Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Interesting Things In Japan

Living in a foreign country is always full of surprises, or doing things differently.  Even though some of these items are probably in the United States, I never saw or used them regularly.  There are so many things I could blog about, but here are just a number of things I think are practical or worth talking about:

Umbrella (Kasa) Accessories

Even though we moved here from The Pacific Northwest, we rarely used an umbrella.  We had them, but we usually wore raincoats, or Gortex rather than toting an umbrella around...unless it was soccer season.  In Japan, umbrellas are an accessory.  Almost every man, woman, and child carries one with them when it is raining, or not.  When it isn't raining I've seen many women using the umbrellas to shield themselves from the sun.  There are umbrella stands outside of convenience stores, malls, etc.  You can also find plastic bags to cover your umbrella with so that you do not drip mizu (water) all over the ground.  What a smart idea.  We got with the trend and bought a really cute umbrella stand with some colorful umbrellas for our entry way at our house.

Bags for your wet umbrella!
Our umbrella holder.

 Drain Cover/Basket

I think the most interesting thing about our stainless steel sink in our house is the drain cover.  I hadn't thought much about this item before, except the one we had back home was very small.  The one here in Japan not only hides the food, but the basket that contains the food remnants is very large.  My friend told me yesterday that the 100 Yen Shop has liners you can buy for this type of drain.  The Japanese really do think of every last detail.

  No more looking at all that old food you just washed off your dishes.

Tote Bags When Walking The Dog

There are tons of dog owners here in Japan.  What I noticed most when going to the park closest to my house is that almost all dog owners (both male and female) carry a small tote bag with them when they walk their dog.  At first, I didn't really pay much attention to it, but then realized that the Japanese carry these totes to keep clean-up supplies, etc in these totes.  I think that's because there are virtually no public garbage cans to dispose of animal waste and the Japanese don't want to walk around carrying their dog's business in a plastic bag for the whole world to see.

An example of a type of tote a dog owner might have.

Rice Cabinet

They have special pieces of furniture in Japan to store, dispense and cook rice on.  We just got a used rice cabinet last week from one of  Justin's co-worker's.  I was hesitant to have one more thing in my tiny kitchen, but this cabinet has turned out to be very practical for us.  We no longer have to measure out rice for the rice cooker because it's done for us, plus we have more storage space which is a bonus! 
The rice cabinet.  Left side stores/dispenses rice.

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