1. The Culture of courtesy
I knew Asians bowed a lot while exchanging greetings, but I didn’t expect to join them in doing so as I was never brought up that way. In just two days I had received so many bows for which i nodded or smiled in reciprocity, the last straw for me was an old lady who had bowed to me for giving way to her to enter the elevator first, I found myself bowing to everyone after that occasion. Its been a while since I left Japan now, yet everyone in a while I still find myself giving bows here in Europe.
While eating out in most restaurants, the water and tea were provided free of charge, so often times I found myself ordering for sake (Japanese rice wine) or umeshu (Japanese plum wine) in addition to my meals. Back home at restaurants I just had water or juice when eating out but having wine seemed so normal while in Japan and it was cheap too.
3. Trusted transportation
The trains depart when they are supposed to, they arrive when they are supposed to.
4. Green tea
I hated green tea while I was in Japan, whether it was warm or cold never made a difference. It was just bland and tasteless and weird. Then I had green tea back here in the western world, its true you never know what you have until you’ve lost it, how I long for the original Japanese green tea.
5. Segregating my trash
In the apartment complex I lived, plastic bottles, papers, household items had different days to be taken out. So even while in doors the trash was segregated into different bags to make emptying it out easier. Since leaving Japan, I am now careful to discard trash into the proper bins, if the bins have been labelled.
6. Taking off my shoes at the door.
This is truly hygienic, you don’t have to distribute all the germs picked up from outside all over your home. Some restaurants and a few temples had this style, we had to take off our shoes before entering the main part of the building. Am thinking when I can own my house in the future, it’ll have this provision, it’s called a genkan.
This list wont be complete without the food.. I was never short of variety, never short of places to choose from. 50% of my budget ended up going to food and the rest to sightseeing, transport,souvenirs and other essentials. You don’t believe me? try visiting Osaka. The portions were often small, but that was healthy too. I miss that too. I thought I would lose some weight with all the healthy eating and small portions, but that didn’t happen. There were just so many items to try out. I wrote an entire article about my experience of food in Japan for travelicious. A link to this can be seen here