There are an abundance of things I absolutely love about Japan (obviously) and also some things I don’t like. Just for fun, here are 5 things from each list, particularly from this last trip…
Things I love about Japan:
toilets – heated seats, multi controls, sound effects, built in butt spray (if you’re into that kind of thing)… Japanese toilets are a technological wonder and the regular toilet at home is the first thing I’m sad about getting back to.
hot vending – during the colder months of the year, vending machines are stocked with heated drinks. We need this everywhere!
no tipping – for anything. Food service, taxis, etc.
umbrella condom – IDK what they are actually called, but stores put these umbrella shaped plastic bags at the doors for you to put on your dripping umbrella when you enter so that water doesn’t get all over the floor. I like to keep them for when we are on the train too so that the wet umbrella doesn’t rub on my clothes.
use of space under train tracks – In Canada (and America), the space under train track overpasses is completely wasted. In Japan, space is limited so restaurants and shops are shoved into those places. (Highway overpasses too.)
Things I’m not a fan of in Japan:
lack of garbage cans – Japanese cities are soooo crowded and yet so clean. There is a societal mentality to respect each other. When people create garbage, they take it away with them to throw out when they do come across a garbage can or get home. I like that way of thinking BUT I would really like to unload more conveniently.
over packaging – I’m just a little bit ecologically conscious and I don’t like to waste. It’s hard enough to get konbini workers to not give you a plastic bag, but the products themselves, especially fruit, come with way too much wrapping. In some instances, like with a peach that needs protecting from bruises or whatever, I can understand. Or when buying omiyage souvenirs to give to people, things need to stay fresh or… be wrapped up all pretty. But for the most part, it’s so wasteful. Mottainai!
“Nihongo jouzu!” – It’s almost comical how Japanese people are so modest themselves and yet so complimentary. If you speak even a word of Japanese, they will say this phrase to you, which roughly translated means, “Your Japanese is so good!” I get that they are happy when you make any effort at all to speak their language, probably quite genuinely since they all had to struggle through at least 10 years of English in school and most likely had a difficult time with it. But I think that compliments like that should be spared for when you actually are displaying that you can speak Japanese fluently. And I obviously cannot. On one hand, it’s nice to have that encouragement as if they are saying “Good for you for trying. Keep going.” But it can be frustrating when I’ve only said ‘thank you’ or ‘good afternoon’ and I know I am actually just being an insecure brat for not trying harder. Also, it’s a stock response and most of the time, I don’t think they really mean it.
So, okay, I can only come up with 3 things I don’t like right now… I’ll add 2 more later when I remember them. I guess that’s a good thing – that I can’t even think of 5 things I dislike, right?