I will be the first to admit that I did not complete adequate research on cultural differences in Tokyo Japan prior to visiting. I was about to face the difficulty of a country with an entirely different alphabet and was aware that there would be a theme of “lost in translation”. I’ll admit, sometimes this worked to our benefit. Since communication wasn’t easy or natural, I was able to observe more. I paid closer attention to body language and actions of the Japanese people when we were in common areas. Here are a few things I learned about cultural differences in Tokyo Japan!
The Japanese abide by the saying Ichi-go Ichi-e, which means “once in a lifetime”. It encourages people to celebrate every moment because not one can be replicated. Many cultural celebrations and traditions revolve around this idea. It is a motto I think we can adopt in our own lives, wherever we might be in the world. I know that I want to treat every moment as if it were once in a lifetime. Even those small moments that come in and out through the day. Don’t you want to, too?
No, this is not like New York City where the subway is silent because everyone wears their Apple headphones. The Tokyo subway is silent and most people close their eyes. Every now and then, you will see someone on their phone or reading a book. I like to think that everyone is catching a rare, quiet moment underneath their busy and bustling city.
Drive on the left. Walk on the left. Ride the escalator on the left. Repeat. This cultural differences in Tokyo Japan is harder to get used to than you would think. Especially with one way streets. And especially when umbrellas are involved.
No one moves before the walking man turns green. In fact, there are security guards manning many of the crosswalks. But…when that light turns green, the scene is reminiscent of the wildebeest stampede from the Lion King.
Japan is the cleanest city I have ever visited. It is truly fascinating how clean it actually is. I’m not mad about this cultural differences in Tokyo Japan. You will not find litter. You will not accidentally step on a piece of gum. It is fantastic!
Don’t knock it till you try it, ok! Yes, the toilets are heated and have 760 buttons. I have no clue what they mean (they’re in Japanese, guys). I was too scared to test it all out. Cultural differences in Tokyo Japan just took a turn for the weird…
In Japan, it is traditional practice to take off your shoes upon entering a restaurant. While this may seem nasty to all of my OCD friends, I found it quite home-y. It was fun to sit crisscross apple sauce and enjoy a meal. It made the entire dining experience more social, casual and fun!