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> - At restaurants / coffee shops you'll stand in line for an exceptional amount of time. In NYC, if a line gets "out of hand" baristas / servers shorten the amount of attention they give to each customer. It's expected when you get to the counter, you know what you want. Not in Japan (or at least all the places I've visited). Many times people will get to the counter, after standing in line, and debate with their friends what to purchase. It's always great that you know the person behind the counter is giving you their full attention, but it's frustrating when you're behind 2 - 3 people who are taking their time with their purchase. It's especially ironic in a culture that is fixated on not inconveniencing others.

I never got this. The thing is, it seemed to me that the people who are waiting are totally "cool" with it. They are not bothered and will, in turn, take their time to pick. I think it is just a cultural thing. But yes, it is interesting given that Japanese are not annoying people, and they value time.

The points you make are valid. I think people perceive Japan as a high tech country because they have a highly developed and efficient transit system. I mean when you go there as a tourist, that's practically what you are interacting with. Oh, and high speed Internet. That certainly will strike the average person as a high tech country.




> I never got this. The thing is, it seemed to me that the people who are waiting are totally "cool" with it. They are not bothered and will, in turn, take their time to pick. I think it is just a cultural thing. But yes, it is interesting given that Japanese are not annoying people, and they value time.

They are definitely cool with it. I think Americans and a lot of the world are consumers out of convenience, whereas (for coffee and other similar goods) people in Japan are consumers for the experience. I think the choosing portion is a part of this experience that they're there for. Just a hypothesis, though.

> The points you make are valid. I think people perceive Japan as a high tech country because they have a highly developed and efficient transit system. I mean when you go there as a tourist, that's practically what you are interacting with. Oh, and high speed Internet. That certainly will strike the average person as a high tech country.

Transit is amazing here. Except when it rains, it seems to cause the local trains some trouble, which is unexpected. My internet experience has been hit or miss, but work and cafe speeds are amazing here. Not Seoul[1] amazing, but solid.

[1] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_in_South_Korea


I find a lot of the preconceptions on Japan seem to carry over from perceptions of their economic and industrial prowess from the 80s and 90s and consumer electronics and mobile technology dominance in the 90s-00s.

Things have changed a lot since then - besides high tech the other preconception is the assumption that costs/expenses are quite high - I’ve found these days Tokyo (and doubly so for the rest of the country) on the cheaper end of world class cities/developed countries these days.

Tech-wise there are a few things that I think continue to be interesting:

* As mentioned their transit system is first class. Their touchless pay system continues to develop and works pretty much seamlessly across the country now (there are some cash-only country buses still) and you can use it at just about every convenience store. Phones support Suica natively now and can auto refill - I’m not sure I’ve seen another transit card around the world that works across the whole country. There isn’t real-time GPS tracking for buses and the like but everything runs on schedule so maybe not so necessary

* Japanese vending machines are the best and the rest of the world should get with the program. This is as much infrastructure as technology - having the supply chain to restock and maintain vending machines every 100m (max) in cities and in literally the middle of nowhere across the country is really something if you think about it

* Japanese people still like tiny gadgets and you’ll often find slightly miniaturized versions of everything, which can be neat/charming, although not the insane feats of engineering they were in the past

* Japanese software generally sucks but it’s interesting for me to see where there engineering effort has gone like into pikakura machines, networked arcade games (like MMO horse racing simulators, NFC card-based RTS arcade consoles, etc), etc

* I’ve heard lots about domestic robots but I haven’t seen anything out in the wild. There’s that one somewhat automated theme hotel, but that’s more of a gimmick than anything. The Robot Restaurant is awesome for many reasons, but the mechanical stuff is all RC’d.


> I’m not sure I’ve seen another transit card around the world that works across the whole country.

HongKong but it is a small city. The card also functions in Macau.


As is Singapore's EZ-Link. In fact, you can buy a EZ-Link SINO Visitor Pass, which is both a Singapore EZ-Link card and a Guangdong Lingnan card... I know Hong Kong issues a few cards like this for cities across the border in the mainland.

Still, not nearly as impressive as the Japanese system.




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