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This is a continuation of yesterday’s post, which was so massive we decided to break it up into two parts.

26.  Paying for company is a pretty common thing.

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There must be a serious level of loneliness in Japan. In a cat café you can pay to hang out with dozens of cats, while you sip coffee. In maid cafes, a young woman dressed in a maid outfit dotes on you for the paid time. In a hostess bar, a more sophisticated woman hangs out and talks with you, while you pay for her drinks and time. They even have a boyfriend service, so ladies don’t feel left out of the action.

27. Jazz is the go-to music for every department store and bar.

Pretty much every restaurant, department store, or elevator will be playing jazz music. Not the smooth type either – the good stuff.

28. Pets are allowed on temple grounds – if you carry them.

I guess the bigger dogs get left at home.

29. Space efficiency is remarkable.

Many restaurants have baskets for your clothes or belongings that go under your chair. Toilets with a sink combo are pretty common. After flushing the toilet water pours out of the sink and refills the toilet bowl.

30. Food packaging is meticulously handled.

Grape tomatoes and strawberries are packaged in rows, with an OCD level of insanity.

31. Machines will eventually remove all human interactions.

Many of the fast food restaurants allow customers to order by machine, then hand the ticket to a restaurant attendant. There are even 1000 yen haircut stores where you buy the ticket from a machine and give it to the stylist, saving them the hassle of dealing with the money. One restaurant took pains to remove all human interaction to allow their customers to focus on the food.

32. Dragonball Z and Power Rangers are still a thing in Japan.

Remember Dragonball Z? Power Rangers? Still going strong.

33. Law and Order rule the day.

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There is a strong sense of obedience to the law in Japan. You rarely see people jay walking, even if the intersection is empty.

34. …but perverts are everywhere.

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Japanese camera phones do not have a silent mode, apparently because of all the upskirt photos. Tokyo has women-only subway cars in the morning to prevent gropers.  Whatever the cause, Japan has it’s fair share of perverts.

35. Instructions are usually presented with cartoons.

36. Pretty much no one speaks English.

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Other than China, Japan had the lowest level of second language English speakers we’ve encountered. There are tons of children taking English classes, however, so don’t be surprised if a nice group of junior high school students want to interview you.

37. …but English is pretty cool.

Many signs and product names are in English. Restaurants and convenience stores sport English-sounding names. English words are quite cool, it would seem.

38. Bowing is pretty great.

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Just don’t bow back too much, or you might get caught in a bowing loop.

39. Sumo wrestlers are still large and in charge.

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Sumo wrestling faded from popularity for several years, but came roaring back thanks to a pair of wrestling brothers with some family drama.

40. …even though sake is dwindling in popularity.

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Japanese in their 40’s and 50’s prefer to drink wine, while the younger crowd has taken to cocktails.  Too bad, since sake in Japan is 10x better than sake overseas.

41. Everything old has burned to the ground at least once.

Possibly because of the war, or more likely because everything was built out of wood. The largest wooden temple in Japan (above), burned down to the ground more than 3 times and was redesigned each time.

42. “Flipping the Table” is crazy.

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“Flipping the table” is an old salaryman stereotype whereby the husband comes home to an ungrateful family after a hard day of work and gets so angry he flips the table in a fit of rage. Someone even made an arcade game about it. Good times.

43. Remember to take off your shoes.


Restaurants and residences often require visitors to take off their shoes. We noticed a similar practice in Thailand, but interiors in Japan are *actually* clean. Don’t worry about the bathrooms either, they usually have separate slippers for that.

44. Showing off your legs is totally acceptable.

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There are a lot of stockings, short skirts, and short shorts in Japan. In the winter, it’s not uncommon to see girls wearing shorts over stockings. Just a case of flaunt it if you got it, I suppose.

45. There are no trashcans anywhere.

City streets seem to be empty of trashcans, though you will find recycling cans near vending machines.  Considering the lack of trashcans (or perhaps because of it), there’s very little trash anywhere.

46. Plastic food models make ordering easy-peasy.

47. Everyone carries around a hand towel.

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Possibly because many bathrooms don’t have paper towels, or maybe to wipe the sweat off their brows. We mistook these for bibs for the longest time.

48. Japanese food is more than just sushi…

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Curry, udon, soba, yakitori, unagi, izakaya, tempura, sushi, kaseki, terriyaki, teppenaki – Japan has a ton of different food options. It’s a shame only sushi and teppenaki have really made it overseas.

49. …but conveyor belt sushi is pretty amazing.

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It ain’t the best sushi, but it’s ruthlessly efficient, and mighty tasty.

50. Japanese signs are hilarious.

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You can view part 1 of my Japanese observations.

Now, on to the Land Down Under!