What was the strangest thing that happened to you as a foreigner in Japan?

Taxis in Japan. The taxis are spotless and very clean. The drivers are all clean and well dressed. At taxi stops the drivers take out a cloth and clean their cars.

In Kyoto, we were lost walking to the Golden Pavilion Temple. This was before Googlemaps and we’d made a wrong turn among streets that were narrow switchbacks. It was uphill. We were hot, tired and thirsty.

A taxi was stopped at a corner and I asked the driver for directions while showing him a photo of the temple from my guidebook. He started to tell me with gestures but I didn’t speak Japanese and he barely spoke English. So he just motioned all of us to get into the taxi and drove us to the entrance of the temple. Then he opened the doors, ushered us to the entrance and wouldn’t permit us to pay him.

On another trip to Kyoto, I’d gotten into a taxi and after saying my destination, I was motioned by the driver to get out and cross the street to take a cab going the other way. That made my ride less expensive because my destination was in the other direction.

Amazing country and amazing people.

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