We’ve heard so many stories about people who traveled to Japan and were shocked about the culture there. Coming from Indonesia, we figured that we wouldn’t have too much trouble adjusting. After all, we come from an Asian country too so how different could it be?
Boy, were we wrong. Japan was so different from any place we’ve experienced before, even from nearby China and Taiwan. Compared to the United States, it’s like complete opposites. No wonder we were surprised when we got there after spending months in the U.S. Here are some things that were unexpected or downright astonishing.
No Trash Cans
The first day we arrived in Japan we spent a while looking for a trash can to throw away some candy wrappers. We couldn’t find any. There were no trash cans on the streets, in stores or even in the malls. We had to keep our trash with us until we went to a restroom, which thankfully had them.
It made us wonder why there are no trash cans in public places. Maybe it’s for people to be more responsible for their trash? We don’t know, but it’s curious all the same.
Public Transport Actually Works
We’ve only lived in Indonesia and Western U.S., where public transportation isn’t the best. That’s why when we got to Japan we were very amazed at how good the public transportation system was. Trains come by every two minutes. Buses are never late. The Shinkansen took us from Kyoto to Tokyo in just 2 hours. It was so easy and so convenient, we wondered why other places don’t invest more on public transportation.
Vending Machines Everywhere
By everywhere we mean everywhere. Waiting rooms, ticket offices, malls, subway platforms, even in the sacred mountains of Inari. Best of all, the machines have cold and warm drinks to choose from. Our favorite is the Royal Milk Tea. Warm and rich in flavors, it makes the perfect drink for a cold morning.
Fancy Toilets… Really Fancy Toilets
We’ve never seen anything like them before. They have heated seats, warm and cool water jets, blow dryers, and even a music button to mask the sound of your… “bathroom activities.”
What we found most astonishing about Japan were the people themselves. Everyone we met were always polite and willing to help us even if we didn’t speak each other’s languages. Once, when we asked where the restroom was, a storeowner actually walked us there because she couldn’t explain the directions to us in English.
This will be our last post about Japan (for a while). If you haven’t, read more about our adventures in Japan. さようなら, Sayonara!
Athena & Alysta