Settling in Japan

It’s been about half a year since moving to Japan and I could say I have settled in….but I won’t…because I haven’t.  To be honest, I probably won’t feel settled in until I have mastered reading and writing kanji (the Chinese characters used in Japanese writing).   It’s a slow learning process and it doesn’t help that my brain isn’t as absorbent as it used to be, but I feel as though I am improving.  Perhaps I’ll post my methodologies for learning kanji one day 😛  Anyway, that’s beside the point; I wanted to share some things I have noticed during my first several months of living here:

Japan is clean

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It really is clean. I can only speak for the city I live in and the general areas of the city center, but it’s relatively clean. Not much garbage flying in the wind despite the lack of accessible garbage bins in public. I also appreciate the fact that the usual fast food dining places encourage recycling with the proper slot for left over liquids, paper, plastic, and lids.

Hand washing …or lack there of

So you’d think since Japan is so clean that the general public would also be the same way. Now, perhaps it’s a coincidence, but whenever I use a public washroom, I have noticed that most women don’t properly wash their hands. They usually ‘wash’ (and by wash I mean, wet) their hands for about 2-3 seconds. I have also noticed that some washrooms don’t even have soap! (>_<)… Imagine all those germs, especially because Japan has not yet adapted the ‘sneeze in your arm’ technique.  I have seen it being promoted on the news back when I visited Japan last year, but people continue to sneeze into their hands or cough/sneeze without covering their mouths. Ewwwwie…

Everything is so convenient

(except for banking -> I’ll have to rant about this at another time)

I’m starting to get used to this convenience.

  • You can get virtually anything from the convenience store; anything from a loaf of bread to socks = convenient
  • Trains and buses (where I live) run frequently and ON TIME = convenient
  • There’s an abundance of restaurants.  You can easily grab a good bowl of udon (noodles) for $3.00 if you’re in a rush and don’t want to spend money, or just grab an onigiri (rice ball) from the convenience store = convenient
  • Daiso (ie dollar store) has EVERYTHING!  No joke.  My husband lost weight and needed and extra hole in his belt; Daiso had a tool for that, and it was only $1!  I appreciate Dollarama back in Canada, but I found that many $2-$3 were making their way onto the shelves. Another thing about Daiso that I really appreciate is the English explanation on their packages! Daiso = convenient  (please see recent Daiso purchases below)
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A portable washroom! Great for when you’re stuck in Tokyo traffic with kids, or when you’re climbing a mountain full of people and no washroom in sight (which is why I bought one)

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Ladies are perfect

The women here look perfect, not an eyelash out of place.  I can’t be bothered to apply make up, other than under eye concealer because it’s so freaking hot and humid here.  Yet, I see the pretty ladies, not a drip of sweat on their face, looking perfect with matte skin and nicely done hair as I wait for my train sweating like a pig.  I just don’t get it.  How is this possible? There are many times I’m on the train and I feel very out of place with my almost bare face and hairy arms :p  I would have never imagined that something shallow like this would bother me, but it is :/ ..what am I turning into ?

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One response to “Settling in Japan

  1. Hello! I discovered your YouTube channel on Philofaxy and have been enjoying watching your videos and Instagram feed. I remember what is was like to be a fish out of water when I lived in Tokyo ten years ago. It must be hard for you because people must assume you can speak Japanese fluently. I hope it’s going well for you, and ganbatte!

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