Things that our Tokyo neighborhood has that our Portland neighborhood doesn’t:
A government employee who is the weekday school-hour crossing guard:
6 vending machines within a block of our front door (7, if you count the cigarette machine):
Several shrines and temples, including two that we walk by on our way to school every day:
And this one in the other direction:
A tatami repair shop–the smell of tatami wafting out of that place is so great!
Public Japanese toilets–I’ve never had to use these particular ones, since my house is only a block away!
A taxi passing by at least every 3 minutes–due in part to the aforementioned public toilet and cigarette vending machine in close proximity. We never have to wait for a cab!
A bell melody that rings over a loudspeaker every day at 5:00 PM
announcing cocktail hour testing the emergency response sound system
These bottles of water around planters all around the neighborhood (what is that for, anyway?):
Also note, in the photos above–bikes just sitting there, not locked up, and not getting stolen.
The Bentleys, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and even plain old Porsches, driving around or parked in open garages and alleyways. We’ve seen a few more rare beasts too, like a McLaren and a DeLorian. This place is car-crazy!
A Buddhist cemetery in our backyard:
A new discovery around the block–a fishing pond? Tucked away at the end of a block in central Tokyo?
People walking around with umbrellas…both in the rain AND in the sun! The sun umbrellas are lined with reflective material.
And a couple of weeks ago, it was election season, so for a few weeks there were campaign things going on, like political candidates driving around in vans, spouting their messages through a loudspeaker. We easily saw 5-10 LOUD vans per day, and heard even more in the distance:
Also election related–these giant billboards sporting glamour shots of all of the candidates:
The kids’ additions to the list:
Lots of people speaking Japanese (my observation–lots of other languages too! We live in a very international area.)
Kids walking around/playing at the park by themselves without grownups
All in all, it’s pretty different living here!