Some Things About Japan

I’ve been in Japan for 4 days now, and let me say, it is INCREDIBLE. It is exactly as Japanese as you think it would be, as if I walked into the Japan section of Epcot except people really live in it and there are not Mickey Mouses dressed as geishas for sale. So, I thought I’d compile a list of things that I found unique/fun/crazy about Japan (at least about Kyoto) so far.

  1. Old people are everywhere!

Okay, so everywhere you go around here you’re likely to run into someone who looks like they are old enough to have met the Buddha or use a horse and buggy as their main mode of transportation. The longevity of the Japanese people is incredible, and old age certainly does not stop anyone from going and getting groceries or biking around town. On that note:

2. People love to bike!

Biking culture is huge around here, and everyone bikes to get around. Why this mode of transport is not huge in other areas of the world is beyond me.

3. You can get any kind of soft drink anywhere!

The heat in Kyoto in the summertime is KILLER! Tessa and I were remarking on how we never need to pee here because all of our liquids get sweated right out of us again (I know you needed that image in your head right now, you’re welcome). Luckily, you are never thirsty because there are vending machines that offer bottled drinks (coffee! beer! milk tea! peach flavored water enhanced with electrolytes!) all over the place. Most of the time, drinks from these dispensers are only around 100–150 yen, which is about $1–1.5. Thank you, Japan.

4. No one believes in public trash cans!

This one is a bit strange, but no one here believes in public trash cans. I don’t know what it is. Your best bet at finding one is to go to the nearest drink vending machine where there is most likely a trash can, but you’re not going to find one anywhere that you might expect one to be if you were in the States. That being said…

5. There’s no trash anywhere!

Yes, this is a stereotype that is very correct about Japan. They are so clean. Impeccably so. I don’t know if they pack their trash out and bring it home with them, or if there is a Japanese god of trash that whisks it all away when no one is looking, but the streets and public areas are incredibly clean.

6. Don’t share your food!

Something that we’ve stumbled upon is that many restaurants do not want you to share/split dishes with others. Some restaurants will actually have it written on their menu that they don’t want split dishes. I’m not sure if this is a minimum-cost thing, but either way don’t try to snag a deal for yourself by sharing with your BFF.

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