When I first considered moving to Japan, I had some thoughts about what it would be like. Since the Japanese are known to be advanced in technology, I thought I would see nothing but robots roaming the streets and running businesses (kind of like how over night everyone thought we would fly around Jetsons style lol). I know that robots are scattered around the country but I have yet to see any. I learn new and interesting things about Japan every day like vending machines on almost every street corner, love hotels, and passport photo booths. I’ll write more about these things another time. For now, I want to focus on 3 things that I did not expect about Japan when I first moved here.
The unfurnished apartments in Japan do not come with what I consider to be the basics when you rent a place. They only come with ceiling lights in the kitchen and bathroom. They also do not come with a refrigerator. However, it’s pretty easy to find those things. Options include buying them brand new, recycle shops (similar to thrift stores), or sayonara sales (people sell or give away items when they move out of Japan). The majority of my furnishings were bought from a recycle shop and I’m glad I made that choice.
The Japanese trains are very clean, always on time, and ridiculously crowded. With the amount of people on the trains daily, I never considered how quiet it would be. When you walk into a car, you can hear a pin drop. Most people can be seen reading, sleeping, or using their phones. Talking on the phone is a huge no no. Occasionally, noise from a group of friends or a family with kids can be heard but that’s about it. It’s a big change from NYC trains where random people spark conversations with each other and different performances or sales pitches happen at the same time. I do miss that.
The convenience stores, Kobinis, in Japan sell cheap drinks, food, and snacks. Bills can also be paid at stores like the 7-11. Most can be paid by direct withdrawal from your bank account but it can get tricky depending on your bank. I pay mine at the 7-11 but since I was accustomed to paying everything online at home, it felt weird in the beginning. Another weird change that I had to get used to was ordering concert tickets online and picking them up at the store. It is very different than having them emailed to print out or to show on my phone at the venue.