The large majority of Japanese cars have a TV. These are similar in size to the navigation systems here in the US, but with a little antenna attached to it. They also watch a lot of TV on their cell phones.
Talking about cell phones, 99% of people there have one. Cell phones are the most advertised and displayed merchandise in electronic stores. Prices are similar to their equivalent in the US; however, they have more models, with a few more advanced ones not available here yet. They rarely use them to actually call people though; they prefer to watch TV and check their email. They do it at the subway, walking on the streets and while eating.
Cell phones, cell phones and Cameron Diaz
A big surprise was to see how popular Apple is. There are several small shops that sell Apples (mostly used ones) and I’ve seen at least 3 official Apple stores, including this huge one in the fancy district of Ginza. I saw a lot of iPods, especially Nanos. Internet cafes were non-existent.
Cars are mostly small, but there were quite a few larger BMWs, Mercedes and even a few Hummers. Gasoline was expensive to American standards (more than 4 bucks a gallon) and subway tickets were relatively cheap (1-3 dollars for a one way trip depending on distance traveled). Still, roads were always packed.
A typical small Japanese car and a rare Rolls-Royce Phantom
Bathrooms are a separate chapter. Most of the toilets have a bide embedded, and the one in our hotel had a automatic “mini-flush” that went on once you sit down. It also had two water holes at the bottom, so the water goes down one and up the other once the bowl is empty (I believe this is to reduce noise).
Also available (I only saw it in a few places) was this “squat” toilet. Yup. They even have instructions on how to squat so you don’t wet yourself.
The “control panel” of a regular toilet and the squat version
Weird? Yes. Makes sense? Totally!