As the title says, this is a Top 10 list of things I have noticed so far the Japanese people can’t get enough of. This is by no means documented or comprehensive – it’s just according to my experiences so far! All right:
1) Umbrellas. It rains quite often in Tokyo, but it’s almost always just a light drizzle, but nonetheless, every person on the street is protected by their trustworthy umbrellas. It’s always fun to see station exits during the rain. It’s like a sea of umbrellas. Of course, shops and restaurants are well prepared for the watery entrances people bring with umbrellas, many of them have ‘umbrella-wrapping’ stands where you encase your umbrella in plastic so it doesn’t drip everywhere. Ingenius.
2) Vending machines. There are so many of them that it’s almost comical. These contain everything from hot coffee to cup ramen to cigarettes.
3) Convenience stores. As I mentioned in a previous post, convenience stores here are on every corner (and in between), and are one-stop-shops for pretty much anything. They even warm-up the preset meals for you if you want. I had some decent tofu curry and rice the other day.
4) Beer. Draft beer here (almost always either Asahi, Kirin or Sapporo) is almost a given part of any restaurant meal, especially at night. Many places have beer as part of set meals on their menu.
5) Saying ‘Thank you’. In Japanese, there a dozens of ways to express gratitude, and you can hear them all just by ordering coffee in a cafe. They say thank you when you order something, when you pay, when they return change to you, when they bring your food/drink to you, when you get up to leave, and when you actually leave.
6) Abbreviations. The Japanese have abbrevations for almost everything, from place names (Akihabara, the electric town in Tokyo, becomes Akiba) to phrases (‘kimochi warui’, which means gross/creepy, becomes ‘kimoi’) to even celebrity names (I saw a tv program yesterday where they called Brad Pitt, ‘Burapi’).
7) Variety shows. Turn on Japanese TV and you’re bound to see a variety show on atleast half the channels. These shows generally have some theme or topic to discuss, including a panel of people (usually a mix of celebrities and TV personalities). Often quite funny and strange.
8) Trash. Not actual trash, but the proper disposal of it. All trash receptacles have separate bind, usually for cans/bottles/glass, combustible items and non-combustible items. They take it very seriously, and it’s always fun seeing tourists with puzzled looks at trash cans trying to figure out if what they’re holding is combustible.
9) Blood type. This is pretty random, but almost all Japanese know their blood type, and on bios for celebrities and the like in magazines or on websites, their blood types are usually listed. I have no idea what mine is, and I can bet most Americans don’t either.
10) The ‘peace’ sign during photos. I’m sure most people have seen this, but almost all Japanese, men and women, throw up the peace sign at any photo opportunity. I’ve tried to resist so far…
That’s all! Hope you learned something new. Thanks!