I know loadsa people are considering moving or working in Japan. But before you go all Japan crazy on me, here is a list things that will make Elmo curse like Lindsay Lohan w/o crack.
Firstly, let’s start with the obvious~
1. No one speaks English
Alright, maybe not everyone, but most people can’t speak a proper sentence in English.
If you don’t do some Japanese language homework before coming to Japan, expect a lot of chicken x duck talk and looking confused.
2. Lack of Information in English
You are in Tokyo and want to check out some local events… or even just some local information online. It will be all in Japanese.
You will go to restaurants with the walls plastered with Japanese text and have no idea what-the-hallelujah is going on and what to order.
And my all-time favourite – stuck in the techy toilet for 5 minutes figuring out WHICH BUTTON IS THE FLUSH BUTTON.
3. Japanese who actually think they speak splendid English
Me: “Alright sure, Lets meet at Macdonalds on Wednesday.
Donkey: “Huh? Sorry I dounch understand”
Me: “Wednesday? Suiyobi, at Mac-do-nalds. Okay?”
Donkey: “Ohhhhhh~~~ You mean Wednesday at Macdonalds? Sorry your Singlish I dounch understando so wrell”
Me: <in my head: *%(!&@^$*#^@!*$&!%!(*&)!*(@#^%%!*$^*!^#_!$)!>
And don’t let me get started on the smart alecks who want to correct my English.
4. Record breaking Taxi Prices
Literally, I’m not kidding. Based on a travel report here, Tokyo Taxis are the highest in the world.
Personally, I took taxi twice in my noob experience in Japan and paid a heavy price for it *pun intended*. Well, I can’t remember actually where I took it from/to because I was lost.. But I do remember the cost. First time costed me more than 100USD and second 50USD.
I was like,
Taxi fares I grabbed from a website:
JPY ¥710 for first 2Km
JPY ¥312.5 per Km
Additional: ¥90 per 1 minute 45 seconds when speed is less than 10km per hour
Late in the evening (typically 10pm to 5am), rates are raised by typically 20 percent. Eventual expressway toll fees incurred during the trip are added to the fare.
5. Extreme attitudes
Service staff in restaurants, hotels, bars, etc are extremely polite. They will apologize to you for everything even if you accidentally hit your hand on the edge of a table. It’s TOO POLITE sometimes and doesn’t feel warm. Feels mechanical and very fake if not “done right”.
On the other hand, people in everyday life IGNORE strangers and 40% of the time, you will think you ate glass growing up cos people stare right through you while asking for directions.
6. Towering Movie Prices
I love watching movies. I go to the cinemas at least once a week back in Singapore. However, if I do that here, even Bruce Wayne would go broke
General prices per ticket costs 1800yen(18 USD). Oh, want some food/drinks? Sure, add another 1000yen(10 USD).
7. Slow Movie Releases
Movies in Japan are 3-6 months LATE. Watch helplessly as your Facebook friends comment, tag and rave about how they enjoyed whatever movie they watched.
Oh, and by the time the movie is released in theatres, you have already watched it on download/DVD… or on the frickin’ plane.
8. No size (Esp shoes)
So you prepared enough moolah to go shopping for days! GREAT! Oh you are a larger sized westerner (or even a slightly bigger Asian)? NO PROBLEM! Just get rejected at most local fashion shops cos they don’t have your size. I’m sure that’s an experience too~
9. Guys are afraid of Girls
You thought the trend stopped in kindergarten huh? Guys here are so afraid to hug girls as a simple hello or goodbye. Some of them guys even think its sexual harassment. Overreacting much?
How about a simple arm over the shoulders when taking a picture? Again, big nono for the guys.
Then what do the girls think?
So far, all of them are extremely friendly and love the fact that I am physically closer to them. All of them seemed to love friendly hugs and actually give warmer hugs than I do. ^_^
10. Foreigner Otakus
I think Otakus are a very Japanese thing and although they can be quite creepy at times (like an old 60 year old salaryman ogling at anime porn in Akihabara), I actually don’t dislike them and love this quirky side of Japan. HOWEVER, when WEIRD GAIJINs do it, it a TOTALLY DIFFERENT STORY.
Have you seen a SERIOUSLY fat western DUDE, in school girl uniform (mini short and all), with a pink wig, AND hugging an anime pillow in Starbucks in Shibuya?? It’s gross. It’s GROSS. IT’S GROSS. Your frickin’ leg hair is enough to make me puke my anus out.
The Japanese know how to do it right. (Then again, many Japanese can’t do it right as well. But for some reason more forgivable lol)
If you don’t, DON’T TRY. DON’T BUY THAT COOL CHEAP COSPLAY OUTFIT YOU SEE. You know how many people you killed that day???
11. Foreign bank ATMs
If you’re here on a holiday, You’d better prepare your cash with you because you can forget about finding your bank’s ATM to draw $$. The international bank with the most ATMs here is Citibank. Do apply for an account in your home country if you plan to live here. It’ll help you A LOT.
Btw, most LOCAL places don’t accept credit cards too.. So PREPARE CASH.
12. Buildings of hidden shops and restaurants
Shops shops shops everywhere! You see blocks of restaurants and bars. ESPCIALLY bars! This is something fun and unique about Japan and that’s why you get the feeling that there’s something new with every turn. Well, technically speaking it’s something new at every floor!
Cool right?? NOT.
You are hungry and want to eat. But the restaurants in the first floor don’t look nice.
You look up and see 7, 8, 9 more floors of restaurants. All with no or not much description other than a picture. Do you go up?
You spend an hour looking at the different pictures at different buildings before thinking that you’ve got the perfect place that you like. You finally get seated at the restaurant of your choice.
Then you realize that the food isn’t quite exactly what you have in mind. Food comes – ehh average? (Food generally don’t suck badly in Japan)
Bill comes – A price that will make skydining at the Ritz seem like chuck change.
You should’ve just checked out which hidden restaurants to go to in the area at www.japanxhunter.com
Writing this article had been fun, stay tuned for Part II in the next few days~