This is Part 3 of my Random Observations posts, written while I am in Onomichi, a small coastal town en route to Hiroshima. I did the Temple Walk here – a sightseeing route through the hills above Onomichi that passes by around 25 small-to-medium temples.
Anyway, on to my observations:
– The senior population of Japan, which for those of you who don’t know is a significant percentage of the population, love sightseeing and give it their all when climbing all the flights of stairs to various temples. They march up with gusto, complete with proper sightseeing gear (sun hats, walking sticks, fanny-packs, etc.). It’s very enjoyable to watch them having a good time.
– Apparently, Halloween is relatively big here. A doughnut chain here, Mister Donut (called ‘Misudo’ by the abbreviation-loving Japanese) has pumpkin-frosting doughnuts and Hello Kitty doughnuts.
– Western Japan seems so far to be more easygoing and relaxed than its eastern counterpart. Maybe it’s because the towns are smaller and the weather more pleasant compared to Tokyo, but there are many less salarymen (the typical business man who wears a suit, rushes to work by packed trains, and has to go out drinking with his superiors after work) and everything seems less frantic and rushed. I do enjoy the otherworldly metropolis craze Tokyo has, but it’s nice to visit smaller towns deep in traditional culture and less-touristy environments.
– There is a pretty big temperature drop at this time of year here, particularly on the coast. During the day, it can be around high 70s and maybe even low 80s, but as soon as evening arrives, it can fall to low 50s. Definitely makes deciding what to wear for the whole day a challenge.
– I am a now a master of the Japanese culture of bowing. Very rarely do I need to do a full bow, but it is almost natural now to do a little bow in almost every situation. It’s a form of respect to whomever you are in company with, and it’s a very important aspect of Japanese culture.
That’s all for now. Tomorrow, I take a short train further west to Hiroshima, one of the major cities in Western Japan with obviously a tragic history. There is a lot to see there, so I’m looking forward to it.