Alright…this is not going to be much of an entry, as between long bilingual meetings and longer multi-culti dinners – there is not much time left for blogging. But blogging is addictive…and it keeps nagging away at that “journalist” part of your brain… “Come on! Broadcast!” it says. So here I am stealing time between two meetings and giving up a smoke to update my blog. (As you can see it has multiple benefits! ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Let me dedicate this entry to a few things that amaze me about Japan…in no particular order of amazement…

1) The Toilets. When the scriptwriters for Star Trek were wondering how to design Captain Kirk’s (commander of the Starship Enterprise) Central Command Station…they would have drawn inspiration from the average Japanese toilet. Only the Japanese can make something as quotidian as “crapping” into an experience akin to video gaming. Of course – there are different models – depending on how fat a manual you can digest… I have seen ones with 200 page manuals describing how to use the various controls, dials, buttons and displays to have the most satisfying defecation in the world. Here is one… the pictures on the buttons are self explanatory. ๐Ÿ˜‰

2) Suica Card: Suica-card is like a instant debit card which is primarily used to pay for subway travel in Tokyo…but one can also use them in vending machines, restaurants, convenience stores etc. Anyone can “buy” a Suica card for 500 Yen (4 dollars) at one of many vending machines at Tokyo subway stations. Then as and when required one can load the card at the same machines with cash. It is so easy that even I could learn how to use it in seconds… and now I don’t carry cash anymore.

All one needs to do is place the card on the arrow as one enters the subway gate…and place it again when one is leaving the subway gate the destination station. It automatically calculates the far and deducts it from the card. This is has completely eliminated queues and ticket counters at Tokyo subway stations…

3) Vending Machines: Sure there are vending machines is most countries around the world (even in India these days!) – but none have reached the sophistication of those in Japan. First… one can find them in every street corner and middle, behind every office, at very floor of every office building, next to the toilets in restaurants, inside the toilets in restaurants…phew. And the variety of wares they carry! Everthing from hot and cold drinks, to snacks, to instant noodles, to condoms, to videos & comics and anything else that can be “dispensed”. I am sure if someone tried to live only on stuff available in Vending Machines – one would survive for many a year… ๐Ÿ™‚

Now it is time to go…people have been breathing down my neck… ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy Reading!

Domo Arigato!