I'm back after a southern sojourn that was long enough to defrost my blood, but not long enough to eat everything or see everyone that I had planned to....
I had four impressions of being back in Aus - two positive, two negative.
1) Sydney is much dirtier than it used to be, though a friend who had visitors from London recently said they marvelled at how clear it is. Even so it is dirtier than Tokyo and more importantly, dirtier than it used to be.
2) Especially in the CBD and especially women, show a lot of flesh than in the past. I'm not a prude, really, but skirts are much shorter and worn with no shame about cellulite, muffins, and other unseemly bulges...
3) Sydney is much more diverse than it used to be, and the diversity has spread out. My hometown of 1000 people has an Indian restaurant, Vietnamese running the bakery, a Chinese restaurant (there's been one of those as long as I can remember). In Muswellbrook and Tamworth there were women wearing hijab and inter-cultural relationships are very normal.
4) People communicate verbally. I was taken aback alighting the train when the man next to me asked "are you right with that luv" .
OOps make that 5
It's a shock going into boom mentality after being subsumed by recession thinking.
Coming back a couple of impressions.
Japanese people care about the seasons whereas Australians care about how much rain there has been. Suntory have their cherry blossom happoshu cans out. I was irritated since I am going to Akita in the morning and it is still blanketed in snow. But if you ask anyone how much rain there was yesterday, no-one would have a clue. The only time precipitation measurements seem to be broadcast is when they are talking centimetres of snow or extreme rain during typhoons. Seasons don't make a whole lot of sense in Australia when February one year brings floods and another year continues the drought.
People don't stare at abominable habits here - Survival technique I guess. Today on my way back from Ueno a man near me on the train kept snorting - a hucking deep snort. I wanted to vomit - preferably on him. I glared, my stomach queased, but this is Tokyo afterall, no need for verbal communication when you can be passive aggressive...