10 reasons that convince me to stay in Japan

30 Mar

Since I posted this article the other day, I received many comments and I’ve been thinking about upside of living in Japan. As many people mentioned, the grass is always greener on the other side. Every country has some kind of problem, even if it’s free from devastating earthquakes that Japan often suffer from. That’s so true. It’s possible that I don’t realize what I already have, when I keep living in the same place for years. Thus I try to see what Japan has offered to me because that for sure will be something I will miss when I leave Japan.

I’ll list up things I like about living in Japan. 😀

1: Onsen & everyday bathing in a Japanese styled bath
Bathing in Japanese style is so relaxing. Your body will be totally refreshed, warmed, relaxed and get healthier. Bathing is not just for keeping your body clean. I believe it’s good for your brain as well, because it’s always at the bathroom when I get a good idea! I believe my brain turns alpha status thanks to so much of relaxation.

2: Washlet toilet (high-tech toilet)
Every time I travel abroad, I miss Japanese high-tech toilet that installs warm seat and electric bidet/shower. I hear some Hollywood celebs who stayed in Japan got obsessed with it and imported it to install in their toilet back home. Most of households in Japan have this type of toilet, and it’s not considered so luxurious here.

3: Everything is punctual
Public transportation, people in charge of business, and friends to meet up…they are always on time. There’s no stress to wait and screw up the rest of the schedule. Someone from Ukraine who moved to Japan told me once that he chose to live in Japan because it’s less stressful. He can schedule 4 or 5 meetings a day, because everyone appears on time and every public transportation comes on time. He said things wouldn’t go like this in Europe. I see.

4: Good quality of service
Good quality of service is a Japanese standard. Company employees are educated very strictly to treat their customers as if they were God. That’s why working in Japan, provinding service for Japanese people is quite stressful. However, at a customer’s side, I think Japan is a heaven. 😀 I hear how people who traveled in Japan got surprised at our high quality of service. I will realize how wonderful it is only when I experience unsatisfactory kind of service I get somewhere else. I guess I’ve stayed in Japan too long to realize wonderful things. They have become too natural, everyday thing, nothing special, and Japanese standard, but look around the world if you can have the same quality of service? I’m telling to myself.

5: Good quality of products
Some study-abroad agency shares a list of things recommended to bring from Japan to Australia. Followings are the examples.

-sanitary items (for women) made in Japan
-band for hair (made in Japan)
-umbrella (made in Japan)
-tooth brush (made in Japan)
-pensil, eraser, notebook (made in Japan)
-Japanese electrical appliances such as electronic dictionary, camera and PC
-Japanese cosmetic products
-pocket tissues (it’s free in Japan)
-bathing suits
-tights and stocking (made in Japan)
and etc…

These items are in better quality and more reasonable when purchased in Japan than in Australia, according to the agency. (***note: My purpose here is not to speak ill of Australian products, please don’t misunderstand.) Some items are listed because of size difference. For example, tooth brush in Aussie size must be too big for us, Japanese. I will never realize how good these products are and how reasonablly they are supplied in Japan until I leave Japan and compare the counterparts offered in other part of the world.

6: Universal health insurance for everyone
Unlike U.S and other countries, Japan offers public health insurance for every citizen who pays some monthly money. Thanks to this system, whether it’s a public or privarte hospital, big or small scaled, we can get treatments and prescription drug at 30% of total expenses, with 70% covered by the insurance. This also applies to dental therapy. This is the great system and is so beneficial to everyone that none of us has to refrain from seeing doctors due to worries of money.

7: Japanese as a mother language
No matter how much I learn English, it’s still a foreign language to me.

8: Japanese books
I love reading books, but think about it that I have to read them all in English? I will take double or triple as much time as I read them in Japanese. First of all, I will definitely miss Japanese public library from which I can borrow as many as 14 books to read in 2 weeks. Living outside Japan and craving for Japanese books simply means to buy them all via Amazon and get them shipped with a fee. Oh but digital books may be useful in this case. 🙂

9: Kawaii
I still believe there are kawaii goods in any countries but it seems that I’m wrong, according to the readers of TKE blog. 😦 Then I will definitely miss something kawaii once I leave Japan. Just in case you are not sure for the term “kawaii”, it doesn’t simply mean cute characters are on. Some people still seem to misunderstand that kawaii is cartoons for small children but it’s not. Kawaii can be a good design that make girls look prettier, when garment is described as kawaii, for example.

10: Japanese foods, especially Japanese rice and soy sauce
Even though I’m not much in love with certain Japanese foods such as tofu, miso soup, oden, dried fish, and etc., being completely free from them is another story. I especially love Japanese rice and dishes seasoned with soy sauce. Is soy sauce popular everywhere now?

I think you may find out more if you remember your WOW to Japan. Having lived in this country for over 35 years, I’m not sensitive enough to realize great things I can experience in Japan. In that respect, I’m sure you can tell me better than I realize them by myself. lol

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22 Responses to “10 reasons that convince me to stay in Japan”

  1. sweetmaniacdeluxe March 30, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

    This article was really interesting to read! 10 more reasons why I should visit Japan 😀
    2. It's so true, in Europe people find it very strange and if you ask them, if they will ever use such a toilet they would say no o.0
    3. Even in Germany, which is known for punctuality, you can't really count on people. They hate to wait but still come late xD But I have to say I'm also someone who always came in the last minute 😮
    9. Yes, it is really hard to get Kawaii goods. Of course you can buy Hello Kitty and some cute things here and there, but not many Kawaii goods. You only get some items in Japanese Stores, but then they are also expensive, or at online stores. For Example I like Fairy Kei Fashion, but it is sooo hard to get even a cute T-Shirt except you are 10 years old =/
    10. Yes soy sauce gets more and more popular 😀

    • kirin March 31, 2012 at 10:57 am #

      I think people will be obsessed with this high-tech toilet once they ever use it. ^ ^;; When they just watch the thing, they will think it's over-spec. Too many frills. Yeah, in a sense that's true as what we need is a basic function: warm seat and a shower.

  2. Aquila March 30, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

    I think I will miss all of the things you listed if I ever leave Japan, except #7 and #8 :). I am especially grateful that Japan allows foreign workers to be on national health insurance.

    Soy sauce is widely available in the US. We always bought Kikkoman brand. Many grocery stores also sell rice developed from Japanese rice. For example a brand called Nishiki (owned by Kikkoman) was developed from Japanese rice, but it grown in California. Perhaps the taste is similar to some kinds of Japanese rice.

    One thing that isn't on your list that I will miss is anko and mochi. I love Japanese sweets!

    I have no idea why the study abroad agency recommended buying pencils, erasers, and notebooks in Japan. I haven't noticed any difference in quality versus what is available in America.

  3. sedonia2 March 30, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    That all sounds good, Kirin. Did you ever watch The Wizard of Oz? The famous line Dorothy says when she wakes up in her bed in Kansas and realizes she wasn't in Oz: "There's no place like hom." 🙂 That just means someday I'll have to travel over there to meet up.

    • kirin March 31, 2012 at 11:07 am #

      I guess I want to learn all the things through my own experience even though I can easily learn from wisdom that people left.
      Even if I end up with the conclusion that there's no place like home, I want to reach that conclusion after my own experience. haha! My brain gave me 10 great reasons to stay in Japan, but my soul want to experience a venture to learn the lesson through physical experiences. ^ ^;;

  4. Lisa March 31, 2012 at 12:21 am #

    As a tourist to Japan from Australia, customer service was what astounded me the most. Australia needs to learn a few things from the Japanese. I loved everything about Japan, especially the traditional and modern handicrafts.

    • kirin March 31, 2012 at 11:11 am #

      I will visit Australia next month so maybe I will see what you mean. ^ ^;;

  5. Salma March 31, 2012 at 7:51 am #

    I love this post very much, dear Kirin.
    You know? I had a feeling that you would blog something about staying in Japan one day in TKE.:)
    Surely, one's love for his/her homeland is irresistible, and this's why I agree with every word you typed here.
    The part of "Japanese as a mother language" reminded me of my love too for reading books in Arabic, my mother tongue, more than English, like what you said about preferring to read books in Japanese. Reading in one's own mother language is unique. ^_^

    • kirin March 31, 2012 at 11:16 am #

      Hi Salma,

      Thank you, but it's not the final answer. To be fair enough I gave myself good reasons to stay in Japan. ^ ^;; But I'm surprised I can easily find these and they are too good to lose. -_- I will continue to think of this issue while I'm afraid of killing earthquakes and tsunami.

      In Arabic you read from right to left, which is quite contrary to English. Ah, but in Japanese we read from up to down, right to left, which is also very different from English. haha!!

  6. Anna March 31, 2012 at 6:51 pm #

    Hi Kirin,

    I was reading a blog written by a japanese lady (http://www.justhungry.com/ – it's got loads of japanese recipes and so on, not sure if you've heard of it!) and she wrote about her "furusato", or her hometown, that it'll always be japan no matter where she lives. I think if to you, Japan is your furusato, it's best to remain, no matter the ups or downs… because you'll always yearn for it.

    with regards to your post, I can really relate to #5! I'm from singapore but i live in the netherlands and whenever I return, i buy A LOT of japanese stationery from kinokuniya. Pencils, pens, my notebooks and agenda… and i can't study properly without it. I also stock up on japanese or korean hair and facial products because european brands just aren't suited for asian skin.

    I hope you'll be happy, where ever you live! I really enjoy reading your blog 😉

    • kirin April 5, 2012 at 5:02 am #

      Thank you for your comment, Anna.
      I think I'll for sure miss Japanese bath because I love it so much and that's what I miss most whenever I travel abroad.
      When I visited Amsterdam a few years ago, I was shocked how few of Miffy goods (by Dick Bruna) were sold there. I'm sure we can get more variety of Miffy goods in Kiddyland or any small character stores in Japan, nevertheless it's a famous character that was created in Netherlands. :p

  7. JonSnow April 1, 2012 at 10:22 am #

    I might be wrong, but I think Japan is also very safe. I think it is such an important point. I live in France and criminality-wise it is not the worst, besides I live in a small city, but would still feel safer as a woman in Japan than here! :]

    • kirin April 5, 2012 at 5:05 am #

      Oh I see! Safety in Japan is getting lost compared with 10 years or 20 years ago, but still it can be safer compared with the rest of the world.

  8. rambo April 2, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

    Japan is really different than any other eastern country. Everything looked always perfect. I think a lot of other countries can learn from this.

    • kirin April 5, 2012 at 5:07 am #

      I see. Maybe I'm too used to Japan standard, the perfection for everything…it must be a lot of stress when I can't expect that….

  9. HexColor April 7, 2012 at 1:34 am #

    OK, maybe MA population is not shrinking by absolute number, but is not growing as fast as other parts of the nation.

    The fact that MA lost House seat is the proof that people are leaving, assuming birth rate is equal.

  10. Cath May 4, 2012 at 12:21 am #

    Hahaha… if I can't stay in Japan, I must at least work very hard so that I can continue to visit Japan every year!!!

    • kirin May 4, 2012 at 9:55 am #

      That sounds good and I believe you can do that. 😀

  11. Alberto May 9, 2012 at 10:22 am #

    Oh.. I missed this so interesting post!!!

    Those 10 reasons sound nice as for keep living in Japan, but some of them can be found also in Europe (I can't say in America or Africa because I never went there).

    We don't have those famous high-tech toilets, and yes, that's one thing that could change in most public toilets in Europe. Most of then are usually not much clean. Everyone complaints about it, but it seems this fact will never change here 😛

    About punctuality… It depends on the European country you are. If you are in Spain, Portugal, Italy, France and most of the Mediterranean countries, it's true that people is not worried much about punctuality. And yes, I'm from Spain as you know, and sometimes "I am late". LoL.
    But for countries like Germany, England, Sweden and north countries in general, they are always on time. I think it's a culture fact…

    About the good quality products, I can't talk myself, I never bought from Japan, but here it's commonly accepted that Japan is the capital of high-end technology and Japanese people works hard and are very collaborative, so I suppose that things bought on JP are high quality. Some people sometimes thinks that Chinese and Japanese people are almost the same, but I know that's not true at all, and sometimes when we see a Japanese Restaurant, you can hear some comments like "Bah.. They probably serve dog" or "Bah… that is probably a nasty and dirty restaurant". Because they think that Chinese and JP culture is the same. It's sad to hear comments like those, but well, I know that JP and China are pretty different.

    Universal Health Insurance? Of course. Every country in Europe, as far as I know, also has Universal Health Insurance, and of course, this covers also the medicines. Every medicine is free, except some of the most cheap and common that can be acquired without prescription. I know this does not happen in USA, where everyone need to pay for a health insurance. I can't understand how people without money can access the health system!!!!
    Knowing that JP also has Universal Health Insurance is, in my opinion, one of the reason I would like to live in JP. 😀

    English is also a foreign language in Spain. Not much people talks or even understands English here, and if you think you can manage to talk and be understood by everyone in English, in Spain, then you are wrong. Of course, you can talk English in Hotels and other places, but almost nobody will do in street. I think this also happens in Italy, Portugal and some other European countries.

    I also love reading (I read the last summer four books, with a total of 2000 pages more or less). I read in Spanish, but sometimes I read also in English or even German, because I want to read a book that is not in Spanish. But yes, I prefer to read in Spanish. And I think that Japanese is a beautiful language and I can understand why JP people like tourists or foreign people to talk or understand some Japanese!!! I wish I could talk JP as I talk Spanish… 😥 But self-learning is very very hard.

    About kawaii things, you already know there are not much "cute" things in the streets and so, but you can find amazing and beautiful things somewhere, or even interesting shops that I'm sure you will enjoy (at least every of my friend that is a girl likes to go shopping there, where you can find lots of Hello Kitty clothes and accessories, etc).

    And finally (sorry this the wall of text), I think that Mediterranean diet is similar to Japanese diet, not in the food itself, but in the kind of diet. Mediterranean is based on fish, vegetables, olive oil, and basically healthy food in general. You will not find food with lots of fats, cholesterol and so. So this is maybe something else we got in common.
    I think the Japanese and Mediterranean diet are the best one can find.

    ¡¡Un saludo a todos!!
    Espero que estés bién en Australia.

    • kirin May 10, 2012 at 4:48 am #

      Hi Alberto,

      Wow, you left such a long comment. Sometimes the comment system asks you to split in some short comments, but seems like it worked this time. ^ ^ Thanks.

      It's good to know that people from northern European countries are punctual. It's true each country is different even if all is considered "Europe". China and Japan are very different in many aspects. We look alike, JP culture is much influenced by Chinese culture in its history, but the people are very different. I hear Chinese women are much more stronger than JP women. haha.

      As for kawaii things, something cool or stylish or nice can be also kawaii so, I'd love to shop in Europe to find something nice! I don't always mean character goods or cartoons to refer to kawaii, so it's possible I can find some nice post cards, kitchen tools, accessories, bags or shoes that are considered kawaii somewhere in Europe.

      Thank you for your interesting comment.
      I can only say "No es facil" from Australia for now. ^ ^;;
      Hasta pronto,
      Kirin

  12. comparative eye July 13, 2012 at 8:05 am #

    Sorry for this late comment. I love this post. My boyfriend and I were just talking about Japan the other day. We work closely with some Japanese and plan to go to Japan for a few years to experience the culture.

    Love the people there and their attitude. And now your 10 reasons to convince seems like an added factor to make us go ahead with the plan!

    Thank you!

    • kirin July 14, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

      Thank you for your comment.
      I hope you enjoy your stay in Japan. I hear some people really love our country and culture. ^ ^

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