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No Facebook Update #2

I have thoroughly been loving my Facebook free life.I still feel no desire to mindlessly scroll through the newsfeed first thing in the morning.

I recently re-watched The Social Network. I really like the film and an left intrigued by a young Mark Zuckerberg's ability to manipulate computer code to create a service that has effected millions. Watching the Harvard undergrads, exercise their intelligent power leaves me slightly envious and slightly mystified. However, I ended the film with a relief that I was no longer under that spell. That I was free of that power.

Recently I visited Japan and of course I took photos. Gone are the days that most of us print photos from travels and slip them neatly into photo albums to be shared with family and friends. Those albums are now online and quicker and easier can be share with a much larger audience. So since I didn't have plans to fill a photo album either in physical form or online with my pictures from Japan, what was to become of them?

I don't think anyone takes pictures just for the fun of it. We take them to share with people. To show someone an image of something we saw that they did not. I ended up uploading my photos to my Google Drive account. I shared the album with just the people that I knew may appreciate them and would like to witness proof of my trip. I got no likes, no written comments, no shares. I felt no void in the inability to flip though my own album and view what people were saying about it.

I no longer feel at all alienated by being out of the loop with Facebook buzz. I have noticed some businesses and organizations with only a Facebook presence can be a challenge to get information for, but certain elements about the business are able to be views without logging in to Facebook.

My largest hit has been with this blog. When I shared my posts on my Facebook page, readers easily knew when I had posted something new. Now, I enjoy fewer hits as traffic to my blog has slowed. Now, if you look to the top right of the side column you can type in your email and my updates will be delivered to your inbox. No junk, just Cash's Corner posts!

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A Culture of Clean

Another large thing I noticed about the people of Japan is how clean they try to stay. Personally, I don't mind getting a little dirty sometimes and I don't overly worry myself with germs. I think a little germs can be good for us, building up our immunity. I am rarely sick because I take good care of my health. 

But Japanese don't seem to like germs and they go to great lengths to keep from spreading them. In any public situation I could always see at least a dozen or more people wearing a disposable facial mask covering their mouth and nose. They wear these to keep their own germs to themselves as well as keeping themselves safe from the germs of others. I had to laugh when I saw a section in the convenience store with these masks in them. There had to be at least a dozen different ones to choose from, including scented ones, children's sized, and pretty patterns. They take these masks seriously. 

Hygiene in the bathroom is a big deal! Every toilet I used came complete with many buttons to control the attached bidet to clean yourself with and many had an attached sink which would run water when the toilet was flushed. Some, in train stations came with increased suction for odor control, water sounds for privacy, and heated seats. 


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A Culture of Polite

I had a Japanese friend tell me before I visited that the Japanese are not very friendly. She said that they like to keep to themselves. This meant I wasn't too sure how I would be received.

I went into this thinking that I might not warm to Japanese people too well. The exact opposite turned out to be true.  Meg was right that Japanese aren't so friendly as to say hello to strangers on the street, much like Americans. However, after nearly every interaction with a Japanese person I often walked away squealing like a little girl about how sweet and nice there were to me. 

Many of my interactions were with restaurant employees, cashiers, and attendants at train stations. Everyone was extremely helpful. The first time I made a purchase in a store I was confused by the numerous coins in my hand and the number on the screen that was my total. As I struggled to sift through my handful of coins, the women at the register took it upon herself to pick through and select the coins that it took to make my total bill. 

Tav and I ate in a soup restaurant while traveling. When we left and were about 500 feet down the street from the restaurant, I received a light tap on my shoulder. The waitress has just run down the street to return my cheap throwaway pen that I had unknowingly left behind. I found this to be an incredibly sweet gesture.

When I would interact with a cashier, they would be talking the entire time. I had no idea what they were saying because I couldn't say more than hello and thank you to them. 

I also was bowed on many interactions. I really enjoyed this. It made me feel very special, welcome, and respected. I enjoyed the opportunity to bow back to them, an act that would look strange in American culture. 

I saw all Japanese people conduct themselves and others with a lot of respect and self-control. I never saw one parent raise their voice to a child, never anyone yell on the streets, no car honk its horn (even in Tokyo!) People respected lines and I was never pushed or shoved in any public area. In fact there are even bird sounds playing in all train stations as I assume it is supposed to soothe people.

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Sushi-go-round

Though just about every moment I spent in Japan I loved, there was a few moments that I considered myself in my own form of paradise. 
Sushi has been my favorite food for quite a while, and I was excited to get to Japan and have some amazing sushi. I've always been pleased with sushi here in the USA, but I was expecting great things in sushi's home country. 
Tav and I ate sushi many times, mostly from the grocery store which was made fresh daily. It was always a great price and extremely delicious. 
However, nothing quite compared to my first sushi-go-round experience. This is a concept that was created in Japan and has expanded to other countries. Visitors to the restaurant are sat at a booth along one of many conveyor belts. At this table there are utensils for your use, powdered match green tea, and a spout with hot water for all you can drink hot tea. There is a screen just at eye level that you may rotate through all the images the items you may eat. Mostly everything is sushi, but there are other items such as french fries, more drinks, soups, and desserts. 
You may place an order for exactly what you want, then you patiently wait as the item is quickly made and travels along the conveyor belt to you. When your order is coming near you, yours screen flashes to alert you to grab it. Additionally, there are items made constantly riding along the belt for you to take as you wish. Just be sure not to grab anything atop a red bowl, as it is on its way to someone else! 
Each plate has two pieces of sushi on it. It was some of the most delicious sushi I had ever eaten, despite being a "value" restaurant. Each plate will cost you anywhere between 100 and 500 yen or about one to five dollars. Most of what we ate was only about $1.50 per plate. I also grabbed some mochi balls filled with red bean paste, and some chocolate ice cream for dessert. 
 The sushi-go-round restaurant we went to is called Hamazushi Yokosukachuo-ten. It is located near the US Navel base that Tav works at so it is popular among  US Navel sailors stationed there. This place can be good for just a quick, light, cheap meal. But, it can also leave you stuffed if you are not careful. Even though I could have sat there and eaten myself sick, I was clear when it was time to stop. Tav got to listen to me rave about how much I loved this place. Sadly, I think Jackson is a long way from supporting such a unique thing as this.

 

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Japan: A Mystical Place

Due to having a wonderful friend in the US Navy, stationed in Japan, I got to visit a country I might not have otherwise. But, due to Tav and I's friendship, I have recently been learning more and more about the country, the people, and the culture of Japan. I was so excited to finally see the place I had been reading so much about. 



Our 10 day journey was filled with wonder, excitement, and lots of hand holding. We visited castles, shrines, temples, interesting restaurants, and monkeys.  

There was so much to take in during this trip. Just walking down the street was an assault on the senses. My untrained eyes only took in a small percentage of what there was to see. But, luckily I had an extra set of eyes in Tav, and he pointed out things I would have definitely missed. 

Tav lives near the Navel base in Yokosuka, Japan, about 90 minutes down the coast of the bay from Tokyo. We spent a good bit of time there at his apartment, but we also took single and multiple day trips to experience much of that Japan has to offer. I got to see things that I had never seen before and experience some wonderful emotions. Please follow me over the coming days as I show you my trip and explain all the wonderful things I got to do. 

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