Moving abroad can be difficult. Even when it’s time to go, people miss the small unique things that made daily life special. This article describes little parts of Japanese culture that foreigners often pine for after returning home.
1. Japanese Baths
Japanese baths are amazing. They fill up on their own, stay warm, and call you when ready. No other country has baths this fancy. You can relax while the bath runs itself.
2. Safety in Japan
Japan is very safe. People can walk alone at night and travelers feel secure. Lost wallets and phones often get returned to owners. Japan has low crime rates overall. You don’t have to constantly worry about safety there.
3. Great Customer Service
Service in Japan is great. Waiters are polite and helpful without expecting tips. They refill drinks and fix mistakes fast. Good service happens even at cheap places. Servers treat customers with respect. Their positive attitude makes dining more enjoyable.
4. Neat Money
Japan has clean money. Bills are new looking and tape-free. Money back home often looks dirty and worn out. Japanese money stays crisp and unspoiled. ATMs give fresh bills. Stores would never try to pass damaged notes to customers.
5. “Kanpai” Before Drinking
Everyone in Japan says “cheers” before drinking. They gently clink glasses together first. This becomes habit and feels weird not to do back home. Sharing a toast makes drinking more social. It’s a simple tradition foreigners miss.
6. Four Distinct Seasons
Japan has amazing seasonal changes. Foods, festivals, fashion shift dramatically between spring, summer, fall and winter. The seasons feel more special. Japanese culture embraces the seasons. Each one has its own customs, activities, and moods.
7. Quality Convenience Store Food
Japanese convenience stores have decent food. They sell fresh, healthy rice dishes, noodles and bento boxes. Much better than just chips and chocolate. Convenience stores pride themselves on fresh, tasty options. You can get a quick meal without sacrificing nutrition or flavor.
8. Hot Towels at Restaurants
Restaurants in Japan give moist towels to clean hands. Menus don’t feel as dirty when you can wipe up first. Paper napkins at home just aren’t the same. Hot towels show care for hygiene. They are a small luxury foreigners miss when dining out back home.
9. Reliable Package Delivery
Packages in Japan can be delivered anytime. If you miss one, you can book a 2-hour window for redelivery, even late at night. It always arrives on time. Japan’s postal service is extremely considerate. They make every effort to personally hand you your package.
10. Cozy Kotatsu Tables
Japan has cozy kotatsu tables. In winter, these tables have built-in blankets and heaters. Nothing else feels as warm and comfy for relaxing. The kotatsu surrounds your legs in warmth. It becomes the ultimate place to unwind in winter.
11. Separate Bath and Toilet Rooms
Most houses in Japan have separate bath and toilet rooms. It is more hygienic not to have them right next to each other. Keeping the bath and toilet separate prevents germs from spreading. It also allows more privacy.
12. Japanese Cuisine
Japanese food is amazing and hard to find back home. Even restaurants you used to like seem lower quality after eating authentic Japanese cuisine. Japanese cooking values fresh, seasonal ingredients. The flavors are complex but balanced. Meals are artistic and presented with care.
13. Creative Stores
Japan has cool, artsy knick-knack shops. You can find creative designs for home goods and trinkets that aren’t available elsewhere. They are fun to explore. Japan makes everyday items into works of art. Their stores inspire creativity and curiosity.
14. Vending Machines
Vending machines in Japan serve hot and cold drinks. Machines are everywhere so you never have to go thirsty. Drinks are higher quality too. Japan takes vending machines seriously. They offer an incredible variety of beverages. The machines are convenient, ubiquitous, and full of surprises.
15. Responsible Mail Service
Japanese postal service is very responsible. If they miss a delivery, they personally call you to reschedule a time that works. Packages always arrive when promised. Japan’s mail carriers feel duty-bound to deliver. They conscientiously arrange a new time if you missed a package.
16. Sitting on Floors
Sitting on the floor is normal in Japan. At home, chairs and couches start to feel overly stiff and uncomfortable. The floor feels more relaxing. Japanese rooms often lack chairs, so people sit on soft tatami mats instead. Without chairs, the floor itself becomes furniture.
17. Independent Coffee Shops
Japan has amazing independent coffee shops. They are cozy, charming, and have talented baristas. Big chains can’t match their quality and care. Small coffee shops in Japan focus on the craft of coffee. They carefully select beans and brewing methods. Customers become regulars at their favorite cafe.
18. Cash on Delivery
In Japan, you pay delivery drivers at your door. If buying online, you can pay cash on arrival instead of using a card. Very convenient. Paying at the door eases worries about credit card fees or statements. It’s an extra service that caters to customers.
19. Free Water
Japanese convenience stores give free water. They serve a small cup automatically with any purchase. At home you have to ask specially for tap water. Free water shows Japanese hospitality. Shop owners want to quench customers’ thirst. Getting a drink without asking is a pleasant surprise.
20. Rice Balls
Japanese rice balls called onigiri are delicious. They are cheap, filling comfort food found everywhere. Sandwiches just aren’t as hearty or craveable. Onigiri are simple but satisfying. Their portability makes them a staple Japanese snack. They come in endless flavors so you never get bored.
21. Dinner Bell
Japan plays a little tune at night to tell kids to go home. This “dinner bell” melody is cute and reminds foreigners of Japan. The music signals that the day is winding down. It adds charm to daily life. Foreigners feel nostalgic when they hear it.
22. Fancy Toilets
Japanese toilets have advanced features. They have heated seats, adjustable bidets, and sound effects. Going to the bathroom is surprisingly pleasant. Japan aims to perfect even mundane things like toilets. The fancy features feel futuristic yet make using the bathroom more comfortable.
23. Cuteness Culture
Japan loves all things cute. Items get decorated with happy characters and round shapes. Adorable mascots represent towns, products, everything. Surrounding yourself with cuteness boosts happiness. Japan embraces cuteness unabashedly. It adds a playful touch to everyday life.
24. Nature Appreciation
The Japanese admire nature’s beauty. They enjoy practices like moon viewing, flower festivals, and fall foliage tours. Appreciating nature is important for well-being. Japan finds meaning and joy in natural cycles. People take the time to immerse themselves in the outdoors.
25. Bowing Customs
In Japan, bowing shows respect. Different bows express thanks, apologies, greetings. Bowing becomes habitual but feels odd overseas. Bowing reinforces humility and care for others. It represents an important cultural value. Japanese etiquette is preserved through bowing.