- Trains are punctual. On the minute. Or more like on the second. Every morning I would take the 7:13am train from Shibuya that would get me to Yokohama at exactly at 7:40am.
- Although the Greater Tokyo Area is the largest metropolis in the world, it feels small to me because of the unbelievably easy accessibility to almost anywhere.
- The food culture is huge in Japan, with Japanese people having a passion for good cuisine that brinks on obsession – despite their typically slight frames.
- Some great examples are: Donburi, Gyoza, Okonomiyaki, Takoyaki, and Sushi, of course.
- I dare you to try Nattō, which is made of fermented soybeans. You’ll either love it or you’ll hate it.
3. Removing shoes when going indoors
- You have to admit that the Japanese way of removing ones shoes at the front door is quite rational. Who would want to walk around their clean house in shoes that stepped on who-knows-what outside? It keeps the dirt outside and the inside of your house clean.
4. New Year
- The Japanese Christmas Holiday in Japan is, in my humble opinion, a little bit of a joke. There is no cultural backbone behind the holiday, and is used instead as a gargantuan marketing campaign, especially by KFC, with their Special Christmas Chicken. However, New Year in Japan is unparalleled.
- On New Year whole extended families gather. They eat traditional Japanese New Year’s food (such as Ozōni), drink and party before heading off at midnight to the local shrine to pray for the New Year.
- Don’t forget to greet people with “Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu!” (Happy New Year!)
- In general interactions, such as asking for directions or greeting people, the Japanese are naturally cordial, considerate, polite and respectful. You can read further here
6. Vending machines
- If you’re ever thirsty, or even sometimes hungry, all you have to do is walk a few hundred metres before you find a vending machine, or jidō-hanbaiki in Japanese.
- Coffee and tea (either hot or cold), juice, soda, beer, you name it! They have EVERYTHING
- In other countries convenience stores are a last-ditch resort not to starve; somewhere where you can buy a snickers or a slushie. Not so in Japan. From neatly wrapped rice balls to perfectly packaged toiletries kits, Japanese convenience stores have absolutely everything.
- You’ll find one on almost every corner in the cities.
- Space-age toilets. Heated seats and multiple buttons to press for various toilet-restricted experiences. I particularly love the ‘flushing noise’ button, which creates a constant flushing sound so I can pee in peace without having someone overhear me.
9. Customer Service
- Service in Japan is top notch. Even when you enter the local Konbini (Convenient store) the workers shout out “IRASHAIMASE!” in welcome. It makes you feel like a king.
- Indeed, Japanese service is based upon the theory that the customer is god. There’s actually a saying that says exactly that: Okyakusama wa Kamisama
- Last but not least, weather in Japan is quite lovely. Apart from a rainy month between June and July, Japanese weather is generally quite beautiful, especially in August. Winter is chill and crisp but beautifully clear every day. I would suggest visiting in winter or autumn – my two favourite seasons!
Oh, how I love Japan!