5 Most Surprising Things in Japan
When someone travels to Japan for the first time, as a tourist or for business reasons, they are often surprised by the same things after arrival. This amazement usually stems from the large contrast or the great cultural differences that exists between Japan and the western world.
We made a list of the 5 most common things that surprise newly-arrived foreigners in Japan.
1- Irasshaimase: When entering any store or restaurant in Japan, the customer will always be received with a cordial expression: “irasshaimase”. This phrase means something like “welcome, please come inside.” It is a greeting made with great respect and with a smile, and it is usually proclaimed pretty loudly, hence the surprise!
2- In many locations in the city you can feel the presence of Kawaii. This word can be translated as ‘pretty’ or ‘cute’. It includes characters, symbols, animals, signs, books, and gifts. In Japan, kawaii is about making all kinds of things smooth and pretty through the implementation of kawaii in daily life.
3- In Japan, there is also a word called ‘Inemuri‘. This word refers to the act of falling asleep standing or sitting on public transportation without paying much attention to your surroundings and, almost always, waking up right upon arrival at the destination station. It is something that surprises many foreigners when visiting the great cities of the country. In Japan, sleeping on public transport is a symbol of the hard work of the day and it doesn’t make you look bad.
4- In Japan, it is not rude to eat noodles by slurping. Rather, it symbolizes that you are enjoying the full flavor of the food. It is very common to go to any soba, udon or ramen restaurant and hear all the diners slurp their noodles. It may seem a little unpleasant at first, but over time you will get used to it.
5- Public transportation is neat and punctual. Trains in Japan, in any direction, will arrive at the time indicated in the schedule panel. If there is a delay, they will let the riders know several minutes in advance so that they will be mentally prepared. In addition to this, it should be noted that the seats of the trains look like sofas because they are padded and with different decorations depending on the line. The train service in Japan, apart from being efficient, is clean and elegant.
What will or what has surprise(d) you on your first visit to Japan?