I have been living in Japan for over the last 14 years, sometimes I feel that I am more Japanese in my way than Australian. These are my observations of Japan.
1 Japanese love to compliment people
Japanese really do love to compliment foreigners, it doesn’t matter if you can only say one word of Japanese and they’ll be saying oooh wow your Japanese is really good, too bad that might be the only thing they can say.
You are eating at a restaurant and your using chopsticks, the beautiful girl you’re having dinner with leans over the table, looks at you straight into your eyes, she whispers something into your ear. Your expecting it to be sweet and romantic words and this is what she says”Wow you really know how to use chopsticks don’t you”.
You meet someone for the first time you’re expecting them to say hello. How are you, nice to meet you something like that, but what blurts out more often than not is “wow your nose is big isn’t it” What happens if I have something else that’s big.
2 Be careful of Japanese Grandma’s they can be lethal
You are waiting for the train as it approaches, you all line up in an orderly fashion to board, its quite crowded as usual, you’re about to stand next to the door as you only have a 15 minute ride to where you have to get off, then out of the corner of your eye you notice a vacant seat.
You walk over to it, you’re already in the squat position, your bum is about to hit the seat when all of a sudden out of nowhere comes a flying tackle you’ve been hit hard by both of those boney elbows, you hit the floor of the train, you look up and looking down at you , sitting all nice and comfortable is a little old lady with grey hair smiling at you, probably thinking that my nose is big.
3 Japanese really do love brand name goods
It’s very nice how the Japanese people take great care and pride in themselves to look good, unfortunately they spend all their coin on luxury goods. I had always known that they love brand name goods but they really do go to the extreme.
From the age of 16 all they think about is fashion, all they want out of life is to have the latest Gucci, Lois Vuitton or Armani bag. They work their bums off for a lousy $ 7.50 an hour and when they have saved around $1000, what do you think they go out and do. They buy a bag and when they have done that they do the same thing again, over and over.
You know you have been in Japan far too long when in every photo that you take, there is you somewhere in the photo with your hands up doing the peace sign. The bad thing about it is that you have no idea that you are even posing like that until you send some copies to your parents and you get an e-mail back from them saying I love the photos Chris, but why does every photo have you doing strange peace signs with your fingers.
5 Japanese live in shoe boxes
Japanese houses have always been known to be small, just like most houses in Asia but I never knew they could live in a house the size of a shoe box. My best friend lives in one in Tokyo.
I went to visit him and I found myself with claustrophobia. You literally can’t turn around in the place, you have your futon (Japanese bed) a bench with a small stove to cook and your toilet and that’s the whole place. God help my friend if I needed to go to the toilet while I was there. I would of stank the whole place out.
6 Japanese like to practice their English
It’s always nice when you are on the train, in a bookstore or having a coffee by yourself , when someone comes and asks if they could practice their English. I’m always up for a chat so I tell them sure have a seat not a problem at all if you want to speak some English. So here’s how the conversation goes I was just wondering, if you could tell me what’s the difference between present perfect and past perfect. Grammar I think to myself I thought you wanted to practice your English not have a University lecture.
7 Be prepared to go to Karaoke
This will definitely happen at least once while you are in Japan there is absolutely no chance of avoiding it. You can’t say you don’t know any Japanese because they also have English songs for you to sing.
So you’ll go to the karaoke booth with your friends or co workers, you’ll sit down have a drink while the others are singing away, you’ll have another drink and then another until all of a sudden you jump up and start singing.
The first time everyone is clapping they have been waiting for you to sing all night, then your song finishes it should be the next persons turn but you arer up there singing again, the song finishes but you can’t help yourself you just have to sing you feel like you are the next American idol.
8 Never be late
Japanese are very punctual people. They always arrive on time but most times they arrive about 20 minutes before they have too. This was the hardest habit for me to break being an Australian (we would have to be the least punctual people on the planet)
I would be meeting my friend say at 1pm for lunch and at 1:01 there would be a call on my mobile. I don’t answer it as I’m running up the stairs and will see my friend in 30 seconds. I see him and say konnichiwa and all he does is shake his head in disbelief that I am late. Come on its only 1:01.
9 Japanese love to travel
Japanese love to travel; most of them have been to many countries, probably more than me. I ask my friends come holiday time if they’re going anywhere and most of them tell you they are off to such exotic places or to some of the biggest cities in the world. One of my friends just returned to Japan from New York. I asked him how his trip was, interested of course to know. He tells me he went to New York for 4 days. Come on 4 days it takes a day to get there, a day to get back, you went all the way to New York for 2 days. Yes my friend said but they were 2 great days.
10 The company comes before family
There is nothing wrong with loving your job, it would be great if most people even enjoyed their job, but in Japan their job comes before their family. If their boss tells them to do it, they must do it, if their wife asks them to do something they have to ask their boss first for permission.
They cannot leave the office until their boss leaves if they leave early it is looked upon them as being lazy and not part of the family (company).
I on the other hand am not part of the family therefore I ‘m allowed to leave whenever I feel like it, so sometimes it’s good to be a Caucasian who has a big nose.
This post is not to be taken too seriously, just a bit of fun.
Next week see my 10 observations of Australia
If you have been to Japan, tell us some of the observations that you observed.