- TV presenters will proclaim all food, no matter how disgusting, to be “delicious”.
- There will be ten new Prime Ministers by the time this decade is out.
- Payment of inducements to public servants serves the greater good by building business relationships.
- The miniskirt will never go out of fashion.
- Overtime spent in an office = Automatic productivity.
- Nature is evil. It must be cleansed by concrete.
- Owning an old car is
bad for the economydangerous.
- In order to (dis)respect someone, you must first be certain of their age.
- English exists solely for the design of unintelligible T-shirts.
- The older one gets, the freer one becomes. Once you’re over 90 you can say whatever the heck you want.
It’s taken a long time for self service petrol stations to take hold in Japan.
When I was last living here some 7 years ago they were still the exception. Filling up at a full service petrol stations became something that I quite enjoyed at that time, which is surprising considering the sentiment most people hold when paying for a cartel-controlled overpriced daily necessity. At Japanese full-service petrol stations not only do you not have to get out of your seat, but the service extends to cleaning your windows and side mirrors, filling up the tank, emptying your ashtray and taking any other rubbish off your hands, taking payment and giving change without leaving your seat, and even safely directing you back onto the road when there is a gap in the traffic.
Fast forward 7 years – the economy is down and cheap self service is king. But in typical Japanese style they haven’t done it half-heartedly. Today I stopped at a self-service station. There is a touchscreen terminal at the pump at which you place your “order”, pay in advance and fill up. After the machine determined that my tank was full it forced me play a slot machine game. Three wheels started spinning on the screen and the only option was a large “stop” button. I touched it and the wheels slowly span down (wasting valuable time while the person behind was waiting to fill up) and stopped on 777. They ALWAYS stop on 777. My prize was then announced: a discount, not for today when I actually need it, but for when I come back next time. Hmph.
After the mandatory slot machine you are then presented with a receipt with a barcode. You take that to another machine located literally 2 metres away from the pump where you paid, and you scan the receipt for your change to be dispersed into the tray underneath. The whole process takes far too long – but the mandatory slot machine is what I think really makes this Japanese self-service petrol stations absurd.
I’ve kinda stuffed up this second “morning” review because I visited this coffee house in the afternoon. Of course that means I didn’t get a “morning” with my coffee, but I did get a very amusing packet of nuts, which I thought justified a post on this blog.
Access: 10 mins walk.
Price: 380 yen
“Morning” in the afternoon: Small packet of nuts and rice crackers.
Viability: New – apparently booming.
Imagine riding on a train in rural Japan. You are going faster and faster, deep into the countryside. An initial sense of uneasiness soon turns to panic. Where is this train going and when will it stop? You make a dash for the doors, and your heart stops when you see this sign: