Gestures

One thing I really appreciate in Japan is that Japanese people use and understand so many gestures. During the winter vacation, Carmen and I went on a bike tour in Thailand. Unlike most tourists, do to the limitations of traveling by bike, i.e. you can only travel so far in a day, we wound up in some pretty remote little towns where no one spoke English. We were pretty confident nonetheless due to being highly proficient in the art of charades. However, we soon found that all of our easily-decipherable hand and body gestures had no translatable equivalents in Thai. There was nothing to be done besides stumble through the few words in the back of the Lonely Planet. Up until that point, I had never given much thought to the fact that life in Japan is quite bearable and easily-negotiable so long as you use their hand gestures.

On topic or slightly to the side. Whenever I see foreigners on vacation in Japan I can't help wondering how they do it. I mean we all know how easy living in Japan is, but can you imagine what it would be like to travel on your own to Saga-ken of all places fresh off the boat with no language skills whatsoever? I have to admit that Japanese people are incredibly nice and generous when they see a foreigner who obviously doesn't know where they are going, but still, the restaurants, the trains, the hotels...