Traveling around Japan was insightful and unfamiliar at the same time. I grew to appreciate and understand the way of life in Tokyo, but also experinced culture shock along the way.
Arriving in Tokyo, the first thing that caught my attention was how animated the city was. Several buildings are adorned with bright colors and adorable characters. Street signs, subway platform doors, and even mail boxes consist of something colorful and animated. Construction sites have kawaii animations on their traffic cones and bus seats are lined with character covered fabric. It was a change to see public spaces decorated this way.
When we think of Japenese food, sushi may come to mind first. Being that Japan is an island, seafood will always find a way to your dish. Cooked fish, white rice, miso soup, & green tea are all essential in Japenese meals. These play a big part in Japanese cuisine, but you will discover many more unfamiliar foods. Besides this, almost all restaurants and cafés hand out towelettes before you dine, something not readily practiced in other countries.
The city is well respected, and kept clean. Trash cans and recycle bins are located outside convenience stores or next to vending machines, keeping litter to a minimum. You might even see a store owner pick up the tiniest peice of trash on the sidewalk outside their shop. In addition, you might have read about the medical masks people wear in Japan when they are sick. These things are the norm, and you will see people wearing them all the time. They sell these masks everywhere, and they even come in different colors.
4. Weight & Size
I enjoy people watching, so one thing I definitely noticed in Japan is that everyone is slenderly built. Japanese people tend to have small frames, or thin and lean bodies. It is customary to see people in America of all different shapes and sizes. My conclusion is that everyone in Japan is accustomed to walking or everyone keeps a healthy diet. Furthermore, this leads to a difference in size proportions. Be aware that a size large at home is not a size large in Tokyo.
Japan is a safe country. During my visit, I felt comfortable, safe, and secure the entire time. On the other hand, I became aware what saftey means to Japaense people. In my experience, I witnessed a little girl, about 6 or 7 years old, using the subway by herself. Initially this came as a shock to me, but this is actually common practice in Japan. At a young age, children learn to use public transportation to go to school on their own. This was my biggest culture shock, but I quickly came to understand the sense of community in the Japenese culture.
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