What Shocked Me the Most on My Trip to Japan
My experience in traveling to Japan was the absolute best experience in the world. But just as great, it is very normal to be scared to travel so far away and not know what to expect. I feel as though I went with a perspective of knowing that I was going to have a cultural shock. And well when I was there I definitely did. But it was not a negative shock, on the very contrary, it was such a positive shock.
The Train Etiquette
As soon as my family and I got off the plane, we were supposed to take a train to our hotel station. Thus, our first encounter with Japan, well, it was on the train. First of all, the trains are always on time and leave when they need to leave, not a minute more or less. When we got on everyone was quiet and either on their phone or sleeping. I was literally shocked how they could go to sleep and wake up so naturally for there stop. Other than that everyone was on their phone. No one was talking. At that very moment, we felt so out of place. It is just the opposite of anything that you are used to in the US.
What is on the floor?
As soon as we got out of the train we noticed these dots popping out of the floor, everywhere on the station. In fact when we were actually out in the towns, they were everywhere in the town. We were so confused as toward what they were. Our guide informed us that those on the ground are for the visually impaired. They use their walking sticks to get around and the people are nice enough to help them if they are getting lost. For this reason we noticed that those bumps also divide the traffic so that people needing assistance can get to their destination in an effective manner. This for me was so shocking and so cool in a way because my aunt is visually impaired and yet you see her grabbing a buddy and going all over town, she would love to have something like that considering that she is very independent.
It is so rare to find somewhere where you genuinely feel safe. In a way, Japan makes sure that you are safe. I actually found it so interesting that to protect woman, special trams are set up in the morning that are only for woman. They do it as almost a safety protocol. While at the train stations it was actually very normal to see kids as little as about six years old walking in pairs by themselves to school. That is something so rare to see in the US. Moreover, we did not encounter any situation or any area where we felt safe or like we should not be there. It was actually the opposite, everywhere we went, we felt safe.
Everyone is in a hurry but also very patient!
This one shocked me so much. Well, in all honesty, they all shocked me a lot. We began noticing that people get of their train and run, however, as soon as they reach the escalator line, they all wait single filed and do not push or shove, they wait until it is their turn. The funny part is that as soon as they get off the escalator, they start running again but do not bump into anyone. I found that so distinct and like in no other particular place.
To the left!
On the escalators, everyone is standing to the left, if you are walking or running up the stares, that is to the right. Everyone is always following this rule, all over Japan, it is INSANE. But I love the organization that they have, I really wish we had something like that. Cars are also driven from the left and it feels very interesting to be up front and having the person on your right driving.
No Trash Cans
This is so so weird for everyone. You think oh no trash can? Well there must be trash on the street. Well, that is false my friends, there is absolutely no trash cans and no trash. If people are going to buy a ice cream or any type of food, they eat it where they bought it and throw the trash away where they bought it. If you are going to take it, you cannot eat it on the streets but rather wait until you are home. Same goes for the trash, that is thrown away when you are at home and not on the streets.
No Eating and Walking
There are signs pretty much everywhere advising tourists not to eat and walk. If you buy something it should be eaten on the spot or taken home. I actually love this concept. It makes everything a lot cleaner and avoids the traffic of people walking slower because they are distracted.
Japan is an amazing place to travel to, but there is no translating of any sort to english. I had to dowlnoad google translate because there is nothing in english. The people there are incredibly nice, but none of them make the intent to learn english. You can find that they start speaking Japanese and making hand signals to understand you and you to understand them. This was confusing for us so as soon as we downloaded google translate, it was a lot more smoother. We were able to type what we wanted and have them respond.
The Convenience of Convenience Stores
Here anyone can think about convenience stores and think nah thats just a normal gas station nothing special, well, in Japan, it is literally the opposite. We found that we were buying snacks and to go items from here and here is why. They sell prepared sandwiches with Japanese custards and some also ham and cheese. They sell melon buns which are spectacular. Coming to these stores gives the convenience of also trying various drinks and candy. While you are here I really recommend looking at there beauty products. I grabbed quiet a couple and do not regret any of it! They work so well!
The restrooms in general are something else. You can go to the restroom literally anywhere and they are spotless. They have so many options that essentially all have a unique function. What I did notice is any time you sit it warms, yes, warms the seat. You have the option of playing music and adjusting the volume. You also have the option of it cleaning you. Some of them, and these well literally scared me, would sense you going into the restroom and the seat would just open and it would start warming it.