Saturday, 26 January 2013

Australia Day: dining from Japan's buffet

Imagine all the countries of the world on a giant Lazy Susan in the middle of a giant dining table.

I sit down, give the Lazy Susan a spin, and the country of Japan lands in front of me.

Here's what I would unload onto my Australian plate from Japan:

  1. Alcohol vending machines.   And it's not just the easy access to alcohol which is impressive, but the fact that Japan has these machines anywhere and everywhere - hotel corridors, street corners, alleyways.   If you installed one in Australia, I get the sense that you'd only have to turn your back and it would be vandalised and emptied of its contents before you can say "Asahi".   Which leads to...
  2. Sparkling cleanliness.   No graffiti on the metro, no vandalism of vending machines, clean underground stations.   So many people and so much order.
  3. Politeness.   I'm not sure anyone does manners quite like the Japanese.   Even buying something from the 7Eleven feels like a formal occasion.  The downside is that it makes you feel like a rude, knuckle-dragging Neanderthal.
  4. Cities that work.  Super fast public transport that runs on time in rain, sun and snow.
  5. Harajuku fashion sense.  OK, so maybe not the fashion itself (not sure Little Bo Peep is going to catch on) but I like the idea of it.  It's fun, non-threatening and spices up their metro journey and mine.

Perhaps one thing which can stay on the Lazy Susan:

A cartoon character for every occasion.   Sometimes important health messages aimed at adults are best delivered without a cute animated panda.


  1. Hey, don't forget the wonder invention of the 20th century: not the Nintendo, not the Walkman, not the Handicam ... the Toto Washlet!