A talking point early on: the high-tech toilets with automated and on-demand flush mechanisms. With the right setting, the water starts running as soon as you sit down. A panel on the wall (sometimes with remote control) gives you options such as 'bidet' or just a simple flush. Then there's the spray-from-below option with adjustable water pressure. Sounds weird and takes some getting used to, but it sure makes tons more sense than rubbing that shit around with a piece of paper. And this just in: the restrooms at our concert venue tonight had heated toilet seats.
Where is it? Try tossing something on your stroll through the neighborhood, and you will be hard-pressed to find any receptacles. The tour guide on the other bus on day 2 apparently provided the background for this: a chemical bomb stored in a public trash can injured and killed several people in the 90s, upon which all public trash cans were removed. But why isn't it all over the sidewalk, like in NYC where they DO have trash cans?
Trains: No surprise here, trains are cleaner, quieter, wider and more spacious than what we are used to. Screens above each door actually work and provide useful realtime information in Japanese and English. All stops are numbered, as are the exits at each station. Excessive or useful? Trains are very musical, with extensive repetitive excerpts played at each station.
Taxis: not as unified as in NYC, but always recognizable. Never a dent, always shiny. Most of them are angular Toyotas which look old-school to our eyes, and most of them have the rear view mirrors mounted quite far forward on the hood. Some are black, the most distinctive ones are green and yellow.
Trucks: Like cars in general, trucks are smaller than we are used to and almost look like toy models. Japanese trash trucks, for example, would fit into most American SUVs. This leads back to the question: where is all the trash?