My Japanese friend, Aki Fujiwara-san, the namesake of my blog, was visiting recently and our chat turned to things that we found unique to certain places. I don't mean landmarks like the Eiffel Tower or Statue of Liberty, but more like what is the one significant thing that says you are at a certain place and no where else!
She had asked what is the thing that tells me I am in Tokyo and not in another city?
It's really difficult to pinpoint... Japanese signage? love hotels? trains crisscrossing all over the place?
In the end I settled for building covered in tiles. In Japan, practically every modern building is covered with wall tiles instead of plaster, brick or other materials. It's the uniformity in the great diversity of facades in each Japanese city.
When it came for her to say what she found uniquely only in Singapore, it really surprised me because I guess Singaporeans turn a blind eye to this and it would take foreign eyes to bring this to our attention. And what might this be?
"Lamp-posts in Singapore are all covered with grafitti or marks of it's removal. Yes, EVERY lamp post bears these marks. When I see this, I know I am in Singapore."
I am embarrassed.