We collected a few curiosities and tips while in Japan. We hope you’ll find them useful, or interesting!
– Japanese girls and women are mostly always pictured wearing super tight and short clothing in anime and manga, but in reality, they wear loose clothing and, even during summer months, they end up wearing long sleeves and long bottoms to avoid sun damage. During colder months we see women wearing shorter clothes more often than during summer.
– I don’t know how they do it, but I’ve never heard a child make a sound at night. Not once. Even adult sounds are heard only on Friday and Saturday nights. They take noise seriously.
– There are western style toilets and Japanese style toilets. Most foreigners tend to wait in the long line for the western style toilets but trust me: the Japanese style toilets are great. It’s easier to do what you gotta do without touching the vase. Just make sure you do it facing the higher part of the toilet. And throw that toilet paper in the vase.
– Speaking of toilets, in residential toilets (mostly) there’s a little sink that feeds water to the flush and you can and should wash your hands there. The houses I visited keep a bottle of hand soap there.
– Always carry a handkerchief with you. It’ll wipe off your sweat, your hands after the toilet (not all toilets offer paper or hand dryers), and even serve as a hat when the sun’s too hot.
– Use your coins, the attendants wait patiently always and they do prefer to receive the small change slowly over give out loads of coins.
– Tattooed people aren’t allowed in pools, onsens (thermal springs) and some beaches. Even when there isn’t any control (like in some beaches) tattooed people get a lot of personal space and, maybe, an empty beach.
– People are using phones ALL THE TIME. It’s amazing there aren’t loads of accidents.
– Mobile internet there is really good – we used it all the time.
– There isn’t much free wi-fi around. We found some at Mc Donald’s, at the airport and express bus waiting rooms.
– They use every little space very smartly, and it can be a bit difficult to get used to it at first. When you get used to it, though, it’s difficult to turn back.
– I once picked up a little pack of dog treat a lady dropped on the street and gave it back to her. She thanked me profusely and we walked away. We crossed each other a few times that day and every time, she thanked me again. Get used to it, and thank everyone a lot. Forever, maybe. Thanking and apologizing.
– Japanese food is not raw fish only. It’s a bit sweet, mostly healthy and fresh.
– Not all beaches are for swimming. For real.
– They try really hard not to disturb each other, so even chatting inside public transport is considered rude.
– Bikes are a very common transport method, from the school kids to business people to mothers with 2 kids to the elderly. There are bike parking lots everywhere as well as bikes parked in improper places. I’ve even seen one person riding a bike on a rainy day holding an umbrella and texting on the phone (or catching Pokémon, who knows?), all at the same time.
– People don’t eat while walking. It’s rude, so sit down and have your crepe enjoying the view.
– Even though water is served in restaurants for free, tea is the usual drink. I’ve had tea at the bank, at the optometrist, and everywhere where there’s free tea. The kids, on the other hand, end up not having anything because they don’t like tea.
– Couples (and friend groups, sometimes) wear matching clothes. I love it.
– Even though people aren’t allowed to smoke on the streets, in loads of restaurants, game centers, and malls, they are.
– Some streets are very narrow and most of them are two-way streets, which pedestrians and bikes also use.
– There are crows everywhere. EVERYWHERE.
If I remember anything new, I’ll keep adding to this list!
How different is it from where you live?