Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Guessing Game

There's one thing that I noticed in this country prior to everything else. That they have pictures everywhere. I thank god for that, because that's how I've been surviving off the food I purchase. Granted, not everything has a picture but almost all of it does. You want to know what a restaurant has to serve? Just look outside for a giant sign with pictures. Want to know what's in that bread you're about to eat, because there is always something in the bread here in Japan? Look at the picture. While this may not always be a key for success, I've found that it comes in pretty handy for me.
It's easy to discover if something has pork, look for a picture of a pig. Want chicken? I'm sure you know what comes next. This country is a very visual one, in a way we're not quite at in America. In some ways, it's like they're just telling you everything without you having to figure out anything. In others, it's not. In America, you have to read the menu, judge on what you've had before, to see if you'll like something similar, etc. In the long run, they just end up asking the waiter what it is and such, they want to be told. Here in Japan, they make it simpler for you to understand because the brain just naturally takes an image and translates it, without much effort on your part.
Even the transportation systems are easy to figure out...once you have a map. It's not that everything is entirely foreign, it's just the way they break up certain things where buses or trains stop that make it difficult for anyone from out of town to figure out at first. Once you get it though, you become a proficient very quickly. Pictures just help make things stand out, and figure out, when deciding where next to go. I'm not sure what other countries are like, but I know even if they look like they could speak English in Europe, a foreigner is probably out of luck. To be truthfully honest, the best system is the Japanese picture system, so foreigners and even countries own citizens might have an easier time understanding things.

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