One of the less pleasant aspects of Japan for those who enjoys at least a degree of peace and quiet is the abuse your sensory systems must endure on a regular basis. This mainly extends to the visual and audible realms, but as any who have caught the subway in rush hour can attest to, one must also be prepared to sacrifice any notion of private space.
Every day when I go to and back from work, I pass a lot where workers are stacking pipes. The overseer is equipped with a high frequency whistle used to direct the workers so as to avoid improper pipe-stacking. Not a man to step down from responsibility he naturally performs his whistle-blowing task with great fervor and devotion. Exposed to this only twice a day, I wouldn't hesitate a second to drop a huge pipe on him if given the chance, but for the workers this is apparently business as usual.
Noise of course is not limited to people, anything in Japan that can conceivable make a noise, does so, and with great enthusiasm. This extends to (but is in no way limited to) talking elevators, escalators, cars and musical garbage trucks. The latter plays what I can only assume is meant to be a pleasant melody, presumably to mask the fact that garbage is on the whole unpleasant.
The Japanese' penchant for sensory overload is never so apparent as in electronic stores where cramming as much colors, fonts and text into your visual field as possible is elevated to an art form. Usually accompanied by four different soundtracks from five different commercials on repeat. As if this was not enough, while P and I were discussing hard drives a clerk placed himself about a meter from us, took out his megaphone and started yelling sales pitches.