Saturday, April 10, 2010

Random cool stuff: part I

Since Saturday (and Sunday) will be spent doing nothing, except cleaning and lazying around, I thought this would be a good opportunity to write about some cool stuff that are done differently here.

I shall begin with paying the rent (which I did today). Beginning next month, it will be deducted automatically from my bank account, but this month, they gave me a payment slip that I have to settle at a... convenience store... Everything is written in Japanese so I can't explain what's written on it. But I just went there, showed him the paper, paid, and got the receipt and a stub from the original slip (I'm guessing I have to return that to them? Couldn't understand a word he said to me lol).

Speaking of convenience stores and shops, here is a list of interesting things that have happened to me so far:
  • When you go into a shop, any employee near the entrance, even if wiping the floor, will yell big welcome really loud!
  • The cash register has slots where the cashier puts the money, one for paper, another for coins, and it automatically counts everything, and displays the amount you paid along with the change. People usually have shopping cards or electronic wallets though, so they don't have to use cash, and can accumulate points on them.
  • In big shops (like the electronics shop), there is always someone hawking their goods, yelling stuff like "WE HAVE THE BEST CURRY NOODLES AROUND". I had Pan-san translate, since to me, it looks like these people yelling gibberish, which is funny.
  • As I explained before, people slurp their noodles really loud sometimes, and it is very normal.
  • Chopsticks here (not the disposable ones) have fine tips, so you can easily grab the last remaining grains of rice with them.
Yesterday at one of the university's cafeterias, there was a new stand, with a guy making sushi! Muahaha. So for around 5$, was able to eat 11 pieces (the pieces are really big here, maybe as big as one and half pieces in Lebanon). Also, here they put wasabe between the rice and the fish, this guy put more than the ones I buy at the supermarket.

Another thing to mention is Japanese design! It's genius!
For example: at our lab, there is a table. Like our plastic tables, the ones that have removable legs, this one (metallic not plastic) has legs you can screw on/off. The difference however, is that you there are slots where you can put the legs, and other slots where you can put the 2 folded chairs that come with the table, and finally you just bend the table in half and close it with the legs and chairs inside! I find that amazing hehe.

One more thing is this keyboard (like all Japanese keyboards). There's a button you press, which enables you to write in English, and it automatically turns it into Hiragana/Katakana depending on what you want. So I turn the feature on and write "ka" and it comes out as か, or as カ; the first being the Hiragana "ka", the second being the Katakana "ka". It wasn't as cool until I found out how to turn it off though...

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