A Travellerspoint blog

Signs of Japan

sunny 24 °C

The attention to detail in Japan is totally unimaginable to westerners. No purchase is too small not to be boxed, gift wrapped and given its own bag. No snippet of information is too mundane not to have a sign. For instance; this useful sign at our hotel informed us in English that we could take a free copy of this entirely Japanese newspaper…for wrapping tempura and chips perhaps!
In western hotels we might expect to be given soap, shampoo and conditioner, but we could easily travel Japan with just a passport and credit card. Yukatas (robes), slippers, combs, toothbrushes, toothpaste and razors are just the start. Our Niigata hotel offers free shoeshine kits, shoe horns and shoe deodorant in addition to hairdryers, trouser presses, irons, laptops, cellphone chargers, nail clippers, corkscrews, sticking plasters, umbrellas and even a bicycle.

When it comes to sanitary facilities, we’ve previously reported on the all-singing, all-dancing Japanese toilets that have self-lifting covers; heated seats; mood bowl lighting; temperature, direction and pressure controlled bidet sprays; waterfall and musical accompaniments; and built in washbasins. However, it is insufficient to offer such niceties in Japan without a relevant sign. While our loo signs are considered victorious if they manage to point men or women in the right direction, that is not so in Japan. Here you need to be in full possession of the facts before choosing a suitable washroom. This is a typical sign…
Now, non-desperate potential users can browse long enough to conclude that this washroom has six urinals, two regular stalls, a large handicap stall and three washbasins for men. He or she can also determine that it has facilities for pregnant women, parents with children, parents with babies, the elderly, handicapped and the generally wobbly.
Enlightening signage doesn’t end at the toilet door. Once inside we quickly discover that every urinal, stall and washbasin is accompanied by a hook for hanging your brolly…
Umbrellas are important in Japan due to frequent rain, but most western umbrellas are considered unfit for purpose. Japanese umbrellas, on the other hand, are the Samurai of raingear and are rated from 1 to 5 in ascending order based on their ability to withstand wind. Anyone venturing out with a 4 or less in a typhoon is just asking to get drenched, but a Japanese man armed with his number 5 is a formidable foe in any storm. Now, folded wet umbrellas of all grades have a nasty habit of dripping, so all Japanese buildings have one of these at the door…
Just drop in your wet umbrella and it is instantly enshrined in its own waterproof condom. Bingo – no more wet foyer floors and, you might think, no need for signs reading, “Slippery When Wet!” But you would be wrong. The Japanese love signs. There are signs for absolutely everything…
And some of them even make sense.

Posted by Hawkson 17:15 Archived in Japan

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Oh what beautiful memories!!! So glad you are back in this amazing country. Xo

by Trudy

Love the signs and courtesy. Such a contrast to the world of Trump. Will we be seeing you soon? Thanks again.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Hong Kong also has the umbrella wrapping machine in all buildings and stores.

by Samchow58

Fascinating. Wonder what the Ecology card signifies.
Are those restaurant tables below the installation sign? Hopefully it's just perspective that makes the legs look awfully short. Would need help getting up after long dinner.

by R and B

I should have been born in Japan. So civilized!

by Janet

Yes Roy - those restaurant tables, like all traditional ones, are just 12 inches off the floor. There are no chairs. Everyone kneels on the tatami floor mats. Only us westerners sit ungainly with our legs under the table.
Note the temperature change. The forecast high of 18 turned out to be wildly pessimistic and it was a balmy 24 in Niigata today.

by Hawkson

Did you miss the etiquette button?

by Roy P

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