vending machines as facade in Kyoto
I'm not one of those people who uses many emoticons or slangy online chat speech (although I'm a victim of the occasional 'lol' and :D ). But I want to declare that I <3 Japan. Somehow it seems more appropriate given the graphic and often cute nature of things Japanese.
It's been almost a week since coming back to the States. And I miss Japan. My schedule this week could be seen as a trail of Japanese moments:
- On Tuesday, I decided to write my final research paper for the Theory of City Form on Tokyo.
- On Wednesday, I checked out 20 books on Tokyo from Rotch library and wrote my paper proposal (looking at Tokyo's seemingly spontaneous urban development as related to slum development).
- Today I went to the MIT bookstore and got a book of Fumihiko Maki's essays on architecture and the city.
- I also ate udon with Reem and Ryan at Samurai, one of the few Japanese restaurants in Boston.
Some things that remain in mind, in no particular order:
- incredibly generous and kind people (embodied in omotenashi, which is hard to translate into English)
- heated beverages from ubiquitous vending machines
- the juxtaposition of the old and new, found in the most unexpected places in the urban fabric
- heated toilet seats, even in public restrooms
- constant politeness in the form of "sumimasen"s and perpetual bowing
- convenience stores that actually have tasty foods and are...well, convenient
- impeccable attention to details, especially in the design world. and packaging.