One of the first things I noticed and have continued to find remakable is how much of the country is very heavily wooded. Vast areas of green canopy stretch as far as the eye can see on either side of the road for mile after mile. I have learned that this is due to a vast reforestion project that was undertaken about 50 years ago. Most of the millions of saplings planted were cedar or cypress. Unfortunately no one realised that cedars produce a pollen that the Japanese are particularly allergic to. The masks worn by so many of the population are due to hay fever, not smog as I always believed!
The Japanese are great wavers! Porters or other hotel staff wave goodbye at length, the waving increasing in intensity from one hand to two until you are out of sight.
Similarly on leaving we all line up to give a tip to our bus driver, we bow, he bows, thanks given and received, everyone satisfied. Obligations fulfilled.
In Nagano city centre there us a very busy junction strictly pedestrian controlled. One is only oermitted to cross on green and when the music plays. Bizarrely the music is “Coming through the rye”