Japan is one of the most popular dream destinations ever. I am still trying to understand why people want to travel here so badly. Is it because of the Godzilla movies, anime or high-tech or the culture? As I am here in Japan I decided to write it down what expectations are real and which are not really and what to expect if you dream to travel to Japan.
1. No trash cans in public and no litter
A lot of people from different countries notice this, but in public places, there are no trash cans. The best thing is that here also not littering. So how is it possible? What you should do as a tourist if you buy a water bottle? Easy, when you come home recycle it properly. It’s actually quite genius. Country saves some much money at taking care of public trash cans and also there are no accidents when animals or wind blows everything away.
2. Helpful people
Here are extremely polite and helpful people. Yes, they are shy as well if they do not speak well English, but if you already asked them something they will try to help as much as possible. Even though sometimes they don’t know the answer.
3. Poor English
In Japan speaking only English languages is a bit tricky, because rarely you will find a Japanese person who speaks well English. Also, to find an English menu or English signs is also not so common. But in some places, they have devices in which they speak Japanese and show you a written English text. Learning a couple of phrases in Japanese and printing all your hotel reservations in the Japanese language would be helpful.
4. “7 eleven” and healthy food
In the United States “7 eleven” is more known as a fast food place to stop by for a quick bite or something sweet, but in Japan is not the case. Here you can actually buy healthy food in “7 eleven” like a boiled egg, salad, sushi, yoghurt, even milk or rice. You can actually make your groceries here.
5. The best service
Wow! the service at restaurants, cafe, shops really surprised me. They are so polite and treat you with so much respect, I actually will miss the service of Japan. Waiters are smiling, saying sorry if something was bad and if it took too much time. Also, the thing I really like that they give your credit card back with two hands and respectfully nod their head. I hope I will learn at least a little bit how to respect other people as they do. Additionally, there is no tipping! The service is perfect and they do not accept tipping, actually, this is one of the rare times when I really want to leave some tips.
6. Cute (Kawai)
Do Japanese people love cute things? For sure! Bus with a cute cat cartoon, menu with childish paintings and everything you see is cute. For me, all the things like airway website, university or bank have to be serious, usually using the same branding colours, because I was raised like that. You trust those who look seriously. But in Japan, all those “serious” companies use cartoon characters for their branding.
I believe many people think about Japan as a high-tech country with robots strolling around the streets, well that’s only imagination. But, there are more automated processes and machines which helps you in your daily life. For example, in some restaurants, before entering the place you order your food via food machine, pay for it and then go inside to eat. Although, I am still waiting to meet a robot.
8. Sleeping people
It is completely normal in Japan to sleep anywhere you are. If you are tired what you gonna do, just lay on the desk or comfortably sit in the metro and take a nap. You will feel better, do better at work and it is so easy to relax almost anywhere.
9. Quiet and respectful people
It’s easy to sleep anywhere because people in Japan are quiet and respectful. They move and go on with their day in that way that they would not disturb others. You will never hear somebody shouting, speaking via phone on the bus or listening loudly to the music. They are not blocking the road if they see that others have to pass it.
It is completely safe to leave your computer, wallet and phone on the table in a cafe and go to the toilet. The first time I felt quite anxious when my friend told me to leave all the purchases, our just bought hot dinner on a bike which was unlocked and go to the shop. I didn’t know what I would do, but something bad if somebody will steal my hot dinner (I was hungry).
11. Respirators (face mask)
If you have the flu or you feel bad you have to put on a respirator and do not share your germs with others. That totally makes sense and in Japan, you can see many people with the respirator.
12. Bread slice
The bread was an interesting one for me. Here in Japan, you select your bread slice depending on how thick you want your slices to be and not depending on how many slices you want.
Yes, I believe everybody heard about Japanese toilets which have so many functions as the sound of flushing water (if you don’t want to hear others), warm seat, bidet, spray. I am still wondering what “magic wand” button does, but I am too afraid to press it.
14. Karaoke in Japan
This is so much fun! Japanese loves karaoke and so do I. It is quite popular and you can easily find karaoke bars in the city and this is a thing which you totally have to do in Japan. Before you go to the karaoke bar I highly recommend checking a list of the best karaoke songs. Because if you think that you can sing Ed Sheeran song “Don’t” you probably can’t sing it. I learnt this lesson in a hard way.
15. Weird ads
Japanese commercials are really strange, funny and in some cases make no sense at all. Every time I go to the city I love watching them though. If you don’t believe me watch this Sakeru Gum commercial.
Yes, Japanese is known as a high tech country, but you will be surprised in how many places you will not have a possibility to pay with a card. Definitely, have some cash all the time with yourself.