Sunday, October 18, 2009

Interesting Tidbits

There are several interesting tidbits we have discovered in the eight months since coming to Japan.
  1. Japan is a very cash based society. In the states I never carried cash. And if I went to the bank machine I took out, maybe $80. Here it is uncommon to take out less than $500 from the ATM and you really never use a credit card, unless you are at a department store. And even then, the credit card is really used like a debit card.
  2. Paying bills at 7-11 or Lawson's is the norm. You can even pay for your Amazon order at a convenient store!
  3. Women tend to wear less clothing in the winter than the warmer months.
  4. You are not supposed to eat or drink while walking. In fact if you order a beverage to-go they will put it in a sealed paper bag or wrap it up in a box.
  5. You will go to the grocery store almost every day.
  6. If you are a woman and use a credit card at a department store they will ask you if you want the payment to post one time or split up over several months. Apparently this is so the Japanese husband's really have no idea how much their wives are spending.
  7. Not many people can speak English here, unless you count "What is your name", "Where are you from" and "How long have you been in Japan." Needless to say we will all be champion charades players when we return to the States.
  8. Tipping never happens. In fact to many it is an insult to tip.
  9. You can buy anything in a vending machine –– drinks, alcohol, french fries, corn soup, and even Japanese curry.
  10. We will never become fluent in Japanese while on this assignment. And reading? Forget it.
  11. You can pay for a ¥60 Popsicle (about 65¢) with a ¥10,000 bill (about $109) and no one will even bat an eye.
  12. Open containers are not an issue here.
  13. If you see an accident, even a minor bump into a lamp post, there will be no less than eight policemen with tape measures on-site for several hours. What else is there to do in a country with no crime?
  14. Traveling within Japan is expensive.
  15. If you book a double hotel room you are actually booking a hotel room with a bed big enough for two people. A single room will be a bed big enough for one person. A twin room actually means two beds big enough for one person in each bed. And the rooms are tiny. Needless to say a family of five has a hard time staying in a hotel here.
  16. The Japanese eat rice for every meal. And they like food that looks at you while you try and eat it.
  17. The Japanese are very polite and most times go out of their way to help you, even with the language barrier –– until they get behind the wheel of a car.
  18. To get your driver's license it doesn't matter how good of a driver you are, rather how well you can play their "game".
  19. Everything in Japan is a process. And many times their process makes no sense to the rest of us.
  20. Do not move to Japan unless you like crowds.
  21. Anything goes as far as fashion. In fact this will have to be its own entry one day. Words cannot even describe some of the things we have seen here.

I actually could list many more, but I will save them for another day. Living in Japan is quite different from living in the States. I would love to talk to expats that come to live in the US for a while and see what things they find to be interesting or different. I bet we would be surprised at what they would put on their list.

1 comment:

Kimmber said...

I like #6!!

How are the Japanese lessons going?