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Japan Visit April – May 2018

Thanks to my good friends in Japan including Kazunori and Fumiko, Tasuku and Emi; Masako,
as well as Katsu and Tomoko, I had a really enjoyable visit to the Tokyo area and Kanazawa.

Below are some of the photos from that visit.


Denver at the giant gate entrance to Kanazawa Castle

Around the Chaya district

Nagamachi Samurai district

Kenrokuen Gardens

Kenrokuen souvenir stalls

Kanazawa Castle

Denver with the Oda family at Twin Motegi Theme Park
I spent a family Sunday with Kazunori, Fumiko, Masatake and Mizuki at Twin Ring Motegi Racing Theme Park. It was a fine day weather-wise and we really enjoyed ourselves in spite of the large Golden Week crowds of people. I even found myself playing racing car driver with Masatake as co-driver. Certainly the first time I’ve ever been on a racing circuit! The drive through the Tochigi countryside was also really nice. Anyway, here are a few photos.

Denver at roadside in Motegi

Denver at same place

Fumiko and Mizuki

Masatake and Mizuki

Masatake riding

Masatake waiting very patiently for his turn

driving through the Tochigi countryside

Kazunori and Mizuki

Italian Restaurant Yashio, Saitama with the Oda Family

Denver and Masatake

Italian Restaurant

Denver, Fumiko and Mizuki



Kamakura Shrine

Emi at Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine

The Bamboo Gardens

Bamboo Gardens

Denver at entrance to Bamboo Gardens


Tsujido Kanagawa

Delicious kushiage at an Izakaya



Endo, Kanagawa

watching an expert sushi chef!


Sushi shop

Sushi shop


Tsudijo Station Izakaya

Izakaya Chef preparing kushiage

Izakaya Chef preparing kushiage

Tasty food on a stick.

Tasty food on a stick.

with Emi and her family


Emi and family

Emi and Tasuku and Hiro and Ryo and children

With Tomoko and Katsunori


Katsunori and Tomoko at lunch

Lunch at Noborito Station

Minka-en Folk Village

Katsunori and Tomoko



Denver and Katsunori at home


Some Features of Australian Society

As with language, society is constantly changing. Also, it goes without saying, no country’s people are all identical in personality and behaviour. So, please note, the outline here is just a brief snapshot of Australian society.
Australian society used to be much more egalitarian, easy-going and casual. Traditionally, Australian society had probably 60% of people in the same class (working/ middle class). Increasing economic inequality over the past 50 years has shown itself by people more concerned about such things as high-earning occupations; large houses; fashionable clothes and fancy cars. However, most Australians still cling to “the idea” that we are all equal.

Business clothes (dress)
in general, although some people wear suits, many Australian people dress more casually for work than Japanese. Denim jeans is not so common, but other casual (but neat) pants and shirt (or skirt and blouse for women) is OK. At interviews, suits are most common.

Business meetings (visits)
We don`t have quite as many meetings and out of work dinners and parties as Japan. At a business lunch or dinner, business comes before the meal or drinking and socialising. Business cards are not normally exchanged upon first meeting. If you need a colleague’s contact information, it is ok to ask them for their card. It is also ok to offer someone your card. But there is not an elaborate ritual of exchanging cards

Australians (in general) are more assertive than English people and less assertive than Americans. Australians are certainly a bit more assertive and quicker to speak their opinions and disagree than Japanese. We also touch much more than Japanese and make eye contact more.

Dining (eating)
BYO  (bring your own) alcohol and often food is still fairly common. At restaurants bill splitting (friends, couples, bigger groups)is also common.

Forms of Address
We don´t often call people Mr Smith, but rather Robert. We almost never call another adult “Sir” except in business letters. Some service people may address customers as “Sir or Madam”.

Gestures and body language
Australians use typical Western gestures for things such as “Come here, go away, stop, pointing, shaking hands”. Many of these are quite different to Japanese versions.

Giving Gifts
We only usually give presents on Xmas, weddings and birthdays. Most people try to give fairly modest, inexpensive gifts. We seldom give gifts to people we have just met.

Most workers get 4 weeks paid holiday. There is also a few days leave for sickness or special events. School teachers get 8 weeks holiday. (but they deserve it!)

Australians will accept much more noise from neighbours than do Japanese.

Personal Space See Demeanour

In the past, Australian society has been very secular (like Japan) and certainly not as fundamental as many American religious people. For example, although most Australians say they are Christians, not so many go to church regularly. Recent conservative Australian governments show more leanings towards religious fundamentalism. For example, although the majority of Australian people are tolerant towards gay persons, the government refuses to consider legalizing same-sex marriages.

This has become very socially unacceptable in the past 10 years. There are very few public places where you can smoke now.

Social visits
Much more than Japanese, we meet our friends at each others houses. In Japan, I got very few invitations to visit Japanese people at their home. Japanese seem to meet more at restaurants and Izakaya.

Australians are friendly, easy going and not very formal. We regard workers as equal in status to bosses and address them equally.

Telephone Etiquette
similar to Japan I think.

It´s not common practice to tip (taxis, waiters, etc.) in Australia.

We say toilets, rather than bathrooms or rest-rooms.
We “have” a shower (or bath), we don`t “take” a shower. (unlike Americans)