10 Things that Make Japan so Unique!
When you’ve never been to Japan and someone asks you, “Tell me what you think Japan is like?” you’re most likely going to give answers like, “I’m sure there’s a lot of sushi, anime things, and cosplay!” which may be true. But the things that make Japan so unique are really the small things in daily life here! So let me just point out 10 things that make Japan so unique from anywhere else!
Like you expect, if you go to certain parts of Tokyo (mostly Harajuku) you’ll see plenty of people dressed up like manga and anime characters. That’s not the end of Tokyo fashion. There are plenty of other characters that make up the unique Japanese fashion groups.
- Salarymen- Never have I seen so many men dressed in suits in my life. Everyday no matter where you go there will be no shortage of men from the age of 20 to 65 wearing suits. You would think that the weekend would mean no suits but there is never a shortage of suits.
- School Uniforms- from kindergarteners to high school students you’re sure to be able to tell who is a student. Kindergarteners have cute little round hats; elementary school students usually carry around a randoseru, a square leather backpack, and everyone else has the typical school uniform (white button up and pants or a skirt).
- Kimono- Even though kimonos may be seen just as a traditional icon, you can still see people wearing kimonos all over Tokyo!
- Masks-Is there an outbreak of something? No, people in Japan often wear medical masks to either prevent getting or spreading the common cold. So don’t worry if you see crowds of people in surgical masks!
Most people use bikes, busses, and trains to commute. Because of this there are huge bike parking lots. People buy monthly passes to park their bikes in a safe area! Make sure you get there early if you want a spot in the one-day parking- those tend to fill up really quick! During rush hour the busses and trains are completely jam-packed! If you don’t like getting cozy you better wake up really early or ride the trains mid day when everyone else is at work! Handy for ladies, most lines have a female only cart during rush hour!
The magical green IC cards: Suica
The Suica card was first developed to ease the commute for train riders. Now it’s become much more than that. Touch the Suica card on the sensor on your way into the bus and it will automatically pay for your fare. Go to certain convenient stores and restaurants and you can use it as a prepaid card. Some vending machines are even set to be able to accept your little green card! Just with the touch of the magical green card.
Cashier at the grocery store
You grab a cart, you fill it with groceries, and you line up to pay. When it’s your turn to have your items rung at the register is when things get interesting. The cashier will read out the price of each item and tell you if anything was discounted. Sometimes they speak so fast you can’t even understand them, but it’s the thought that counts right??? In times when you only buy one or 2 items and you don’t need a bag, they’ll mark the items with a small piece of tape to prove that the items in your hands were paid for!
High tech restaurants
Grabbing dinner has never been this much fun! Some Japanese restaurants (especially ramen shops)
have vending machines where you pay for it there and receive a ticket to get your meal! There are also other restaurants that have an electronic touch screen menu where with just a touch of the screen you can choose and receive your meal! No need to wave the waiter down anymore!
As mentioned earlier, commuting is chaotic but surprisingly also very orderly. Even though there are huge lines to get into the trains, you get shoved into the trains, and sometimes you don’t even make it on, no one ever raises their voice nor is there any sneaking in front of the line. Makes the chaos a little more bearable right?
Arcades and Pachinko
Most big malls and department stores have an arcade hidden somewhere within it. Not only that they have so many games you never thought could exist! My personal favorite is the purikura These machines let you take your picture and add any background and details to the picture! In the end they’re printed out in small sticker form. Pachinko is the biggest form of gambling in Japan. These noisy crowded pachinko halls are guaranteed to show up a few times if you just walk down the streets of Tokyo.
“The taxis do what?”
As if Japan wasn’t already tech-y enough, the taxi doors open automatically. No need to fumble around to try and open the door, with one push of a button by the driver the door opens up. Enough said.
You will see more vending machines in Japan then you have ever seen before in your life. They are literally everywhere! Not only that you can almost buy anything: soda, hot coffee, beer, candy, a meal, tobacco, newspaper, bread… you get the idea.
And of course… the toilets
if you haven’t heard already, Japan has very high tech toilets. They have seat warmers and bidets. Not only that for those who are worried about germs they have disinfectant spray that you can wipe the seat down with first, and for those who are self-conscious pee-ers there’s a button you can push that’ll make a flushing sound to mask any other sounds! Why didn’t we think of all this at home?!
Now that you know all the weird quirks of Japan, why not come see it for yourself?!