5 Things That Surprised me about Japan

1) Sorting of the garbage and lack of trash cans

When I first moved here I was told that there were four different types of trash collection days; burnable trash, non-burnable trash, cardboard boxes, and glass bottles and cans. On top of that we have to wash and take back to the supermarket the Styrofoam trays that we get meat and fish on and don't forget about cutting open your milk cartons. Wow! I already have a full time job! The other thing that kills me is the lack of trash cans here in Japan. You can't find a public trash can to save your life!

2) Food portions

It's no wonder that Japanese people are slim because the portions here are so small! My first time at Mos Burger, I ordered my meal and went upstairs to wait for it.  When the waitress brought me my food I said to her, "Excuse me, I ordered the large size set." Which she replied to me smiling, "That IS the large size set." 

3) People waiting in line

It's been 6 years since I moved here and I still can't get over how Japanese people love to wait in line. It's also funny how the line changes from one thing to another here in Osaka. First it was the Bâton d’or Pocky sticks, then the Grand Calbee potato chips and now the Cheese tarts sold inside the Hanshin Department Store.  I once saw the staff at the Grand Calbee stand hide the leftover inventory to make it seem like they were sold out by a certain time. It's all a marketing game that they are playing to create the illusion of scarcity and demand for their product. 

4) Unattended items

I go to Starbucks quite often and can't believe the things that people leave on a table to claim it as their table.  I have seen laptops, designer brand handbags, keys, and some crazy stuff left to hold a table for the owner.  If you were to leave that kind of stuff unattended in the states you can kiss it good bye!

5) Toilets

A couple of years ago I went back home after living here for I think about 4 years and experienced some reverse culture shock.  Back home there are no washlets in the public toilets or homes.  Also the hotels didn't have them either. Here in Japan we have such great wonders as toilets that open when you approach them and close when you leave. They have heated seats and also blow dryers for your behind. It truly is a marvel of science in a country that still has a hole in the ground toilet style still in use today. 

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Mahalo!

Scott