One of the most common questions I get asked is what I like about Japan and though there are many things they are quite hard to define. What is far easier to answer is what annoys me about living in this country. Of course a few of these things depend on what side one gets out of bed in the morning but below is a top ten list of some things I’d like to banish to Room 101:
10. Rules/Administration/Paper work/Red tape – Rules are rules in Japan and thats it. Everyone sticks to them (well the majority do!) which is fair enough but theres often no room for them being slightly adapted. To get anything important done at City Hall or Immigration usually involves a ridiculous amount of paper work. Read more here.
9. Katakana and Japanese-English – this is the Japanese-way of writing foreign words but the problem is that it must fit in with the sounds available in Nihongo meaning that some words when read are a mystery due to them being Japanified. Read more here.
8. Accessories – the Japanese are obsessed with them and this seemingly goes beyond those ridiculous over-sized ones hanging from mobile phones (making them anything but mobile!) to pets almost being treated as accessories. Dogs are often carried everywhere and pampered with clothing and other such treats not usually given to pets.
7. Wastage – so much food is left over not to mention the excessive amount of carrier bags given out willy nilly in stores. Despite the initial reduction in electricity use after the earthquake so much is still wasted on things like excessive air-con, little escalators and even those technical toilets. Read more here.
6. High pitched squeaky voices – As cute as they are, Japanese girls are obsessed with ‘kawaii’ culture which includes speaking in this annoying style to supposedly make themselves sound like a kid.
5. Train Announcements – They treat passengers as complete dumb-asses with constant information repeated of the next station and which lines to change to at that station. Useful maybe but surely almost everyone knows where they’re going when they board. The driver often then repeats this information. This almost-constant looping of the announcements means train rides aren’t as quiet as they could be.
4. Dumbed-down TV – So-called celebrities squealing ‘oishii’ in unison on the many food-obsessed TV programmes while we have kanji flashing and pinging on screen with someone’s reaction always needed to be seen in a small box in the corner of the screen. Read more here.
3. Wrapped in cotton wool – So many Japanese seem to have been molly cuddled so much throughout life whether its the ridiculous air-con or heating temperatures used inside, masks being worn, medicine being taken for any slight ailment as well as over-frequent reliance on going to hospital or just using umbrellas when theres a spot of rain in the air. Even if its just wet outside the umbrellas go up en-masse. All of these things seem a far cry from the days of its samurai! Read more here.
2. Smoking rules – the opposite to the Western world as they are trying to prevent it outdoors here but inside its a free-for-all. Japan is a long way behind other countries on this issue. Read more here.
1. Japanese cyclists – so many complaints that it has its own blog entry! Read it here.
* This article was partially inspired by an article on my mates blog last year.
Too much negativity here? If so, then you may be more interested in reading about the things I love about living and working in Japan. Click on the following link: