That seems to be the japanese way to powder your nose or talk to a man about a horse... At least they also had an explanation on the wall, that was quite helpful, although I would have really prefered it the ordinary european way.
I saw this toilet in the size of a toy inside the castle of Osaka, its size might fit for japanese people, but tall men like me might have some problems there ! ;-)
We had been in several shrines and I gave them numbers, so its easy for me and maybe also you to distinguish them as long as I have no idea, what real name these shrines have.
After the ceremony in that shrine Nr1 (see it also as Nr1 in my off-the-beaten-path-tips) we had got a small present, packed in a plastic-box and wrapped in paper.
I did not dare to eat or taste it, it did not smell bad, but you never know and its always best to be careful. maybe it was soap or what-ever, maybe someone can give me some explanations here !
Take a look at these cute school-uniforms: the girls with their lovely hats and the boys with nice caps, that was interesting for me to see, because school-uniforms are something that are almost totally unknown in my part of the world, but sometimes we see them on TV of course.
Many people will wear a mask because of the pollution, that is quite strange for us to see as well, because I think the quality of the japanese air is not a lot worse than ours.
In the streets you will at some places see trees that are lighted at night, that looks quite funny and romantic. It has nothing to do with christmas, because we had been there in March.
We had 3 nights in Osaka and each night I made some stroll through the city and always felt perfectely safe.
I had seen something similar in some of the temples that we have visited in Japan, but here, in the castlepark of Osaka palace one of the trees was also used in order to hang there pieces of paper with wishes in the trees.
I've put under my Tokyo page, a number of customs I've learned about the Japanese, since more people are likely to read about Tokyo, and I don't want to repeat pages...
But here I've got a couple of points that only affected me in Osaka, although they reflect all of Japanese society.
1) In the hotel, one will find a Yakuta - a canvas/cotton full-length robe, with a short-sleeve jacket.
This is the preferred dress for getting out of your work-day (or tour-day) clothes, and relaxing for the evening.
It is NOT meant for going down to the restaurant and dining in(!) - no, I didn't... :> I knew better!
However, I went for a bath, since the washroom in the hotel room was only a shower, and wore this down there, and while I did some laundry in the hotel rear lobby.
2) The Japanese bath is a strange thing to us westerners - we find the bath a private affair (if two people get in the tub, the other had better be your better half!).
The Japanese, however, perhaps due to (somewhat) limited natural resources like fresh water, have turned it into a family affair, and the concept of the public bath are still very much part of life here. Why not? The Romans did it, too!
Public baths exist perhaps now only in resorts, hotels, health clubs & other public places of gathering, rather than like a public restroom, where any stranger can wander in off the street.
The key here is that what we Westerners think of as a bath, is NOT! Here, one is expected to wash first, usually in a small area with stools, soap & mirrors - and a shower nozzle to rinse off with - BEFORE getting into the bath itself, which is only for relaxing, chatting & easing one's muscles - but be warned - the Japanese bath is kept at considerably hotter temperatures than we are used to... I could only stand about 3 minutes before leaving - by the time my fair skin would get used to it, I'd have been redder than a lobster. i went in a 2nd time, but to no avail - it was simply 5-10 degrees too much for me.
*I feel good, however, that I DID try... :>
We took a train to Osaka and spend the idle time eating potato chips and taking mini bites at chocolates. Me and my friends cannot help but noticed that we ( filipinos ) are the only ones eating inside the train. The Japanese would glance at us every now and then, some with smirk on their faces. Too late for us to realize that it is not advisable to eat just about anywhere. Japanese people are so well mannered that when they want to eat, they have to go and look for a proper place where they can sit down where they can partake their food with gusto. Well, we Filipinos can eat just about anywhere. We are basically munchies ! We eat inside the malls while walking, in the theaters, in the car and in the funerals. Don't you notice ? We go to funerals ( especially the chinese funerals ) and you see an abundance of peanuts, chips, watermelon seeds , goldilocks cakes and so on. Some even have catered food with matching waiters to serve you ! Now i know why we have roaches everywhere.
Hello: Check this website. I use this site to know more about the culture. Just scroll down and look for the Japanese section.
But as a general tip based on my interaction with the Japanese (Business and Friends). Gift giving is all about friendship and a step for business relationship
(1) Good Gift presentation/package is a must.
(2) Proper timing to give the gift and letting your host know ahead of time
(3) Symbolism so like pairs is lucky, 4 is not.
(4) Nice to know "Hajimemashite Dozo Yoroshiku" How are you and please to meet you. Can also mean. How are you and please take care of me.
One of the curious things I have noticed in my travels around Japan is the habit of making a peace sign when posing for a photograph. Almost every time I have seen Japanese people pose for photographs, they are forning a V with their two lomgest fingers. I wonder why this is. Does anyone know?
The woman at this picture was the waitress who brought me a very refreshing beer at the Hard Rock Cafe. I took the photo because I was amazed at her collection of pins and I did not ask to get a peace sign. It just came naturally.