But, despite the attention grabbing headline (I hope), hate is such a strong word.
For me—and others—there are several things about Japan that are irksome, but to use irksome in a headline would remove that Romantics vibe I was reverse paraphrasing. It's a rock song.
So, enough fence sitting, let's take a look at some of the things that baffle foreigners who visit Japan:
|A different kind of Foreigner...|
2) No soap or paper towels or toilet paper in public washrooms.
I would never dry my hands on a paper tissue, because it would invariably fall apart and leave paper tissue crud all over my gaijin fingers and hands. If you saw me exit a public rest room (say at a restaurant), odds are you'd notice a dark stain going down the thigh area of my jeans. Classy hotels will always have paper towels, soap and toilet paper, by the way, but I would imagine you'd have to be a hotel guest to use. Maybe. Just walk in and act like you belong. As far as soaps... I never received any free samples, but I would bet some promotional items exist. If you must use a public restroom, there are no doors leading into it, so you won't have to worry about touching a door handle where someone may have soiled it. Anyhow, after a short while, I refused to use a public washroom (except at a school - and there they had toilet paper). It’s also why I didn’t make it home in time and crapped my pants after a night of heavy drinking. Really. I just tossed the pants out in the garbage… or was it recycling. Yes, I drank a lot in Japan, but not everyday. Usually just Friday and Saturday nights.
3) Individually-wrapped fruit & veggies.
|Japanese pears aren't even pear-shaped.... but they do come with their own individual bandana.|
Japanese bread is stupid. Not only can one find bread that looks like a baby’s arm. But ‘regular’ bread… when you put two slices of bread atop each other (flat)… the damn things are three to four inches high. That’s a lot of bread. Can’t the Japanese create sliced bread that is thinner? Oh well... in Japan bread isn't eaten as often as rice, where rice can be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and even as a snack should you go to a 7-11 or whatever for some onigiri—love that make-it-yourself riceball with dried seaweed and a tuna and mayo center! Anyhow, I would buy a loaf of bread and get maybe eight slices out of it. Since I'm the two sandwich for lunch kindda guy, I would be out in two days... which is fine, because Japanese fridges are so tiny one can only place enough goods in a Japanese fridge for about two or three days worth of meals. Still... no one needs that much bread... it's like I ate eight slices of North American-sliced bread in one sitting. Ugh.
5) Toilet slippers.
Look… you don’t want me to get your nice clean indoor slippers dirty from me peeing on them, or crapping on them… but perhaps you should be more concerned with the fact that I’m peeing and crapping all over the place. Apparently there is precedent for me doing that up above. Dammit… I’m not helping my argument.
6) Cheese is scarce.
|Image from http://en.rocketnews24.com, who know all about cheese. Excellent website. This is all the cheese in Japan.|
7) No street signs.
|This is apparently |
8) Smoking in public spaces.
Smoking in restaurants is still allowed in Japan. Looking back to the 1990s when I was in Japan, what was worse were the nurses and doctors at the local hospital, who all had lit smokes dangling from their lower lip as they tried to describe to me that me crapping my pants was due to some gastro ailment rather than someone playing a practical joke on me. I once found a pack of menthol smokes in the cigarette vending machine below my apartment... how drunk do you have to be to not pick up the smokes you just paid for? Anyhow... I had a lighter in my pocket that I used for lighting candles in my ambience-heavy apartment... so I lit up a smoke... just as a strong wind blew, throwing the flame into the side of my face. Coincidentally, I then began to grow a beard for the first time ever. The scars healed - at least the physical ones - but damn... I looked good with that beard that had no grey in it. Anyhow, smoking in Japan is decreasing... no, really.
9) White cars.
|Not every car in Japan is white, but as you can see, it's the most popular. Image from classes.soe.ucsc.edu|
10) Green Tea.
|Drinking green tea is the cat's meow in Japan. Image from en.rocketnews24.com|
11) Stupid English Words.
|My words can do this no justice...|
|Japanese flight attendants wearing pantyhose. I can't see anything wrong with this, however... I'm not making my point here.|
13) Closed Windows.
|A telephone card of my old school Nozaki Chu Gakko - where pantyhose wearing (sometimes) Noboko was a teacher.|
14) Tiny Roads.
|This is an example of the narrow roads that ran through the City of Ohtawara where I lived. In many places, the roads were even narrower.|
15) The Missing Sidewalk Block.
Okay... see the photo I took in Point #14... over to the left and right of the road... the grey blocks that look like sidewalks, but really aren't, but are considered to actually be a sidewalk.... that's what I'm talking about...
Japan has sidewalks alongside some of its many streets and goat paths. The sidewalks are rarely raised (except in the big cities). In the smaller cities, towns and villages, the sidewalk is actually a stone tile that covers a water drainage system. Sometimes one or more tiles go missing or are broken. Sometimes when you are riding your bicycle late in the morning (say 3AM), and you are drunk and it's really difficult to ride with the light grinding away at the tire, and you really don't want to crap your pants... it is very easy to suddenly plummet down about 10 inches into the open sewer system. I have no idea if it's a sewer system... but it's never dry. No, neither are my pants. But that's probably for another reason.
Anyhow.. because I had a difficult time finding an image on the 'net... maybe it ain't a thing anymore. Hunh.
That's it for now... do you have any quirks about Japan that irk you?
PS: By the way... when I went to the Internet to confirm that The Romantics did indeed sing "What I Like About You" which allowed me to paraphrase my blog title - I also discovered there was a 2002 American television show by the same name. Here's what its about:
When Holly's father is transferred to Japan, she is sent to live with Valerie, her big sister, in New York City, and turns Valerie's life upside-down. It stars Amanda Bynes and Jennie Garth.
Japan pokes its head out once again.