As the Japanese are well known for being the healthiest and longest living people in the world it surprising to find how popular and socially acceptable smoking is in Japan. It’s also surprising to find that smoking outdoors is not allowed there. But smoking indoors is. So here at the Hotel Europe, where we are staying for the Gardening World Cup, you can’t smoke on the hotel terrace, but you can in the hotel lounge.
This seems strange to us, but there’s nothing more puzzling to the Japanese tourist in England than the sight of people huddled in doorways, often in the cold and rain, snatching a cigarette.
There is in fact a certain logic to the Japanese system, because they designate shelters outside where you can smoke, just as they dedicate areas indoors for smokers. So on the whole, non-smokers like me can choose to be in a smoke free area, whether outside or in. And those who do need to smoke don’t catch their death of cold in the process.