Random Japan Musings/Thoughts

I just finished 3.5 weeks in Japan and had a bunch of random thoughts I wanted to put down on "paper". 

  • Heated toilet seats and bidets everywhere. 
  • Hot drink vending machines need to be everywhere. But not the bad instant coffee ones of America. 
  • American culture is fashionable but it doesnt feel like Japanese people want to be part of it. 
  • A lot of people talk about how advanced mobile payments are in Japan but cash is incredibly prevalent. 
  • The food is very good and incredibly diverse. 
  • There’s a good amount of migrant workers from South America. And generations of south asians who only speak Japanese which was super interesting to see. I've always been amazed
  • The train system is incredible but subways close around midnight. I’m guessing its to curb drinking, but it's frustrating. 
  • Cabs are insanely expensive - guessing due to lack of demand and cost of gas.
  • Adidas Boost is everywhere and Adidas seems to run Japan. Not necessarily with fashion oriented people but I saw boost on pratically every demo group. 
  • The styles are really unique. From streetwear to americana to the yohji/rick owens look. Most importantly, people own it. 
  • Seafood is good and cheaper than the US but generally too expensive for people to eat regularly. Noodles are a GREAT alternative, though.
  • Japanese brands are great but seem to be only interested in catering to the Japanese market. Brand sites rarely have english. Speaks to the Japanese economy being self sustaining (minus manufacturing). 
  • You walk A LOT. Like you just cant avoid it. Granted, i spent most of my days exploring, but I’d hit 30k steps a day easily. 
  • The mornings are a wash - nothing really opens until 10-11. Even breakfast restaurants. 
  • Tsutaya is an incredible book store and is open really late. 
  • iPhone’s have a pretty high market share among middle class +. Lots of older people using flip phones though. 
  • Random Passport checks are jarring. They seem to intentionally make you nervous. First time included a drug search :-/. The police know how to ask for papers/passport but they’ll try asking in Japanese for a while even while it’s clear that you don’t speak it. 
  • You really can’t go wrong with food at most places but its really easy to spend a lot. 
  • There’s no really comprehensive restaurant app. Foursquare and Yelp are mostly useless and tourist heavy. Tabelog is really useful but their english version is pretty limiting for search. 
  • The service is incredible - there were only a couple frustrations but they had to do with the business itself and not service. 
  • Everyone’s incredibly polite. Like everyone. 
  • As a brown guy you get a lot of stares from tourists and locals. 
  • Learning to read hiragana is surprisingly easy and i wish i learned earlier so i could practice more in the day to day. 
  • There’s a whole culture of jazz bars and cafes that are incredibly interesting and my favorite part or Japan. 
  • Nobody speaks english but you can get by with signing, pointing and simple english
  • Diet Coke is new in Japan and has added fibre! So it’s literally promoted as a nutritional supplement which is genius. 
  • Airbnbs are pretty hit and miss. They’re easy but quality is meh. Outside of Tokyo, business hotels are a better option. 
  • Driving is surprisingly easy to get used to. 
  • Kids generally roam free and bi
  • It’s pretty bike friendly. I never felt unsafe. Many bikes werent even locked up to poles. 
  • General safety wise, it felt good to let my guard down because theft and what not is really low. 
  • Japan is really solo-traveler friendly (minus high hotel costs). Every restaurant has bar seats and there’s other solo eaters. And i don’t think i ever had a meal at a table or felt out of place. 
  • In Tokyo people stand on the left side of the escalator. Osaka/Kyoto is right side 🤔
  • AT&T’s new $10/day roaming is very good with LTE and no data caps. 10-15mbps down. And it works in the train! I rarely used wi-fi. 
  • Instagram and IG stories are pretty widely used. Rarely saw snapchat. 
  • Line. Line. Line. It's everywhere.
  • It's interesting that most of the personal wealth stayed in the country. Vs China where a lot of wealthy people left. High end fashion is everywhere and all the shops are expensive. Everything is very high quality though. 

       

    Kunaal Arya