5 Things I Love About Japan
I lived in Japan on two separate occasions. Although there are a handful of things I prefer about England, Japan is a place that I simply prefer existing in.
Here are 5 major differences are what draw me back to this wonderful country.
If you’ve read my post on things to do in Japan, you would already know how strongly I feel about being naked in public: everyone should visit a public bath house.
I grew up a shower-girl; I thought baths were boring, wasted water and took up too much of my time. However, Japanese sento (artificially heated baths) and onsen (natural hot springs) make me feel like I’m rewarding myself for existing. I discovered how great it is for the system, skin and blood circulation to dip in and out of scorching hot and ice-cold baths. It’s an incredible experience that quickly became a bi-monthly habit.
Another major difference between British and Japanese culture is the idea that Japan doesn’t sleep. With the exception of banks, there is always something open, somewhere to go, and something to do. I could pop to the 24-hour supermarket or convenience store next door at 1 am, sing my heart out at karaoke at 2 am, then go clubbing until the first train at 5 am!
I had a hard time choosing between public transport and Japanese toilets and I think I’m going to have to choose the toilets because they are unlike anything I’ve ever experienced! By Japanese toilets, I’m referring to the Western-style Japanese toilets and not the traditional squat toilets. Western-style toilets heat up, come with a bidet, and make waterfall sounds to mask the sound of your descending feces. If you’re the type to spend more time than necessary on your phone, it’s even harder with a heated seat in winter!
Ahem. Right. So, we’re all adults here.
Let’s talk about this place that allows you to be intimate in absolute privacy. As many Japanese adults live with their families or in university or work dorms, they can escape to love hotels for half an hour to as long as overnight. Since you can spend a very short amount of time there and return to reality soon afterwards, love hotels are very well-stocked with toiletries, catering, coughessentialscough and other services. Love hotels can also be incredibly useful when you miss the last train and would rather not check into a 12-person hostel or a coffin-like capsule (hotel).
Rice and meat culture
If you need to know anything about me and my relationship with food is that I like it best if there is meat in it. And after living in Asia for a few months, I became very attracted to the idea of a big bowl of white rice.
Needless to say, donburi (meat on rice) is my favourite Japanese food. Oyakodon (chicken and egg on rice), gyudon (beef on rice), katsudon (pork cutlet on rice)…plus all-you-can-eat shabu-shabu (boiled pork) and yakiniku (BBQ) and omurice (omelette rice) meant that I ate very well in my almost 2 years in Japan!
For those who can’t indulge in this side of Japan’s food culture then rest assured that Japan does have an abundance of fish and vegetables, but do be careful because meat stock and fish paste don’t often get counted as ‘meat’ and ‘fish’.
Of course, these are not the only reasons that I love Japan but they are certainly enough to make me stare longingly at my suitcase every few days that I’m not there…
Well, unless I’m in South Korea, which has enough similarities to adjust to the culture, but enough differences to want to visit just as often as I visited Japan.
I think everyone should go to Japan at least once though!