Japan, Travel

10 Japanese Stereotypes confronted: Part 2

This is a continuation of the post Japanese Stereotypes confronted, part 1.

Welcome back! In this series, we are confronting 10 Japanese stereotypes. Part 1 featured stereotypes 1-5, and we’re now going to tackle 6-10! Buckle up, kids!

6. Slippers for every occasion – True!

Slippers are a typical Japanese stereotype
If you’ve ever watched an anime, Ghibli movie or other Japanese based film, you may have noticed that they often take their shoes off before entering the house. While in the house, slippers are worn. Sometimes even multiple pairs!

Change into your house slippers when you come in, and then make sure to change into your bathroom slippers for when you use the bathroom. When you’re done, back to house slippers. There’s a lot of slipper etiquette happening over here!

If you ever visit Japan, make sure to pay attention to the slippers and honor their purpose. Also be prepared to laugh at yourself when they are 4 sizes too small for you!

7. Japan looks like an anime movie – True!


Growing up with My Neighbor Totoro, Pokemon, Kiki’s delivery service and other famous anime movies is the root for my desire to come here. These movies depict Japan as being some sort of magical place with lush forests, cuteness everywhere and super happy people – and it’s all true. I freaking feel like I’m the star of an anime everywhere I go. EEEEEE!!!!

From the super nice people to the mass amounts of bicycles, Japan is exactly as I imagined. The houses have wooden fences in front of them, most alleys are actually streets and there is an abundance of lush forest for Totoro to live in. Lanterns are abound and kimonos are still very fashionable.

So far, there haven’t been any Pokemon hopping about (maybe because Pokemon GO isn’t live here in Japan yet…WTF?!) or soot sprites, but there is plenty of moonlight shining through the commanding mountains in the distance.

I’m not sure why this one surprised me. I mean, it makes sense they would base their movies and environment off the real culture. If I were to draw a city, it would probably look something like Chicago or New York – maybe a little San Francisco thrown in because I love it.

I love feeling like I’m in XXXHolic / Naruto / Totoro / all the Miyazaki movies. I just can’t wipe the smile off my face! 😀

8 All the food is weird, like dogs and eyeballs – false!

Okonomiyaki - Japanese comfort food

Just like in any country, if you want to eat something weird, you can. In America we eat squirrel, crocodile, and various other oddities. While these aren’t commonly served at the dinner table, people have been known to eat them. As a teenager, I remember trying alligator at a restaurant in Florida while visiting my aunt.

I’d say that’s about the same for Japan – no dogs though. That’s Vietnam. Japan has tons of octopus focused dishes. For those of us from a mainly landlocked country that might seem a little weird. Since Japan is an island though, it makes total sense right? Octopus is readily available.

This kind of makes me think of Tropico, it’s one of my favorite video games. In Tropico, you’re the dictator of an island. As the all powerful ruler, you have to make sure that your people are fed, that you produce goods for exporting in order to have an industry to support the island etc. All the good stuff that comes with being the boss! 

Depending on which mission you get, the island varies and the resources are different. Sometimes you can only grow corn and pineapple, limiting your food variety. Sometimes, the island is very rich in tobacco which is good for exporting, but not for eating. You’ve just got to work with what you’ve got.

That’s how it is in real life too. Don’t judge another country because you think they eat weird things (even Scotland and their haggis), everyone is just doing their best with the resources available to them. 

If you’re curious about types of foods I’ve tried here, I recently visited almost every food stall at the Gion Matsuri festival in Kyoto.

9. Japan is crazy expensive – true-ish!


I’ll be the first to say Japan is kind of breaking my bank. I underestimated how expensive it would be here. That being said, it could be sooooo much more expensive. I think I’m doing a very good job of keeping costs manageable.

As with any trip, you have some degree of control over how expensive, or cheap, you want it to be.

I’ve been staying at hostels, eating at 7/11’s and pretty much only doing sightseeing because it’s free. I have a JR rail pass so I go out of my way to ride the trains included in that pass instead of the subway, even though it’s roundabout and takes longer.

Other people are staying in hotels so they have a private room. They’re visiting museums, aquariums, theme parks, and taking taxis everywhere. Their experience, and in turn cost, will different considerably from mine.

With some modesty, compromises and good planning, traveling in Japan can be just as affordable as traveling in the USA.

10 The trains run on time – so true!


When I rode the Shinkansen for the first time (bullet train), it was scheduled to leave at 2:03. I thought, “well that’s a weird time to leave, why not 2:00 or 2:30?

It’s because the trains in Japan are a product of extreme coordination and planning. I was set to leave Tokyo Station and 2:03 and arrive at Nagoya at 4:09 exactly. At 2:03 the doors shut and we began to move. At 4:09 we pulled into the station in Nagoya. DEAD ON!

I’m finding though that it isn’t just the trains that are punctual, but the Japanese people all seem to be super prompt! As someone who hates to be kept waiting, this makes me so happy!

 

Duh, duh duh duhhhh!!!

 

That brings us to the end of our 10 stereotypes list. I have to say that there are a lot of things other than stereotypes that have surprised me during my visit here. I’ll save those for a different post though 😉

What did you think? Do you agree or disagree with any of them?

Live long, and prosper!

-Zoom

8 Comments

  • Reply

    Kia

    July 20, 2016

    I agree with your list! Have been living in Tokyo for about 2 years now and those observations are pretty much spot on. I had a stereotype that things were really efficient here but after having worked for a university for 2 years now i can tell you they are not!!! For some reason I am still taken off guard weekly by this as I expect it to change to conform to my stereotype. If you have any extra time in Tokyo and since you like low cost activities (so do I), I recommend the disaster preparedness museum and the Panasonic show room. Both are free and are right next to each other in Odiaba.

    • Reply

      Zoom

      July 21, 2016

      Hahaha!! Good, glad I’m getting it right! I will have some time in Tokyo at the end of this trip – thanks so much for the tips!! I’ll have to check those out. Tokyo seems like a fun place to live. Where did you move from?

  • Reply

    Candis Barbosa

    July 20, 2016

    Fun post! One of my favorite movies growing up was Kiki’s Delivery Service, which introduced me to Japanese animation. Nowadays I love reading manga. Do you? My favorites are Kingdom Hearts and Yotsuba. Have you visited any bookstores in Japan? I wish Chicago would learn train etiquette lol. The trains are late all of the time.

    • Reply

      Zoom

      July 21, 2016

      Yes!! All of Miyazaki’s movies are a great into to Anime! I don’t read much manga because my brain thanks reading is a sport, and feels the need to zoom along. Sometimes it’s hard for me to take the time to look at the pictures. And that’s half the point right?! I’ve visited several bookstores here, they all have WALLS of Manga. They even sell Manga at 7/11s here LOL! I thought about getting some..but Soo heavy. My brother loves Kingdom hearts too! I’ve played the video game, maybe I should pick up a Manga for him..

      I’m from Chicago too!! The CTA could certainly learn a thing or two from Japan couldn’t they?! LOL! Thanks for commenting Candis!

      • Reply

        Candis Barbosa

        July 23, 2016

        If your brother’s a big Kingdom Hearts, he’ll love the manga. They basically have the same storyline as the books, but that’s still fun.

        • Reply

          Zoom

          July 23, 2016

          I find that the books are always better than the video games / movies / TV shows. They capture small details better. Maybe I’ll try to pick him up a Manga while I’m in Japan…thanks for the idea Candis!!

  • Reply

    fionatatefreelance

    July 20, 2016

    Love it!

    • Reply

      Zoom

      July 21, 2016

      Haha so glad you enjoyed it!

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