Most tourists traveling to a foreign country are looking for a guidebook vacation.
That was my intent as I planned a recent family trip to Kyoto and Tokyo to visit our son. He has been living on the northern island of Hokkaido since July. I imagined visiting the serene shrines of Kyoto, the tall towers of Tokyo, and viewing the scenery from the high speed bullet trains. While I did enjoy these experiences in Japan, the memories that will remain with me are the details I discovered along the way.
Take umbrellas, for example. Rain is a part of life in Japan, so it is dealt with in a practical manner. When it rains, everyone uses an umbrella. Outside most buildings, there are umbrella lockers on wheels that are set up to accommodate the drippy devices. Simply place your umbrella in a slot, shut the clasp, and remove the key. If you would like to carry your umbrella into a store, insert your umbrella into another contraption that covers it with a plastic sheath. No more wet floors!