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Frankie Vu

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As I have been frantically trying to tell every man, woman and child over the past week or so, I recently returned from a family holiday to Japan. On top of being one of the most amazing places I have ever visited (in many ways), there were a few every day observations that I consider to be ‘share worthy’ – things I’ve learnt about Japan.

Therefore I have opted to creatively name this blog post… ‘Ten things I’ve learnt about Japan’. Think of it as a beginner’s guide…


1) Plastic food

It’s really common to see restaurants display plastic models of their popular dishes. Enticing or off-putting? I’m still not sure…


2) Things make SENSE

People drive on the left, and also stand on the left on escalators. Not like in London, where we can’t make our minds up about whether to walk on the left or the right between platforms in tube stations. This alone is probably a good enough reason to move to Japan.


3) People are very considerate

For example, if you’re taking a photo in the street, people in your path will usually duck underneath your lens or wait until you’ve taken the snap before walking past. A little manners goes a long way!


4) Convenience stores sell EVERYTHING

As well as the dangerously tasty creampuffs on sale at every 7/11, you can walk into a convenience store and come out with a shirt, tie and trousers. Perfect for when you leave the house without any clothes on.


5) Toilets are amazing

Possibly the biggest revelation of all. Almost every toilet seat you use in Japan is heated – YES, HEATED. Not only that, but they also feature built-in bidets with water jets that are quite literally, stunningly accurate. Some even have privacy functions, where you can play the sound of running water or some inoffensive music just loud enough to drown out the sound of your business. Or whatever else, if you’re a girl, because everyone knows girls don’t do business.


6) People have umbrellas to protect them from the slightest bit of sunshine

Having grown up in a country where getting a tan is more important than getting a job, it’s very strange to see people looking for the opposite. City-dwellers in Japan often use umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun, on top of 300SPF* sun lotion.

(*= not strictly true)


7) No eating in public

This is a problem. You’ll notice that eating on the street is something that people just don’t do over here. Unless you manage to find a park or a bench to sit on, it’s considered pretty rude to munch on your McDonald’s out in public. You’ve been warned.


8) Everything is really clean

During my entire two week trip, I saw ONE piece of litter. It was so surprising to me that I had no option but to take a photo of it. Even then, the can was neatly placed on top of a cupboard at a station.


9) Street signs are really cute, so are roadworks signs

I’m not sure why this is the case, but I’m definitely a fan. Why shouldn’t public messages make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside whilst they warn you of your impending doom? Seriously though, the fire hydrant pictures are crazy cute.


10) Buses work the opposite way

When you get on a bus, it’s via the back doors – then you pay as you leave, at the front. This took some getting used to but I think I could handle it if I got to live in Kyoto!