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.