Being away from Hawaii for about a year leaves me with some culture shock in general when I come back to Hawaii for a visit.
On this trip....Everywhere you look there is Whole wheat, Organic, Fat-Free, Low Carbs, Multi-Grain. In Japan, they are just barely touching upon these things.
On TV, there are Reality shows, and commercials talking about Quick Weight-Loss, Reverse Mortgage, Credit Card Debt.
At the stores, it is all about Gift cards. Japan has only started this recently.
The biggest shocker was that there are TONS of storage places. Around our neighborhood, some people have so much stuff piled in their garages that they can't park their cars in there. Which makes my walks in the morning kind of dangerous--I have to step off the sidewalk and onto the street many times to walk around their cars (which stick out onto the sidewalk because they can't park in the garage...sigh).
The price of gas is about $3.50/gallon or more in some places. And they predict it to go higher with summer approaching. Our excise tax rose to 4.712%, because they want to put in a rail system, which won't run past Waikiki or the airport, so I'm not too sure as to who this rail system will serve and how it will alleviate traffic. This excise tax is almost as high as Japan's 5% (which Japan wants to eventually raise to 15%...double sigh)
On the semi fun side, this guy was literally dancing for his wages. A tax preparing office hired him to attract customers. This reminded me of waving signs for candidates during election season. Sure beats those noisy speakers in Japan.
Other than that, once I got used to all the channels, I've been enjoying cable television, with the Food Network (loved watching "Barefoot Contessa" and "Ellie Krieger"), Travel Channel (loved catching up on "No Reservations"), and I'm hooked on a Korean soap opera on the Korean channel, which luckily had only 8 episodes, so I can see the end of it.
In a week or so, I'll have to get back into the swing of Japan's culture shocks that have taken place while I've been away.