6 Things I Noticed In Japan
Unlike my post on things I noticed in South Korea, I actually lived in Japan on two separate occasions, and so this list consists of more than just basic observations that I made during a 4-day trip to Kansai! I lived in Kyoto and never have I ever been to Eastern or Northern Japan, so keep that in mind since a few of these things might be different in Yokohama or Sapporo!
This is a part of Japanese culture that I both love and hate. I love it because it gets many smokers off the streets and into restaurants, but I hate it when I'm in those restaurants… I ordered katsu curry not second-hand smoke curry with a risk of lung cancer…
Sometimes you can tell that the establishment didn't even try to separate their smoking and non-smoking sections because sometimes the only thing between them is a sign…
This means ‘standing and reading’. In England, it's frowned upon to stand and read a book or flick through a magazine for ten minutes, put it back and leave the store without buying it. Makes sense - it's not a library! However, you'll see several people reading their favourite manga (comic) in Book Off or their favourite porn in the convenience store…with zero shame, I might add.
Read my post on 3 things I don’t understand about America and you will understand why the lack of tipping culture is something I noticed immediately! I've heard that the mentality is that you should expect no less than excellent service. If you leave a tip, they might return it to as if you are a tourist who can't count Japanese money. I suggest that you save your loose change for street performers and charities.
Sniffing vs Nose-blowing
Blowing your nose is considered rude and sniffing up boogers is somehow more polite…but at least it's better than the spitting culture in South Korea…sniff away, Japan!
You hear about this high-pitched nasaly voice used by people in the service industry and I can't explain how amusing and yet incredibly annoying it is. This greeting soon becomes background noise that you can drown out.
7-Eleven and Family Mart dominated
Japan is full of convenience stores for your convenience, but out of all the chains, these two are practically fighting for dominance! Walk down the street in central Kyoto and I’m sure you’ll count far more 7-Eleven’s and Family Mart’s than Lawson’s and K mart’s!
Now, don't get me wrong, this isn't a list of things I dislike or hate about Japan (those are far more serious), I simply noticed them over the course of one and a bit years and happen to have a positive, negative or indifferent opinion on them.
I actually have a much longer list including God-sends like table bells and tiny details like bag stickers, but we'll see how well-received these 6 things are.