Tue. May 21st, 2024

The writer tells you about interesting cultural differences that surprised her when she came to Japan.

Waiting in line

For example, waiting in line to get on the train. 

What surprises foreign visitors when they take the subway or train in big cities is the fluidity of the human flow despite the crowd of passengers. This is not by chance: Japanese people are known for their politeness and discipline! But everything is also done to help respect these rules of propriety. 

The location of the train doors at the stop is indicated on the platforms and lines are often drawn to indicate where to queue when waiting for the train. So you line up behind the last person in line, with no question of overtaking, pushing, or waiting outside the queue! One must let the passengers get off before getting on. 

In the train

Once on board, discretion is required. Here again, foreigners are often very surprised by the silence that generally reigns (but not always, there are sometimes small groups of very noisy friends). 

Talking on your cell phone is forbidden and it must be in silent mode and even turned off near the priority seats. As for chattering, although it is of course not forbidden, the natural discretion of Japanese people encourages them not to exclaim or speak too loudly in public places. Therefore, one should avoid shouting or calling out to each other from one seat to another if one does not want to be noticed. 

Women only

On some lines, during rush hour, certain cars are reserved for women. Their location is indicated on the platforms in English by: “Women only”, as well as on the cars. Schedules that are reserved for women are written on the cars. It’s surprising, so be sure to pay attention. 

Then, what can also surprise you when you go to Japan is that Japanese people sleep everywhere and all the time. You just have to take the subway in Tokyo to notice it, everybody sleeps. It must be said that being Japanese is not easy every day, in the land of the rising sun, they work a lot.

Japanese toilet

Another fact that may seem surprising is the Japanese toilet. 

Most of the major cities in Japan have water jet toilets that offer cleanliness without fail.

Indeed, the Japanese toilet also includes the use of washing toilets without household products that clean the intimate parts with a multidirectional shower. A drying system is also integrated into the device so that no one needs to use toilet paper anymore.  In addition, more than 75% of homes in Japan are equipped with washing toilets with integrated water jets. 

Tourists who visit Japan are often surprised by the level of cleanliness of these public places, which are usually known to be very dirty. Europeans in particular find the experience fun thanks to the electronic features of the Japanese public toilet.

Of course, there are other surprising facts but it will be up to you to discover them during your trip!

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