10 Things I find 'Strange' (but secretly lovin') about Japan!
BEING STRANGERSJan 16TH, 2016
This post has always been on my phone's note app for the longest time. While I was living in Japan, there were a couple of culturally strange things I face every few days, so after a few times, I decided to jot it down! Please note that, when I say STRANGE, I actually meant it in a good way.
When you buy something at the supermarket or convenient stores, basically anywhere that requires you to pay cash, the cashiers will actually COUNT the money for you in front of you before returning you your change. WOW. Honesty at its best. I love it actually because I'm the kind of customer who just shove the change directly into my wallet without counting. haha I'll be more focus at collecting my items and not hogging the queue behind me.
Japanese are either too patient or too free. I don't know, but somehow they LOVE TO/ARE WILLING to queue for novelty things! For example, opening of fashion stores, sales, new desserts or pancake places like Ice Monster, Eggs & Things, Bills and the newly opened Dominique Ansel. At anytime of the day, whoa, long queue everywhere!!! It's to the extend when I actually pass by my favourite Eggs & Things and see no queue, I would totally have that for brunch even though it wasn't planned. hahaha
3. Eating Alone
Somehow people find eating alone very acceptable. And, because I was roaming the streets of Japan often by myself, I am happy with such a culture. I find that when I'm in Singapore, I'm not used to eating alone haha but overseas... sure why not! Even in the famous Ramen chain store, Ichiran, they have one-seater booths. How considerate!
4. Wet Tissues
I'm an avid fan of supermarkets and convenient stores. One thing I noticed is the cashiers put wet tissue in the plastic bags regardless of what I buy. Be it a small chocolate bar or a bento set. I find that really thoughtful! I thought that it was for us to clean our hands after meals, but my Japanese friend told me she thinks it's for us to use before meals, to ensure cleanliness. hahaha whatever it is for, whether before or after, I still think it's quite awesome! I always appreciated it!
5. Dressing Rooms
I love shopping! DUH! And, there was once I wanted to try on some clothes. The lady at the dressing room handed me a dust-like face mask. I had no idea what it is for until my Japanese friend explained to me! So apparently it's for us to put on so that our make up and hairdo will not be 'destroyed' when trying on clothes! At the same time, it prevents us from dirtying the shop's clothes with makeup smearing etc. Wow, such geniuses!
Another thing is, they encourage you to put ur shoes outside the dressing cubicle. So normally my shoes will face head-in right? When I stepped out, my shoes were facing me! Meaning, the lady at the dressing room took the initiative to turn it around just to make life easier for me... like I could just slip it on without my feet touching the floor and leave the dressing room conveniently!
Foreign stores like H&M and F21 are way cheaper in Japan compared to Singapore. Forever having sale, big slash sales! In fact, these stores are also cheaper than their own local stores like those located at Shibuya 109. To be honest, the stuffs at Shibuya 109 are very trendy and pretty but prices are steep and there was once, I actually found a same piece triple the price of what I got in Hong Kong!
7. Powder Rooms
It is not common that ladies washroom have an extra area cordon off just to create space for a legit powder room. Shows the Japanese culture of ladies who typically dress up, puts effect into making up and definitely, always looking their best.
or rather, the lack of dustbins. Among the whole list, this is probably the only one I don't like! It is very inconvenient to eat on the streets and find a proper dustbin. Having said that, you don't see much litter on the floor. Reason? Japanese find it rude to eat and walk or even eat in public areas. Even if you still do so, they believe that you can store the litter in your bag and go home to throw instead of throwing away in public dustbins. Beats me, I don't know why. All I know is IF Singapore doesn't have dustbins conveniently placed around, everyone will probably start littering. I don't want that to happen so I really thank god for public dustbins, regardless of their size.
There's lack of wifi. Anywhere. Yes really, you better buy a 3G SIM-data card upon arrival in Japan. They have this 14 day visitor are where you can get at BIC electronics! On a brighter note, it's not that bad... Starbucks and Family Mart has wifi but you have to sign in with troublesome steps. Oh shopping malls may have but you have to get password from the info counter. JR platforms have as well but you have to sign in too. Generally on the streets, it's hard to get wifi with the exception of Ginza shopping street!
How ironic! It is a country that I felt treated its visitors better than citizens or people on long-term visa. Why? Only tourists can buy the JR pass!!! Also, when shopping at malls or even on the long, crowded and very fashionable Harajuku streets, you get tax-free (yes save $$$) if you present your passports. Citizens do not have such privilege so I always make sure to bring my passport along if I know I'm heading down for a shopping spree.