Source: Derek Sivers
I love learning something that flips my head upside down. So, let’s look at one of the coolest head-flippers I’ve found: Japanese addresses.
Imagine you’re standing in Chicago and a Japanese man asks you, “What’s the name of this block?”
Mailing addresses in Japan, after naming the province and city, are a series of three numbers: district number, block number, building number. That’s how the building is found. No street names.
Thinking you’ve misunderstood the question, you say, “This is Erie Street. We’re between Wabash Ave and Rush Street.”
But the man asks you again, “No. Not the streets. This. (Pointing to the middle question mark on the map, below.) What’s the name of this block?”
You say, “Uh. That’s the block between Huron and Erie, between Wabash and Rush.”
(Blocks don’t have names! Streets have names! Blocks are just the chunks of land in-between streets. Duh!)
He leaves disappointed.
Now imagine you’re standing in Tokyo. You ask someone, “What’s the name of this street?”
Thinking she’s misunderstood the question, she says, “This is block 5. That is block 8.”
But you ask again, “Huh? No. This. (Pointing to one of the question marks on the map, below.) What’s the name of this street?”
She says again, “Uh. This is block 5. That is block 8.” (See the map, below.)
See: in (most of) Japan, streets don’t have names! Blocks have numbers! Streets are just the empty space in-between blocks. Duh!
And the buildings on the block are numbered in order of age. The first building built there is #1. The second is #2, even if it’s on the opposite side. So you end up with house numbers that look like this:
It's even cooler in Vietnam.. It's blocks and streets!
A Vietnamese address would look like this:
267/56/70/25 Area XXX, District XXX, Street XXX
Go to Area XXX, then District XXX then Street XXX then block 56, turn at block 70 and turn at block 25 and find house number 267 :)