Life in Japan: 20 Things

I’ve been living in Japan just shy of 3 weeks. I’ve experienced and observed a lot, but still have a lot to absorb. It dawned on me though that there are things I absolutely LOVE about this country so far, and things I am learning to deal with. I thought I’d share 20 things in each area.  Here goes…

Things I LOVE:

  1.  School lunches (this is a first!- and they’re actually served in real china dishware, a nice touch!)
  2. Teachers can wear jeans to school, ALL THE TIME-Yeah!
  3. Macarons (Japanese sweets, google them :))
  4. Students calling me ‘Steffani-sensei’
  5. Walking to school everyday (and everywhere else for that matter! I do plan on getting a second-hand bike soon though)
  6. Worshipping among a diverse body of believers in Japanese 🙂
  7. 100 Yen shops
  8. Babies (OK, so babies are cute everywhere sure, but for some reason Japanese babies capture the essence of that word in my opinion)
  9. Meeting unique people and finding commonality
  10. Figuring out public transportation (each time I successfully get to where I’m supposed to be going, without delays or getting lost, it’s a small victory!)
  11. Japan loves their curry rice, and so do I! (Yakiniku comes in at a close #2!)
  12. Communication success (usually by making a fool of myself with silly gestures)
  13. Hearing a Japanese man TELL me “How charming are you.” 🙂
  14. Taxis! (What a service! Generally operated and owned by one individual, who takes great care to maintain his vehicle-usually a Mercedes-drivers  typically wear suits & white gloves, open doors for you, take care of all your bags, & cover their seats with lace. Talk about 5-star service!)
  15. Watching little girls practice a traditional & delicate dance in Kimonos  🙂
  16. Japan’s service-oriented culture (they bow ALL THE TIME and there’s just this overwhelming and immense respect and politeness)
  17. When random people approach me and want to practice their English
  18. 70-80 year-olds riding bicycles (no wonder Japan has the longest longevity in the world-longest longevity- am I allowed to say that?)
  19. Fashion in Japan (women here are trendy and beautiful-I’m taking notes!)
  20. Hearing students say “I lub you!” (Students greet me like a celebrity and even though most of the time they’re being little jokesters, it never gets old and always makes me smile) 🙂

Things I’m learning to deal with:

  1.  So Japan is very energy and waste conscious /efficient, but seriously, do I have to sort through my trash and put out a different pile each day of the week?
  2. Again, great that they’re waste-conscious, but I’d really love some paper towels or a hand dryer in the bathrooms
  3. Having my life determined by train schedules
  4. Everything comes in miniature! (Ok, so I know I’m comparing this to my HUGE American portions and standards, but c’mon I get like maybe 2 bowls out of a cereal box over here!)
  5. Having to cover up my tattoo…ALWAYS!
  6. Not being understood or able to communicate, much of the time
  7. No dryer, therefore stiff and wrinkled clothes 😦
  8. Being away from people I care about
  9. Kids pointing and staring at me almost everywhere I go (being a foreigner or a minority definitely gives you a unique perspective)
  10. Life without peanut butter (fortunately some of my friends back home are solving this dilemma for me via care package 🙂 )
  11. Toilets, literally a hole in the ground (Squatting? No thank you)
  12. The Japanese like to put mayonnaise on everything! Ick!
  13. Remembering Japanese names
  14. Loneliness
  15. Japanese maps (they’re just terrible!)
  16. How expensive everything is
  17. Being late the first time I go somewhere (due either to the terrible maps, or just how confusing it can be to get around in general-though I guess the other option is it could just be my bad sense of direction? Nah…that can’t be it)
  18. No Wifi anywhere! (Starbucks, I expected more from you!)
  19. No T.V. (Well, I have a T.V. but it doesn’t do me much good when everything’s in a different language-more time to read or nap though I guess :))
  20. Last minute changes to lesson plans (that’s why they call them “plans,” they cease to be plans if you can’t PLAN!)

There you have it.  Just my initial observations.  Hope you enjoyed 🙂

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One thought on “Life in Japan: 20 Things

  1. Stef, I sympathize, saying prayers for you and adapting to your circumstances and for safety. Please always be careful and not too trusting of everyone…ok?

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