By , November 15, 2004 00:00

I really did mean to send an update while I was in Japan. However, I guess I never did get around to writing this up and now I’m back in Boston. Better late than never.

If you have the opportunity to visit either China or Japan, I would definitely put my recommendation on the former. While Tokyo was interesting and fun (I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so much raw fish in my life), it didn’t have the same cultural feeling as Shanghai, China. There were two chief differences in my mind: the first was the sound and the second was the architecture.

Japan was just so quiet compared to China. Every time you went out in China, you took your life in your hands and the noise level was incredible. Horns, horns and more horns. There was no such thing as lanes and turns, it was a fight with noise and size to make it anywhere. The first thing that hit me about Japan was that there were no car horns at all. (They also drive on the left, as in England and Australia.) It just seemed that the traffic flow was so quiet. It carried over into conversation as well. People spoke in low, muted tones and were very withdrawn and hushed.

The seond chief difference was the architecture. China had huge towering new architecture everywhere you looked of all shapes and sizes . To contrast this, Japan seemed to have been built in the 1960’s with little new development since then. It was just another Western style city with square block buildings. Outside of the Emporer’s palace and park, the city reminded me of any other in North America. Perhaps it was just the zip and zest that seemed to be missing.

There were many other differences as well. English seems to be spoken much better in China than in Japan where I needed an interpreter for several of my meetings. The food also seems to be more singular around sushi, tempura and raw fish (all very good). There were many more McDonald’s and Starbucks in Tokyo, but that could simply be because of the capitalist government. Another very fascinating aspect of Japanese culture was that no one shakes hands. Everyone bows to each other several times. From a sanitary perspective, I would say that this is generally a good thing.

Anyway, back to work today and catching up on a million things from last week. I forgot to take my camera with me, but I will certainly be uploading some pictures tonight or tomorrow. Smile all.

Leave a Reply