Few foreigners who live in Japan stay for the long term; some expats anxiously down the days until they can return home, while others drag their feet. Whatever group you belong to, there are parts of Japanese life that are certainly difficult to let go of when you leave. We look at what 10 things everyone misses when they leave Japan – the land of the rising sun.
After a year or two in Japan, most individuals grow acclimated to the degree of cleanliness that is common even in the busiest portions of the major cities. Clean subway carriages, pristine residences, and garbage-free streets rapidly become an expectation wherever you go. For some, the homecoming might be an unpleasant awakening; most people are thrilled to be back home until they discover a homeless man peeing inside a telephone booth.
Public transit is available
Japan has the most comprehensive network of railways and subways in the world. Local trains, commuter rails, and high-speed railways can get you almost everywhere in the nation quickly and comfortably. Even wealthier people prefer to take public transit; there is less of a shame associated with not owning a car here, and the restricted space makes driving more of a hassle than a convenience.
There is something to be said for being able to stroll home alone at three a.m. without fear of being robbed. In a crowded restaurant, it is entirely safe to leave your laptop or bag on the table to visit the restroom. Even major cities, like as Tokyo and Osaka, are secure at night. This is another feature of Japanese living that foreigners tend to take for granted until they return home and recall what it’s like to constantly check their pockets.
The culinary culture
Food in Japan is delectable, inexpensive, and accessible 24 hours a day. Convenience stores such as 711 and Family Mart also provide freshly cooked meals, snacks, and drinks. Meals are often shared by everyone at the table when dining out, resulting in a more communal experience than an individual one. Restaurant menus frequently alter to match the season in order to keep things fresh all year.
When it comes to the service business, Japan is unrivaled. The client is king here, and giving exceptional service is an important aspect of any job training, regardless of profession or position. Again, most individuals begin to take this for granted until they return home and demand the same level of customer care.
Do you sleep at your desk?
Japanese corporate life is not for the faint of heart, but there is one part of Japanese work culture that all expats adore: it is totally okay to snooze at your desk – even in the midst of the work day. Rather than appearing lazy, this is interpreted as a sign that you have been working so hard (and maybe putting in a lot of overtime) that you have simply exhausted your energy reserves and need to recharge your batteries. Your employer will leave you alone if you don’t miss the two-hour meeting at the end of the day.
TOTO, a Japanese corporation, has a stranglehold on toilets that spray water into your genitalia. A washlet is a toilet/bidet combination that lets the user to conduct their business without having to wipe afterwards. It offers a variety of settings for the intensity, temperature, and position (front and back), and after you’re through, it feels like you just took a shower. After the experience, anything less seemed to be sheer brutality.
Most individuals connect cops with trouble and would want to avoid any contact with them. This is not the situation in Japan; there are koban (police boxes with one or two policemen inside) near almost every railway station, and their primary role is to help passengers find their way about the city or resolve any difficulties that may arise.
For those who don’t mind being naked in public, Japan is home to some of the world’s finest natural hot springs and bath houses. Onsen can be found in every region of Japan and are hugely popular among locals and travelers alike. Bathers enjoy a hot bath while taking in views of mountain landscapes, deep valleys, and lush forests. The onsen experience offers a certain peace and serenity that is hard to find outside of Japan.
People you come across
Living abroad broadens your social circle and introduces you to people you would not have met otherwise. While each member of the group may come from a different background, everyone is bonded by the common thread of being an expat in Japan. As members of the group return to their home countries, their numbers decline over time. This is unavoidable, so take advantage of it while it lasts.