This year, like last year, I went home to northern California for just two weeks to spend the Christmas holiday season with my family. Since I live more or less in my own little world in Tokyo, there were some things that have become mainstream–or maybe I was just behind the times. Anyway, here are a few of the things that were different this year from last year, supplemented with beautiful, mostly unrelated scenic pictures from NorCal.
- Uber (and Lift.) My younger brother started to drive for Uber, and had a lot of stories to tell about it. It’s turned out to be a great deal for him. I got stuck one night without a car at the house, and downloaded the App to try it for the first time. It was fast, easy, and convenient. I’m completely sold, although it might not pick up in Tokyo (although it DOES apparently exist) where the public transportation is superb.
- Paper bags, no plastic (and being asked everywhere if you’d like a bag because they charge now.) In Japan, there’s often a tag hanging up by the register that says you don’t need a bag, and you can just toss it in your shopping basket. I think the change is a good thing, but I got caught off guard almost every single time they asked me if I needed a bag–I don’t think I got used to it.
- Credit card readers that use a chip instead of sliding. Even though I recently got a credit card in Japan (AU Wallet, if you were wondering), I hardly ever use it, and most of my shopping I still do with cash. When I got back to California, I didn’t know where to stick the card, and I felt really behind the times.
- Amazon lockers for deliveries outside of Safeway. Technically, Japan has been doing that via 7-11’s and other combinis for a long time.
- “Mid-Century Modern.” I didn’t even know what this was until I came home, but it’s a thing. Trust me. It looks like it’s been around for a few years, but it’s still fashionable.
Honorable Mention: PPAP. I’d heard that it had gotten popular at home, but I was able to confirm it. I like it when things get popular in Japan and the US at approximately the same time.
Happy new year from Tokyo!
♪ Relient K, “Auld Lang Syne”