Saturday, October 10, 2009

Seat Belts

If there is one example I can use thus far to differentiate my Vietnam experience versus my Japanese experience it is this: Seat Belts.

Nobody in Vietnam wears seat belts. It just doesn't happen. Every time I've been on a flight in Vietnam I've had to help Vietnamese people put on their seat belts because they simply couldn't figure it out. Huyen knows how to put on a lap belt but once she got a little tangled up putting on a shoulder belt. I looked at her as she struggled with the shoulder belt and just said, "Really?" I'm sure this sounds odd but people in Vietnam just don't use seat belts.

In Japan EVERYONE wears a seat belt. I realized this on my first day when my cab driver turned around and told me to put my seat belt on. People in the states often don't even wear seat belts in cabs. Well, at least they usually don't in big cities like NYC despite voice overs from celebrities saying to wear seat belts.

They are so serious about their seat belt use here in Japan that the other day I took a bus from one city to another and everyone on the bus was wearing seat belts. Seat belts on buses? I bet not even 50% of school buses in the states have seat belts on them.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that Japan is just a really really safe country versus Vietnam which, well, isn't always so safe.


Josh said...

Great post--brought back some memories. It wasn't until about 3 months into living in Hanoi that I didn't reach for a seat belt in a cab out of habit. (I found that most of the time, the cabs didn't have seat belts or they were buried under the seat somewhere, never used.) Once after reaching for a shoulder strap in the front seat of a trusty Mailinh, the driver looked at me, laughed, and said, "You haven't been in Vietnam long, have you?"

Yen said...

how about car doors?
Are they opened and closed automaticaaly?
My brother had an amazing experience about this. Normally in VN, we use hand to open or close every door to get into/ off the car. However, things seem to be automatical in Jp and after a big sound of closing the door, the driver then angrily stared at him (may be thinking he's an alien) lol