Japan can often seem like a mystery to the outside world. Name another country that would put what is basically a nappy on a grown man, and make them wrestle around on the floor. No, I can’t think of anywhere else either. Despite its quirks, or perhaps because of its quirks, Japan is an excellent place to live.
Put simply, Japan is so popular because it is so … weird isn’t the right word, but diverse. Yes, Japan is so popular because it is so diverse and different. What you think is normal in one part of the world is deemed very abnormal in the land of the rising sun, and vice versa.
It’s impossible to list all the things that make Japan different from the West, as well as the all the things that are done in exactly the same the world over, however here are just four of the differences you might find.
You might think nowhere in the world can rival the USA for ‘have a nice day now’ customer service, however Japan goes one step further and is famed for its high level of making sure the customer is always happy and right. Think elevators for instance; how many times have you had someone push the button and open the door for you, simply because it’s their job? No, I don’t have that regularly either, but in Japan its common place. This is just a small example of how the Japanese go over and above the call of duty.
Environmental or love cycling?
Space is at a premium in Japan, especially in the big cities like Tokyo, and because of that more and more people are choosing to cycle to get around. The Metro is always packed, and it’s often the case that you have to elbow and push and shove to get on and off. Not everyone likes that, I certainly wouldn’t, so this is why you will find huge parking lots that are full of bicycles and not cars. Cycling is just considered a totally mainstream and normal way to get to and from work etc.
You’re not expected to tip
The Western world is pretty much dominated by the worry of tipping. Do you do it? Don’t you do it? How much do you tip? It’s a minefield. In Japan however, you don’t have this problem because it’s simply not a part of Japanese culture to tip. You pay the price you’re given, and that’s it. Simple. Much better if you ask me.
Now, eating is one of those personal things that everyone has a take on, yet in Japan, eating habits and customs will probably cause many a westerner to raise their eyebrows. I guess it comes down to the kinds of food you might be eating traditionally, such as soup, rice and noodles, but it’s totally acceptable and expected to slurp and raise your bowel to your mouth to finish off your food. If you did that in a western restaurant you might be considered rude – not in Japan.
There are a million differences, can you think of any others?