I Think I'm Turning Japanese



One of the most wonderful highlights of my life has been the two months I spent working in Japan.

Now mind you, Japan was not a place I thought I would ever visit or even enjoy. However, I was delightfully surprised at how much I felt connected to this country.

And what amazed me the most was the fact that for as hard as the Japanese people work, they know how to balance their lives with fun and relaxation.

And let me tell you….the Japanese know how to PARTY.

Another thing that impressed me was how much spirituality plays a part of their everyday lives, because it's obvious in how they live confidently, yet quietly from their souls.

I never felt more peaceful and calm than the time I lived there.

I would like to share with you some of the things that Japan has taught me…



Waste not, want not

I never realize just how wasteful I was, because the Japanese are extremely conscious of waste.

Food portions in restaurants are far smaller than here in the U.S. Paper napkin usage is minimal. I never realized how many napkins I habitually used when I ate.

Beverage refills are not automatically given when your glass is emptied - you must ask.

Service

As far as I’m concerned, no one gives customer service like the Japanese. The service in department stores, restaurants, hotels, and public transportation is mind-blowing.

The Japanese have service down to an art.

I paid 45 USD for a mans haircut that I would have gladly paid more, because of the care and attention I received. The hotel I lived in for two months took care of my comfort as if I was staying at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

Everything in Japan is about service.

And tipping is not allowed.



Cleanliness

OMG…..I would have been honored to eat off their city streets because of how immaculate everything is. I don’t think I ever saw a single piece of litter during the entire time I was there.

The subway system looks as though they had just built it brand new. There is no such thing as graffiti in Japan.







Respect for the Elderly

The manor in which the Japanese culture values their elderly is to be commended. They believe that as someone grows older…they become more valuable.

As well it should be all over the world.

Thank you Japan…..for all that you showed me.

Domo arigatou.

*thank you very much.



Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

X

46 comments

  1. Ron,
    Good morning buddy! Wow I am jealous of you now; Japan! How cool is that. I would love to see that country some day, I hear it is breathtakingly beautiful. I love the fact that they hold the elderly in such high regard, and I agree 100% with you that that should be the way we treat our elderly as well. My only question: can you trim a bonzai tree? Hey enjoy your weekend!

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  2. Two months--wow...that's some visit!

    The things you noted are all things we could do so much more with. When someone inches away from a trashcan, flips their trash to the ground I wonder who gave them permission. *sigh* Seriously.

    Service is a whole 'nother world--and I'm glad to live in a smalltown where service delivery is still a valued thing and not an imposition. When the florist happily bothers to take the flowers home with her and waits for you to ring her so she can make sure you get them--there's really nothing to complain about, huh?

    I must admit that the napkin thing would bother me. LOL I only need one at mealtime! But I DO need it.

    *hugs* Enjoy your weekend, sir..and happy 13th to you!

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  3. I only spent a weekend in Tokyo with my husband on the way to Singapore for a business trip. Unfortunately, I was pretty sick. So, I didn't get out of the hotel much. I just remember going out for Shabu Shabu. I've never been a fan of going out to eat and cooking my own meal. Kind of like fondue or raclette in Switzerland. Bring me my food cooked already, people. I am such an American.

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  4. wonderful interesting post!

    I especially appreciate the attitude toward the elderly, it should be that way around the world

    lovely photos sweetie

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  5. Now I want to go visit. I didn't realize Japan was so uhm what's the word....nice? Haha...that's kinda lame but it's like 10 in the morning here. That's early for me my brain isn't working properly yet. XD Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed reading about your short time there. (:

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  6. Every since I discovered Reiki (or should I say Reiki discovered me?)I have wanted to visit Japan. Thankfully MWM feels the same way so it is definitely on our 'to visit'list!

    Konichiwa

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  7. Good Morning Brndout8ress!

    My only question: can you trim a bonzai tree?

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    No...that's one thing I didn't learn while I was there. I'm so bad with plants. OMG...I can kill an air fern!

    HAAHAHHAHAHAHAHA!

    I have a feeling that you would LOVE Japan, my friend! To witness how they treat their elderly, brought tears to my eyes. They are treated with such reverence.

    Thanks so much for dropping by!

    Enjoy your weekend too, my friend!

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  8. Hiya Mel!

    You said it!

    When someone inches away from a trashcan, flips their trash to the ground I wonder who gave them permission. *sigh* Seriously.

    I see that all the time here and think the same thing.

    I can only imagine how wonderful the service is in your adorable little town. You have no idea how much I sometimes feel that I would do much better living in the country. Maybe one of these days!

    The napkin thing bothered me too when I first got there. I eat my food like a cow, so I was beginning to think I should just buy a BIB!

    HA!

    They WILL give you additional napkins, but you have to ask. They don't use dispensers like we do here in the States.

    OMG...I noticed when I was balancing my checkbook last night that today was the 13TH!!!!

    Woo! Woo!

    Thanks for dropping by, dear lady!

    Enjoy your weekend!

    *hugs*

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  9. Hey Jen!

    I've never been a fan of going out to eat and cooking my own meal. Kind of like fondue or raclette in Switzerland. Bring me my food cooked already, people. I am such an American.

    HAHAHAHAHAHHAHA!

    Me too, Jen!

    I lived in Kobe, so the beef was out of this world. I'm not a big beef eater, but since sushi and seafood is their main staple food, I had no other option. OMG...I've never tasted more delicious beef in all my life.

    Thanks for stopping by, Jen!

    Wishing you an awesome weekend, my friend!

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  10. Hiya Dianne!

    I just know that you would LOVE visiting there.

    And they would love YOU!

    The one word I can use that sums up they're culture is...

    ...respect.

    It blew my away.

    I actually felt like a completely different person while I was living there. It broke my heart to leave.

    Thank for stopping by, dear lady!

    So glad you enjoyed the photos. I suddenly got the idea for this post, while flipping through my Japan photo album last night.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    *lovin' this FREEZING weather.

    The Penguin

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  11. Oh Ron, that picture of the older gentleman and his smile... how beautiful!

    My daughter has a serious love of things Japanese. It's a language she wants to learn someday and Japan is on her list of top 5 places to visit.
    I think she'd name her little girl Sakura (Cherry blossom) if she could.

    Oh.. and totally unrelated. This morning, I watched "Now, Voyager" and thought of you.

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  12. Hiya Gavin!

    it's like 10 in the morning here. That's early for me my brain isn't working properly yet.

    HA!

    Oh boy...do I KNOW what you're talking about, buddy! I usually get up around 9:30, but my brain doesn't start working until I've had a LARGE cup of coffee.

    I too never realized what a great place Japan was. If you ever get the chance to visit, please do. I have a feeling you would really love it.

    Thank you for dropping by, Gavin!

    Have a GRANDE weekend!

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  13. Good Morning Akelamalu!

    aaah yes, fellow Reiki practioner...I know what you mean!

    In fact, it was about three months after returning from Japan that Reiki discovered ME. I think being there planted the "seed."

    I know that when you and MWM visit one day, you're going LOVE it.

    It altered my life!

    Thank you for stopping by today, m'dear!

    Enjoy your weekend!

    Konichiwa!

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  14. Hello Anndi!

    OMG...isn't his face precious?

    You can actually see in his eyes what I'm talking about, when I mentioned spirituality.

    Everyone I met there, had that same look.

    Inner peace.

    I think she'd name her little girl Sakura (Cherry blossom) if she could.

    OMG...that's so sweet!

    Chicklet sounds alot like me!

    She gonna LOVE Japan!

    Holy cow...you watched "Now Voyager????" How great! That's absolutely my favorite Bette Davis film. I own it and will watch it from time to time. They don't make movies like that anymore.

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing, Twin!

    Always enjoyed!

    Have a great weekend!

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  15. Aw. I love the photo of that nice old guy.

    I've never been to the Far East, but I'd love to go to Japan. I bet it's a huge culture shock . . . but in a good way, obviously.

    (Is it wrong that I got especially excited by the "no tipping" part?)

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  16. Hi JD!

    Is it wrong that I got especially excited by the "no tipping" part?

    HAHHAHAHAHAHA!

    No, not at all because I felt the same way. The U.S. is WAY TOO tip oriented. Outside of resturant servers and bartenders (who work for peanuts and deserve tips), I'm tired of all the "required tipping" that's expected in this country.

    The barista at Starbucks????

    Excuse me???

    NOT.

    Yes, Japan was a HUGE culture shock. But as you shared...in a good way. Visiting there really altered my whole perception of things that I overlooked or took for granted.

    As always...I thank you for dropping by today, JD!

    I'm STILL laughing at your last post. I actually told someone at work about it.

    Brilliant!

    Enjoy your weekend!

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  17. Hi Ron!

    Thank you so much for the cultural exchange! I never know quite what I'm going to find at Vent but I always know that I will enjoy it!

    Those are some very powerful and important lessons! We have Japanese tourists here quite often and I'm always so very impressed by them. They *always* attempt to speak english and they are generally VERY good at it. They are scrupulously polite and thoughtful, too!

    I can remember when I worked at the drugstore; they always wanted to tip me! I couldn't accept tips though so if they insisted, I asked them to choose a charity bucket to put their coins in and they always did so with utmost care and concern over which charity to donate to. Now that I learn that tipping isn't allowed in Japan - this is even more impressive to me!

    Thank you again, Ron! I always love to learn about other cultures. I'm sure they loved you just as much as you loved them!!!

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  18. Wow, I am so glad you had a wonderful time there. My own experiences were no where near as wonderful. But it may be the gender thing.
    ~laughing~
    Thank you for sharing the abundant blessings you were given visiting there, keeps my hopes up for the teen!
    ~smile~
    have a great weekend my friend!

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  19. Hiya Penny!

    They *always* attempt to speak english and they are generally VERY good at it.

    Yes...I too found this even in Japan. If they are in the presence of an English speaking person, they will ALWAYS tempt to speak in English. It amazes me how many of them learn the English language even though of most of them have never been to the U.S.

    OMG, and you said it....polite and thoughtful. They were forever giving us gifts all throughout our stay there. It would bring tears to my eyes how thoughtful they were. Such sweet, giving people.

    See!...that's what I'm talking about. Even though they don't tip in their country, they know the customs of the U.S. and abide by them.

    I LOVED my time in Japan. One of these days I would really love to go back and see more of it. Being a photographer, I know you would have gone crazy taking photos in Kyoto. The first photo you see on this post is from Kyoto. The temples and the grounds are breathtaking.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing a comment, amigo!

    So glad you enjoyed this post.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    I'll be over in a bit to read your recents posts!

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  20. Hellooooo Lady Sorrow!

    So glad to see ya!!!

    Have you been to Japan too???

    I had no idea?!?

    That's odd, because they seemed to go GA-GA over the women who were with our theater troupe. Very respectful and considerate towards them. Almost as if the were queens.

    You being an artist, didn't you love all the beautiful pottery and Japanese art work? I brought back several pieces as gifts for family and friends. I had one mounted and framed for my mother - it came out beautiful!

    Thank you for stopping by, dear lady!

    Always so wonderful seeing ya!

    Have a great weekend!

    {{{{{{ Sorrow }}}}}}}

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  21. We've had numerous exchange students from Japan who have stayed with us over the years. With the exception of one boy who was a real pinhead, all of the students have been wonderful.

    Getting to Japan is something both Lisa and I would love to do. Perhaps when the boys are a bit older.

    Great reflections from your stay there.

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  22. Howdy Jeff!

    How are ya, buddy?

    So great to see ya!

    OMG...you've had Japanese exchanged students?? How cool!

    Well...I guess there's always one pinhead in the group!

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Knowing how kind, considerate, and respectful you are, I think you'll feel very confortable and at home in Japan. I know they'll love ya!

    Thanks for dropping by, Jeff!

    Have a great weekend!

    Hey...we're finally getting some COLD weather here in Philly.

    Ask me if I'm happy.

    YES! YES! YES!

    Sincerely,
    The Penguin

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  23. hello dear friend, wow, this is quite a tour through japan and makes me want to go there as soon as i can, not that that will be anytime soon....i have heard all these things about it and, of course, the spirit of the people is always something that people notice from the west...i think they practice very quietly something that is quite profound in their lives and their respect for the environment and their elders, including those that have passed is so inspiring...and cleanliness, wouldn't that be nice to have it just "be" that way?

    i was just listening to the news on the radio --can't take it on tv anymore--and they were saying the japanese now are carrying their napkin with them to use when they eat out or need one so as not to use resources to just toss away after one time's use (something we here do at the mere drop of a crumb!) i thought that was a fabulous idea for the most part, perhaps unless you have a HUGE mess, like a whole glass of milkshake on the table and chair-been there- or you have a table surrounded by people under say 6, perhaps a towel or two might be nice, a napkin won't do it anyway...

    anyway, thanks for the tour and also, dearie, thanks for your sweet comment you just left over at my blog...as always, you touched my heart with your enthusiasm and care....i hope it works like you think it will...time will tell and a website...do write me!
    kisses, sweets♥

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  24. Hello Dear Linda!

    Always so great seeing ya, my friend!

    OMG...I was enthralled with what you shared about the radio news on how the Japanese carry a napkin with them. And I can believe it, because that's exactly how they are - they don't wasting a thing.

    Also, while I was living there I noticed how they all carried a handkerchief with them, as not to have to use a dozen tissues. That was during the summertime (which is VERY HOT in Japan), so they also use it to wipe the sweat off their brows. They also carry their own fans (men and women). Isn't that funny? Everywhere you look, people are fanning themselves.

    i think they practice very quietly something that is quite profound in their lives and their respect for the environment and their elders, including those that have passed.

    Yes...I agree! They have so much respect.

    I am soooo happy and excited about your new adventure! I just emailed you my thoughts, so check your emails when you have the chance.

    Thanks so much for stopping by this evening, dear lady!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    {{{{ Linda }}}}}

    xoxoxoxooxoxo

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  25. Hi Ron! Can so relate from the stories my nephew, Dominick, had relayed.

    Dominick has been in the navy for about 10 years. He was stationed outside of Japan which he'd visit constantly. He is now a Buddhist, having started his spiritual journey in Japan, and continued in Thailand where he and his Thai wife now live.

    Have never been, but would love to visit! Thank you for the expose of a fascinating culture, Ron!

    Have a wonderful weekend! :))

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  26. Good Morning Petra!

    That's so great to hear!

    For me, (as it was for Dominick) visiting Japan was life changing. There is an "energy" there that "clicks" with some people.

    Japan has a feeling of sacredness.

    As you may have read in one of my comments shared with Akelamalu, I am a Reiki practitioner. Reiki was said to have been rediscovered in Kyoto, Japan, so perhaps that had something to do with it.

    I wrote a post last year about an experience I had while in Kyoto ( it's on my sidebar "Reincarnation, living before") if you care to read it.

    Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing on this post, Petra!

    It's always such a pleasure!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

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  27. You have learned well Grasshopper. To waste not is to want not. The respect shown to all by being clean and keeping things clean is truly a road that we all should take.
    I love that wonderful Japanese song "If you knew Sushi, Like I know Sushi."
    The people of Japan have a certain dignity about them that is close to divinity. I bow to you my friend and thank you for your words that soothed my soul. Now pass the Fried Rice.

    Reiki Dave

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  28. Hello Reiki Dave!

    I love that wonderful Japanese song "If you knew Sushi, Like I know Sushi."

    Bwhhahahahahahahahahaha!

    I don't know how the hell you come up with your brilliant comments, but they ROCK!!!!

    Oh you make me laugh, Sir David!

    The people of Japan have a certain dignity about them that is close to divinity.

    Yes, my friend...they most certainly do!

    Thank you so much for stopping by and adding both your wit and wisdom!

    It's always so enjoyed!

    Hope you're having a great weekend!

    Konichiwa!

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  29. Great post, Ron. One of the problems I think with Americans abroad, is that we want to still be American with intensity. We miss so much by not trying to learn more and enjoy the country we are in. You apparently learned much and enjoyed it enormously!

    Thanks for sharing!

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  30. Howdy Nitebyrd!

    One of the problems I think with Americans abroad, is that we want to still be American with intensity. We miss so much by not trying to learn more and enjoy the country we are in.

    You said it, girl!

    I noticed this alot while I was in Europe and it was embarrassing to watch.

    I mean, the whole point of visiting another country is to "experience" a different way of living, ya know?

    Thanks for stopping by, Sis!

    You and I should take a trip abroad someday and share a beer and a glass of wine, while in Italy!

    Ciao bella!

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  31. Fabulous post, as usual!
    I love the serene quality I get when I see pics or art from Japan. I would love to visit there one day.
    It is sad here to see all the trash & disrespect that we have in America. Not to mention most of the service. I think our problem is that we live in such a fast-paced society that we don't take the time to even think of the things we do or say.
    We need to slow down & be more deliberate in the things we do. Think things through before we speak or act. We have forgotten people in this day & age of technology.

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  32. Hello Collette!

    Thanks, dear lady.

    Thursday night while looking at some old photos, I was suddenly reminded of how much Japan impressed me.

    I think our problem is that we live in such a fast-paced society that we don't take the time to even think of the things we do or say.

    Yes, indeed.

    We have forgotten people in this day & age of technology.

    Yup!

    For some reason, the Japanese seem to be able to balance both technology and their connection with people.

    I know you'd love it if you visited.

    Thank you so much for stopping by, Collette!

    Hope you're enjoying a beautiful weekend!

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  33. Your blog has made me want to visit Japan,it sounds like an amazing place :) I hope you have a good weekend too!

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  34. Good Morning Smileyfreak!

    oooooh....it is amazing!!!

    It was a delightful suprise too, because I really never thought much about Japan, prior to going there.

    I feel very blessed in having had this opportunity.

    Always so nice seeing you, Smileyfreak!

    Thank you for stopping by!

    Enjoy your Sunday!

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  35. I have never been to Japan but the Japanese people in the US that I have run into have been great. I met a couple that were in a California Internment camp during ww2. It was amazing with the negative experience they had how grateful they were to still be in the US.

    I have had other personal experiences with the cultures high level of importance of honor and work ethic as well.

    It was great reading about your experiences there.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  36. Greetings Tom!

    It was amazing with the negative experience they had how grateful they were to still be in the US.

    Yes, I can believe that because they seem to be a culture that can turn any negative experience around and see the lesson in it.

    the cultures high level of importance of honor and work ethic as well.

    That's what I think touched me the most. Respect, honor, and work ethic.

    As always, I thank you for dropping by and sharing yourself in my posts.

    Thank you!

    Enjoy your Sunday, Tom!

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  37. Hi Isabella!

    OMG...it really was perfect!

    And I learned alot from being there.

    THANK YOU, Japan!

    Thanks for stopping by, Isabella!

    Have a great week!

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  38. I LOVE Japan! And I don't all-cap lightly, my friend. The highlight was definitely getting a haircut. I think they shampooed me three times, and massaged me twice, and when we were done the stylist actually walked out to stop traffic so we could make a right hand turn.

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  39. Hi Tattytiara!

    I think they shampooed me three times, and massaged me twice.

    OMG...yes, yes, yes!!!!!

    Wasn't it the BEST haircutting experience you ever had?

    and when we were done the stylist actually walked out to stop traffic so we could make a right hand turn.

    See!...that's what I mean about service.

    I'm so glad to hear you visited Japan and LOVED it! Not many people get the chance to go there, so I feel very blessed!

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing on this post, my Japanese loving friend!

    Domo arigatou!

    Enjoy your evening!

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  40. Wow, Ron! What an amazing experience that must have been! Taylor is DYING to go to Japan...he would actually love to live there! I wish we lived closer to you...I would've loved for you to talk with him about your experiences there....I'm sure you have so much valuable knowledge you could share.

    I'm curious...(if you don't mind answering)-you've mentioned all the wonderful things about Japan...what would you say is a downside? Your least favorite thing?

    Love the photos...esp of that adorable elderly man...and the first one with YOU in the center! Such a fun shot!

    xoxo

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  41. Hey Kathryn!

    OMG...Taylor is going to LOVE visiting Japan!!

    And honestly? I think I could live there too. At least try it for a year. When I first got back to the States, all I wanted to do is go back to Japan.

    The only thing I can say that might be a downside to Japan is the EXPENSE. It's VERY expensive to live there. While I was working there most everything was being paid for, so I really didn't have to spend that much money, other than paying for my dinner meals, sightseeing, gifts, and public transportation.

    But outside of the expense, I can't think of anything else that would be a downside. But considering the customer service you get in Japan, the high cost of living is worth every yen.

    Isn't the photo of the elderly gentleman adorable? He was the father of the owner of the restaurant we ate in that evening.

    One of these days when you and I meet, I would love to share my experience with Taylor.

    Thanks for stopping by, dear heart!

    Talk to ya soon!

    xxoxoxoxooxxo

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  42. That was a fascinating post. I was intrigued by the no tipping rule, too.

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  43. Hi Constant Complainer!

    HA!

    Yes...when I first got there it was so hard to get out of the habit of wanting to TIP for certain services!?!?

    As you can tell from my post, I LOVED Japan. If you ever get the chance to visit, please do. I think your would find it fascinating!

    Thanks for stopping by, bud!

    Enjoy your weekend!

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  44. Oh I have just been gone for toooo long. I missed this wonderful post! Well, better late than never. Looks and sounds like you had quite the experience there. I'm so glad you got to go. As you know, I am in love with all things Geisha. I would probably just be following them down the street all day back and forth from little tea houses.
    Ron's birth Mom and hubs just went back to Korea for a 2 week trip. She hasn't lived there in soooo many years that because of all that's changed she went as a tourist. Hotels, bus trips, visiting all the sites. I know you don't FB too often, but the pictures are over there still. I haven't managed to update my blog in a very long time. Eh, there's still hope.

    So just wanted to stop by and say I'm still around, and I do, I really really do think of you and hope all is well. Hugs neighbor! Hope you have been enjoying a nice weekend. :)

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  45. Hellooooooo Crystal Chick!

    It's SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO great seeing ya, neighbor!

    I swear to god, you have been in my thoughts for the past week, so it was so nice to see your comment.

    Yes...I know you and I both share a Geisha love and all things oriental! I think we must have been Asian in a pastlife, because we FEEL it so strongly. I honestly feel like I lived in Japan at another time.

    The next time I'm over a FB, I will definitely check out your profile page and take a look at your photos - I'm sure I'll enjoy them!

    I really enjoyed having this past week off from blogging. I got some stuff accomplished on my other blog, and also chilled and vegged.

    Hope all is well with you and your family. Can you believe that Thanksgiving is this coming week?? And before you know it....Christmas will here!!!

    Thanks so much for dropping by, M!

    Have a great week!

    {{{{{ M }}}}}}
    xoxoxooxo

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