Masks were “normal” only in the sense that nobody thought you were weird if you wore one; but they were not the default.

    That’s the Japan I remember, and the Japan I want to visit again. Unfortunately it seems not to exist anymore, and I’m not sure it ever will again.

    • #18
  19. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Mister Dog (View Comment):

    Are they wearing masks in the onsen? That would be hilarious.

    My experience living there all through the ‘90s is that people with colds or the flu often wore masks but not people who weren’t sick.

    No!  That would have been funny.

    I shared a soak with a strangely free Chinese lady though. 

    We talked about traveling, of course, and she said her work had taken her all over the place.  She was in and out of the US and China throughout the pandemic.  She’d been all over the world with her job.

    I would not even blink at the “global work” aspect of a fellow traveler who was skiing.  However, free movement through a country that has locked people in their apartment complexes until… I dunno… last week????  

    While this lady was very, very nice  (and spoke English better than some of my neighbors), my companion and I left the onsen and immediately commented that we thought we had just been bathing with Xi Jinping’s niece or something.  

    In and out of China for the entire pandemic????

    She was probably connected to the ruling communist party per her wealth and freedom, but I’ll give her some (social?) credit.  At no time did she wear a mask!!!  :)  

    • #19
  20. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. (View Comment):

    I fell in love with Japan when we visited in 2016. We made another trip in 2019, and my hope was to go back every couple of years.

    Then the pandemic happened, making another Japan trip impossible until 2022. Now, theoretically, we could finally go again; and yet I sadly find that I feel no great desire to do so. I don’t want to walk down a crowded street without being able to see any other human faces. I don’t want to wear a mask, and I don’t want to feel the silent disapproval of those around me if I choose not to.

    Some people have pointed out that mask-wearing was already “normal” in Japan before the pandemic. That’s true as far as it goes. But look at this picture from our 2019 stay in Osaka:

    There are a couple of masks in that picture, but you have to look for them. And I actually had to hunt through my pictures from Osaka to find one that showed anybody wearing a mask at all. Masks were “normal” only in the sense that nobody thought you were weird if you wore one; but they were not the default.

    That’s the Japan I remember, and the Japan I want to visit again. Unfortunately it seems not to exist anymore, and I’m not sure it ever will again.

    If you took a JAL flight, you’d be asked to wear a mask, though no one is insistent if you are in business class.  Granted, you can have a glass of wine the entire 15 hour flight!  (There was no way on God’s green earth that I was going to wear a mask after having the “pleasure” of paying for a business class ticket).

    That said, I totally get you.  Funnily enough, I think Westerners are pushing the envelope in Japan.  I was polite, but I noticed that some would simply not play under any circumstances.  We were with a group of Australians at a Buddhist Temple, and they stared blankly when asked to don a mask.  Yet they still went into the temple.  (Australians were a mixed bag like all people, of course, but the people with us voiced their opinions loudly without saying a word).  You could absolutely NOT go into the palace (pictured in my post) without a mask, but this was a national museum.

    Wait a year.  Go again.  I think Japan will be (mostly) normal by then.

    You have to remember, they were closed off from tourist travel until October.

    I absolutely agree with you about universal masking being new.  I’ve also traveled to Japan multiple times.  This was NOT normal, and I definitely found it depressing.  I would not go to Japan again NOW, but don’t give up on the place.  It IS a magnificent country.

    One bonus?

    It is cheaper in the moment than ever in the past….

    • #20
  21. Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. Coolidge
    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr.
    @BartholomewXerxesOgilvieJr

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    I would not go to Japan again NOW, but don’t give up on the place. It IS a magnificent country.

    I won’t give up. I’ve invested eight years (so far) in studying the language, and that would feel awfully pointless if I really have no plan ever to go back.

    I enjoy watching “walking” YouTube videos that explore parts of Japan, both to virtually revisit places I’ve been and to have a detailed look at places I’d like to go. Lately I find myself watching those videos more to see how many people are wearing masks. I have noticed recently that you will occasionally see Japanese people unmasked, though they are still few and far between. But I’m hoping to see that trend continue, and maybe (as you suggest) the return of foreign tourists will encourage that.

    • #21
  22. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. (View Comment):

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    I would not go to Japan again NOW, but don’t give up on the place. It IS a magnificent country.

    I won’t give up. I’ve invested eight years (so far) in studying the language, and that would feel awfully pointless if I really have no plan ever to go back.

    I enjoy watching “walking” YouTube videos that explore parts of Japan, both to virtually revisit places I’ve been and to have a detailed look at places I’d like to go. Lately I find myself watching those videos more to see how many people are wearing masks. I have noticed recently that you will occasionally see Japanese people unmasked, though they are still few and far between. But I’m hoping to see that trend continue, and maybe (as you suggest) the return of foreign tourists will encourage that.

    Take heart! 

    You will absolutely see some Japanese people unmasked. 

    I meant to get off the train at one stop and was confused because I had made a mistake.  Anyway, a very nice Japanese couple stopped to help me.  Granted, they were obviously people who had worked abroad–perfect English–but they weren’t wearing masks at all.  And the Japanese family I mentioned earlier in this stream of comments–the one with the dad who tried to explain in broken English a character on a cup I had bought–were not wearing masks either.  The daughter played a game with me and others in the communal dining area while waiting for the kitchen to bring out Nabe, so we interacted a lot.  The son was a university student who spoke (some) English and gave us tips for Tokyo.      

    But I’m not gonna sugarcoat it. 

    At the moment? 

    Per my imperfect powers of observation, 99 out of 100 Japanese people are masking anywhere in public, including when walking outside.    

    Learning Japanese???  Very cool.  I’ve got “thank you” down, but that’s about it!!!!  :)

    • #22
  23. Chuck Thatcher
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    Lois Lane (View Comment):
    I’ve got “thank you” down, but that’s about it!!!!  :)

    My dad (last there around 1952) told me it was the women that said “domo arigato.”  True or not? I dunno.

    • #23
  24. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Chuck (View Comment):

    Lois Lane (View Comment):
    I’ve got “thank you” down, but that’s about it!!!! :)

    My dad (last there around 1952) told me it was the women that said “domo arigato.” True or not? I dunno.

    Well, *I* have said that because the old pop song with this in the chorus makes it easy to remember, but I think arigatuo is fine on its own, though it’s more casual.  (The “doumo” is a little more deferential and is like adding a “very much” to your thanks).

    I have no idea if such phrases are gendered as they are in places like Thailand.  Maybe women were being more deferential?  We can ask @bartholomewxerxesogilviejr since he is learning Japanese???? 

    My husband did a ton of business in Japan a couple of decades ago, and his default “thank you” is normally “sumimasen,” which is another level of formality. 

    Come to think of it, saying “thank you” isn’t simple in Japan!  :)  

    • #24
  25. Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. Coolidge
    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr.
    @BartholomewXerxesOgilvieJr

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    I have no idea if such phrases are gendered as they are in places like Thailand. Maybe women were being more deferential? We can ask @ bartholomewxerxesogilviejr since he is learning Japanese????

    My husband did a ton of business in Japan a couple of decades ago, and his default “thank you” is normally “sumimasen,” which is another level of formality.

    I have never heard that doumo arigatou is gender-specific, and that certainly is not how it’s taught. There certainly are words and phrases that are typically considered feminine or masculine, but I don’t think that’s one of them.

    The formal version, appropriate in all situations, is doumo arigatou gozaimasu (gozaimasu being a courtesy word you often find appended to polite expressions). But you’ll also hear doumo arigatou, arigatou, and just doumo. My language skills are far too rudimentary to discern what the fine distinctions are, so I generally just opted for arigatou gozaimasu, which is polite without being too formal.

    Sumimasen means “excuse me” or “I’m sorry.”

     

    • #25
  26. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. (View Comment):

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    I have no idea if such phrases are gendered as they are in places like Thailand. Maybe women were being more deferential? We can ask @ bartholomewxerxesogilviejr since he is learning Japanese????

    My husband did a ton of business in Japan a couple of decades ago, and his default “thank you” is normally “sumimasen,” which is another level of formality.

    I have never heard that doumo arigatou is gender-specific, and that certainly is not how it’s taught. There certainly are words and phrases that are typically considered feminine or masculine, but I don’t think that’s one of them.

    The formal version, appropriate in all situations, is doumo arigatou gozaimasu (gozaimasu being a courtesy word you often find appended to polite expressions). But you’ll also hear doumo arigatou, arigatou, and just doumo. My language skills are far too rudimentary to discern what the fine distinctions are, so I generally just opted for arigatou gozaimasu, which is polite without being too formal.

    Sumimasen means “excuse me” or “I’m sorry.”

     

    Thank you!

    Just as a note, I believe “sumimasen” as “I’m sorry” works as an expression of “thanks” in Japan because there is an implication of “I’m sorry for your trouble, i.e. thank you for taking the trouble.”  At least this is how it was explained to me? 

    Worth looking at to know if my poor husband has been saying it wrong!  :). He was definitely taught it within the context of work and deference. 

    I’ve heard “gozaimasu,” too, but I’ve stuck mostly with “arigatou” and a slight bow since my little brain can only hold so much!  

     

    • #26
  27. Dotorimuk Coolidge
    Dotorimuk
    @Dotorimuk

    One of my favorite experiences in Japan (in a small city called Hirakata) was, after paying in a restaurant, the restaurant staff would give a short burst of a cheer for you as you left. Kind of a nice thank you.

    In Korea, you usually just get a cold stare.

    Two countries extremely close together, but worlds apart.

    • #27
  28. Chuck Thatcher
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    Dotorimuk (View Comment):

    One of my favorite experiences in Japan (in a small city called Hirakata) was, after paying in a restaurant, the restaurant staff would give a short burst of a cheer for you as you left. Kind of a nice thank you.

    In Korea, you usually just get a cold stare.

    Two countries extremely close together, but worlds apart.

    Truth.

    • #28
  29. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    I love that people in this community like to travel and have seen so much of the world.  I have not been to Korea, but Asia is incredibly diverse when thinking about cultures.  My husband’s favorite big city in the world is Tokyo.  (I certainly understand this appreciation, though I’m much more boring.  My favorite big city in the world is London).

    • #29
  30. Chuck Thatcher
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    I love that people in this community like to travel and have seen so much of the world. I have not been to Korea, but Asia is incredibly diverse when thinking about cultures. My husband’s favorite big city in the world is Tokyo. (I certainly understand this appreciation, though I’m much more boring. My favorite big city in the world is London).

    Well…some like to travel, some have seen much of the word.  Me, I’m in the latter group. 

    There is still lots to see and do and hear in this country (and not enough years.)

     

    • #30
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