Komal and I discussed research further this morning. He asked me to put together a simple plan of what I want to do, and also possible interviews in the UK and Japan. I then closed myself in the hotel room until cabin fever started setting in later in the afternoon. I went for a wander to the mall on the other side of the station.

I might have to indulge in some tights and leg warmers before leaving: they have some pretty cool ones here! I also went down to the supermarket on the ground floor of the mall and found loads of tofu! Much better selection than in the UK, where there’s pretty much just one choice. I also managed to use the self-checkout despite all the instructions being in Japanese!

Komal and I went to a cheap cafe around the corner for supper, and that was pretty much the excitement of the day.


It’s a big deal in Japan. Pretty sure I’ll come back to the UK and bow to everyone there too! You bow when you meet someone, when you say goodbye, when you say thank you, and many other times in between. Generally, when the Japanese person you’re communicating with bows, you bow in return! And you have to make a bit of an effort, not just a nod of the head. The train conductor even walks into the carriage, thanks you for travelling with them, and bows before checking tickets.And the girl pushing the refreshments trolley. It’s kinda nice though: just another sign of the politeness of the Japanese people.

Which many of us could learn from, especially hospitality and retail staff (me included). When you walk into a cafe here, all the staff welcome you, bow and thank you for your (potential) custom. Similar when you walk into shops. In fact, you don’t even have to walk in: just pass by.

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