יJapan, speculations and observations – part 4.
1. Next, Free Guide: Volunteer organizations that lead tourists for one day, for free.
There is a need to coordinate with them prior to the tour, you need to write a few words about yourself, and if the dates you chose are fitting for a suitable guide, he will contact you.
For them it is a unique opportunity to practice their English and meet people from all over the world.
For us, these days had great value. In Kyoto we were able to meet on the first day, and so we got an overview on Japan and the city. In Tokyo we met on the last, and thus got answers to the questions that accumulated throughout the trip.
Our tour guide in Tokya was a financial consultant (with an MBA for the USA), and he took approximately one day off every month for this cause. They do not get any salary or tip, but we pay for all expenses – travel, food and drink, and entrance fees. When we invited him to ascend with us the Tokyo Skytree (the tallest tower in the world as of 2011), he got very excited (and said that he took us there to see it from the outside – as I am an architect, and that it is very expensive).
When we invited him for a drink at the end of the day, he seemed overtake with joy. Definitely a good idea.
By the way, even in small towns you can find pensioners in train or information centers, that will gladly join you, and share there knowledge and experiences with you.
2. It is clean here. Very.
3. There are no dispense bins, almost at all. In the street, the metro, in museums, in Seven-Elevens (that show every 100 meters, and are called ‘conbini’ – a cute short name for ‘convenience store’).
Sometimes you can find a bin behind vending machines (which you can’t go 20 meters without passing), though they are only for recycling cans and bottles.
4. To this the Japanese guide said that they do not like seeing unaesthetic things, and trash bins are such. Thus, you are not supposed to create trash (not possible – a very consuming society) – or to take you waste home with you.
In the photographs:
Skytree, on a random background including Philip Stark in a Asahi Beer building, Tokyo
A park in Tokyo – no dust bins.
A sky view of Tokyo – no dust bins
An arrow north, the caesar’s palace, Tokyo
A Taxi’s front, they are all this way. Who’s free in Allenby?
All dogs here (as few as they are) are dressed (some even have diapers!) or have haircuts. Mostly heart-shaped.