They even have me at it, bowing, they do it al the time, for everything. Bow when you order a beer, give you your change, buy a bus ticket, bow when you open a door, bow bow bow wow wow! A simple thank you or cheers just doesn’t seem good enough anymore, so I find myself bowing back, weird, but I’m getting into it in a perverted sort of way. You bow to me I’ll bow better back at you and more bowey. These people are mercilessly polite.
They Japanese seem to me to be a nation that heap serious pressures on themselves. Everything has to be so meticulous, clean, orderly. I watched a construction team working from the balcony of my hotel and I couldn’t believe it. The guy operating the digger was wearing pristine white overalls and white gloves. The other fellahs were wearing equally clean overalls. They were digging a hole for some reason and when I saw the results of their efforts the next day I could barely make out where they had been working. The seams and joins in the tarmac would put to shame the results of some of the work I’ve seen some plastic surgeons do. Now that is pressure where it isn’t necessarily needed. The taxi drivers are all like Parker out of the Thunderbirds, white gloved, black suited in shiny waxed cars, you can see your reflection in the paintwork. Some things like smoking in restaurants and bars and trains I found unusual for such a health conscious society yet you go to some streets and they are smoke free zones. They Japanese seem to have an obsession with taming nature. All the parks we visited are practically manufactured, that bonsai way of taming trees, brushing the trees so the dead and nearly dead leaves fall off, gardeners in clean pressed overalls trimming stuff with scissors. The pathways all cordoned off so you can’t get too close to the trees and plant life.
We had to get out of Tokyo pretty quickly, it was too much with the children. The frenetic pace of the place and the cost was enough to make our minds up that it was definitely a place to visit without the kids. So we decided to get the hell out and head to Kyoto.
We got the Shinkansen , bullet train to Kyoto which was something I have always wanted to do and I wasn’t disappointed. I have never been on something as fast on the ground as this, this thing tootles along at 360Kph. I was taking some video out of the window and reviewing it later the train was going so fast that the buildings appeared warped and bending in the footage as we screamed silently past. What a smooth ride, this thing flies effortlessly into corners where you can see and feel it tilt to the side to accommodate the speed and g-force. We left Tokyo at 2 in the afternoon and were in Kyoto by 4.30 pm .Right now as I am writting this there is some guy, looks like a business man just home, suit and tie, it is about 10.30pm and he is outside on the street picking up what looks like tiny pieces of paper or small leaves, hello!