Top 10 things that make me love living in Japan

i love living in japanThese are the top 10 things that make me love living in Japan. My last top 10 post was negative, so today everything is going to be positive! See how that all balances out? Ok, let’s dive into what makes me love living in Japan!

10. Polite Staff

The clerks and staff are known to go out of their way to provide excellent service to their customers in Japan. Sometimes you’ll encounter a clerk that is less than enthusiastic, but for the most part, I can say that the level of service is out of this world.

japanese clerkYou could look like the poorest or most beat up person on the planet and most clerks would still treat you just like any customer, with respect. It’s hard to go back to the “take it or leave it” attitude from clerks in the U.S. I’m definitely spoiled sometimes.

9. Restaurant Menus

You know, this is something I think American restaurants could learn from. Japanese menus usually feature a lot more photos of the meals so customers can make an easier decision on what they want. It’s also easier for customers that may not be able to read the country’s language.

I remember being in the U.S. and sometimes balking at the menus that places had. Black text on a white background where you would have to just hope for the best when choosing something.

Japan has places with plain menus too, but they are less common than ones with more visually pleasing designs.

 

Typical U.S. Chinese Restaurant menu:

chinese menu

Family Restaurant Japanese menu:

20090510141221

8. No lawsuit crazy people

In general, people in Japan are not looking for a reason or excuse to sue one another. When I taught at a public high school, I was often in awe at what teachers could allow students to do because they didn’t have the fear of potential lawsuits hovering over them.

judgedredd_i-am-the-lawThis was always an issue in the U.S. Teachers couldn’t allow students to do certain things for fear of being sued. It felt almost claustrophobic.

7. Merchandise

If you happen to be a fan of a series that originated from Japan, you can count on there to be lots of merchandise. I remember always being jealous of kids that lived in Japan when I was younger. In gaming magazines that covered Japanese toys, I could see what sort of things were available to buy in Japan but nowhere else. Japan is the king of merchandising the hell out of anything.anime goods

Don't you want Sailor Moon luggage?
Don’t you want Sailor Moon luggage?

It can sometimes be annoying, but if you really enjoy a certain anime or manga series, it’s sort of nice to find something you like.

6. Publishing is still alive

Magazines and newspapers have already started dying out in the U.S., but they are still alive and kicking in Japan. It’s really nice because I love buying gaming or movie-related books and magazines. There is a book or magazine covering almost any topic you can imagine. Retro games? Got it. A fan of Ubuntu Linux and want girls on the cover? Check.

I have doubts this woman even knows what a OS is
I have doubts this woman even knows what an OS is

Thinking about buying this week’s latest gaming magazine? It sometimes comes with a free gift! In my case, it was a historical catalog of all of Nintendo’s hardware. Small treats like this make print a lot of fun.

I’m not sure if it’s me getting older or my long-term stay in Japan that has changed me, but I seem to crave more physical books and magazines than I did in the past.

5. A utopia for Japanese comics

Did you know you can find Japanese comics / manga in Japan? Of course you did. However, did you know that you can get some dirt cheap prices on volumes and volumes of comics that are used but in good condition?

cheap mangaIf you learn Japanese, there is no end to the amount of comics at your fingertips for affordable prices. The translated comics that reach Western shores can be pricey and there are no big used bookstore chains that deal with lots of Japanese comics. Japan has lots of used book stores that deal with truckloads.

4. Convenience Stores (These make me really love living in Japan)

Japanese convenience stores are LEGENDARY for the amount of things they carry and services they provide. If I were to leave Japan today, this would be something I would miss if I was back in the U.S. Convenience stores are more safe and clean than those in other countries. They offer so many products and services that it’s mind boggling. I can go into a Japanese convenience store and grab a donut, pay my utility bills, and buy concert tickets. Not to mention that the food is usually higher quality than anything you can find back in the U.S. If you ever go to Japan, your first stop should be a convenience store because they have everything.

3. Fast Internet

Well, you can tell what my priorities are, huh? Getting great high speed broadband Internet in the U.S. can sometimes be impossible if you don’t live in a major metropolitan city. Even when you do get Internet, there is no guarantee that the speed will be satisfactory or what was even advertised. Let me tell you that the Internet in Japan is GREAT. I have a fiber-optic line running to my home and I make full use of the seemingly endless bandwidth provided to me.

I'm cruising with my mouse every day. Fast internet makes me love living in Japan.
I’m cruising with my mouse every day

It’s not just home Internet access that is super fast. The major Japanese cell phone carrier networks are much faster and widespread than in the U.S. I can enjoy getting high speeds on my iPhone wherever I go.

2. Healthcare

I don’t want to discuss healthcare in the United States because it’s a giant mess. What I do want to talk about is the affordable healthcare in Japan. One time I passed out in a bookstore and had to be taken to a hospital in an ambulance. The cost of the ambulance ended up being something like 300-900 yen ($3-$9). That’s just one simple example, but generally I have experienced great healthcare that doesn’t break the bank.japanese healthcare

When people catch a cold or feel slightly ill, they go straight to a doctor right away because they are not worried about how much the visit will cost them. I’ve met many people from the U.S. and Canada that were purposely avoiding going to the doctor while they lived in Japan because they feared the costs would be similar to those in their home country. Not true, though! I have other medical experiences that back up my good impression of Japan’s healthcare system. However, I’m sure there are people that would beg to differ.

1. Safe and Safety

Japan is safe. You’ll hear that a lot if you talk to people that live there. Of course, every country has “dark areas” or places you should know better than to head to.

japan safeHaving said that, Japan to me is much safer than being back in my hometown. You can walk around at all times of the day or night and not have to worry as much. Of course, you should always take precautions and be alert for suspicious people, etc.

I see young children commuting to and from their schools. Young women are walking by themselves late at night. It’s a really nice feeling to not have to be in constant fear of something happening to you when you’re out and about.

 

Why I love living in Japan – Final Thoughts

These are just some reasons that I came up with why Japan is a great place to live. Not everything is perfect, though. If you’re interested in seeing the negative side, check out my Top 10 post on what makes me hate living in Japan.

 

What about you? Is there anything you really like about Japan? You don’t have to live or have visited there to like something, so feel free to share your thoughts!

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