The Witless Clunkery of a Third-Rate Mind

Saturday, May 21, 2005

The Good with the Bad

Any place has its good and bad points. I really believe that Japan's good points outweight its bad points. I feel its important to make that clear because I spend so much time complaining about the bad points. It's just that it seems to be human nature to look at the things that go right, and say, "Well, that's just how everything SHOULD be" and then get outraged at the things that go wrong.

Some examples: Tokyo is ridiculously crowded and busy. But for its size, it's pretty clean, relatively friendly, and very safe. The trains are also very crowded and are fairly expensive for the distance they travel, but they operate like clockwork, are immaculately clean, and the network is extremely extensive.

Now the bad point I want to mention is the common habit of smoking in restaurants. I was just in a restaurant and the people on both sides of me were smoking, and huge clouds of smoke were wafting over my food and into my face. It was so disgusting that I had to leave. The same thing happened to me just last week when I went out with some teachers (two of whom turned out to be chain-smokers!) My eyes started burning and I thought, "To hell with this" and decided to excuse myself and leave early. So one major bad point of Japan is that, despite being generally pretty health-conscious, Japanese people love smoking. And despite being generally quite courteous and considerate, they seem to prefer to ignore the health and comfort of the people around them when it comes to smoking.

It's really strange to me that it is seen as very rude to use your cell phone on a train because you would be disturbing the peace and quiet of the other passengers, and yet it is almost unheard of to have a no-smoking restaurant. This country has a long way to go in some areas.


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