When I first visited Japan many years ago, I marveled at the automatic taxi doors. I was intrigued by the auto-toilets that not only flushed for you but also offered rinse and dry functions. I was delighted to find that baggage deliveries could whisk your suitcase home from the airport sometimes faster than you could get there. I loved the network of takkyubin door-to-door delivery services that could transport parcels across the country overnight for a miniscule fee. And I became reliant on the ever-present convenience stores, or combini, that ply coffee, hot meals, toiletries and a mind-boggling array of services around the clock.
Inconvenient truths of Japan's 'combini' culture
From auto-flushing toilets to 24/7 stores, Japan's convenience mentality has downsides