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!
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!
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 😉