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I Should Tell You…Part I August 19, 2007

Posted by Mitch in Life in Japan.

Things you always wanted to know about Japan but were afraid to ask:

1. Bread is really thick here. You don’t get what we call a loaf, but normally between 3-6 slices. And boy are they thick. I had one slice today for lunch and that was enough!

2. Most toilets I’ve seen in houses so far have a sink in the top of them. When it refills, the water it’s refilling with runs through the tap and you can use it to wash your hands. What I originally thought was a little weird (because in essence you’re washing with toilet water), I now see as a really clever little process that saves water. In fact, I’ve now even put hand wash and a towel in my toilet so it can be used to its full effect.

3. Jehovah’s Witnesses are here too. I travelled 13,200km from Britain and was strolling down Route 188 in Iwakuni yesterday when I was stopped, in the street, by a charming woman called Jamie who proceeded to ask me how I felt about the future. Up until this time I had thought she was just being nice and testing out her (very good) English. I told her that I was a Catholic and was already au fait with God’s word, but then she asked me if there was any way she could contact me. Playing the new citizen card, I told her I didn’t have a mobile yet and needed to rush off as I was so hungry. Disappearing post haste into a nearby Tex-Mex restaurant, I was then forced into ordering food. As nice as it was, I just wasn’t very hungry, but it got the God Squad off my back, so it was alright by me!

4. People bow everywhere. On the street, whilst they’re riding their bikes, in cars, on the phone. It’s like one big stereotype come to town. Oh, and there are quite a few houses with ‘Japanese style’ roofs – you know the ones; you’d normally associate them with pagodas. Well, they’re everywhere. So when I look out of my window and see a mountain with a pagoda-like structure in the way, it sort of hits home that I am actually in Japan and those 12 hours spent on a plane did actually serve a purpose.

5. You have to be careful of the beer. What may look like beer, may turn out to be chemically formulated stuff that tastes like beer. So far I’ve not had a run in with this stuff, but apparently, even after one glass, the world’s worst hangover will be winging its way to a morning near you! Oh, and I’ve also been warned away from draft beer. Apparently Japanese bars are a little slack with cleaning their pipes out and so it can be a little…off.

Well, I’m sure that’s enough to go on for the time being. As the title suggest, this is only part one an ongoing look into how Japan functions really. With my witty, journalistic style, I’ll be trying to dispel popular myths and separate fact from fiction. Or, I’ll just rant about the country when it pisses me off (as it inevitably will do).



1. Stephanie - August 21, 2007

I hope my article on booze here helped you somewhat. Beware happoshit! Avoid it like the plague.

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