5 Things I Love About England
Now don’t get me wrong, since returning from my working holiday in Japan in September, I can safely say that I’d rather be in Japan for a year than in England for a week. However, having lived 18 of my 23 years of life in England, there are a few things about England that I prefer over Japan. I repeat: I love Japan but not when it comes to these five things!
‘Bless you’, ‘God bless you’ or any variation in other languages (‘gesundheit’ in German) are said across the world to wish someone who sneezes good health...or to stop the devil from claiming your soul but whatever. However, Japanese people don’t say anything when you sneeze. At first, I thought I had a lot of fake friends, but considering how many people sneeze without even attempting to cover their nose, mouth or entire face, I’m surprised that people don’t say ‘ew’ let alone ‘bless you’.
I’m convinced that some people think that they are wearing a mask to contain their coughs and sneezes when in reality they aren’t, and their germs are being projected everywhere.
While we’re on the topic, it is also considered rude to blow your nose in Japan whereas in England, constantly sniffing, or worse, sucking up your snot, is seen as more of a nuisance. Especially in an exam.
Hugs, kisses, and PDA
English people aren’t ashamed of a hug or embarrassed by a kiss. If you read my post on things I noticed in South Korea, you would know that South Korea takes PDA to a whole new level! However, compared to England and South Korea, Japan is a lot further down the list on executing Public Displays of Affection.
Some Brits and Koreans take it too far in public which is why I was initially very grateful for the modesty and public decency in Japan. However, I eventually grew tired of watching couples holding pinkies instead of hands, and awkwardly waving goodbye at train stations instead of hugging or stealing a quick kiss. It was even more frustrating when I went on dates with Japanese people myself and they would friend-zone me in public and cling to me once heads had turned.
As someone with what I call ‘juicy thighs’ (in attempts to raise my self-esteem), it was nice to come back to a country where the average thigh is the width of two Japanese thighs put together.
Not to say that Japanese girls (and guys!) are too thin, it is simply that I am more likely to see others with a similar body shape to me on the streets and in the media and that makes me feel a little more comfortable with my body image. However, to give a point back to Japan, thanks to the biking culture, seeing a nice, tight booty is not uncommon!
Tax-included in the price
A little thing that you take for granted.
In Japan, the price is huge and attention-grabbing, but I sigh when I discover that those 200 yen tomatoes are actually 230 or something. You have to scour menus for the characters 税込み (tax-included) and 税抜き (tax not-included), which sometimes will be at the bottom of the page like the fine print of a contract.
In England, the price you see is the price you pay and the small print tends to be the previous price on a sale item to remind you that you're getting a great deal!
Not that I condone it, but isn't there something liberating about ignoring social pressures and traffic safety laws to cross a clear road? (End sarcasm)
I never received dirty looks in Japan for ignoring the red man when running for the train or to work, because some Japanese people do it too! However, to the vast majority, I felt that I was coming across as a typical foreigner who was too impatient to spare 30 seconds of my oh-so-busy life, and so I too began to wait patiently for the green man.
Now, it should be obvious that I missed other things like English food (if you said ‘ew, why’ then you have to read my post on the top things to eat in England), and appreciated being able to fully grasp the language being spoken around me, but these are the main things that I was happy to return to England for. You should definitely make the most of these things if you travel to England, so kiss all the people and cross all the streets!