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8 Things I Love about living in Japan

Before I left the Philippines, every friend I talked to expressed a big love for Japan. Family & friends who came here said they will definitely come back. The next time they visit Japan? They plan to go to a different prefecture. My sister who studied and lived here after college is dying to come back. 

And let's not forget our love for Japanese products. From snacks to skincare. From bags to electronics. 

I could tell they were extremely happy for me. They were concerned about the cost of living here in Tokyo. I talked about that here: How much is the average cost of living in Tokyo Japan?

Wow... to live in Japan!

In this post, I will tell you 8 things I love about living in Japan. Why only 8? 

I can actually list an easy hundred. Of course, I like living in Japan! But let's be honest here, I know you won't read a long list, am I right?

And while you are here, check out my article about 8 Things I Miss About the Philippines.

8 Things I love about living in Japan
Celebrating almost a year of living here


Hang on... just a little story first...

Fast forward after a few months of living here (this is before the pandemic). My friends asked me what it's like to live in Japan. I tend to pause for a moment before giving a quick answer, "It's okay." I would say.

They immediately took the pause as, "Oh just okay?" And you know... okay means, not too much?

The pause actually meant, it's not perfect but it's home for now. It meant everything is good but I have not passed the culture shock. It meant I like living here but I'm not sure if I would like to stay for good.

I wondered, Why would they assume something negative out of the pause and a plain, "It's okay" answer?

I guess it's because they were expecting an epic answer. I guess they were expecting I'll be right off the bat impress as everyone else who comes here as a tourist.

Anyway, this blog right here is a new answer to that question. Take note! I am writing this in the middle of a pandemic and right after a major drawback in my life! 



Here are the 8 Things I Love about Living in Japan:
In no particular order.

1. Convenience

8 Things I love about living in Japan
Naka-meguro station

    We own a car in the Philippines but not here in Japan. It's not surprising that we get by due to the reliable transportation here. Lucas will have a dentist's appointment at 5:30 PM. I will pick him up at the bus stop at 5:00 PM, and we will still arrive on time even though the clinic is 5km away.

  I also love that when my husband says he will be home at 7PM, it is completely accurate as he does not need to deal with traffic. The trains are quite on time.

  I also love that there are CLEAN and FREE toilets everywhere. Even the smallest park has one. You are free to use the convenient store's toilet room even without buying anything - and without being embarrassed about it. At least I'm not.

  Of course, everyone loves the vending machine. Most of the sales here from beverages come from vending machines. There are two convenient stores about a 4-minute walk away from our house. There is a vending machine right outside our apartment. It's like having an extended refrigerator for drinks.

 Don't want to carry your heavy luggage? You can leave it inside the coin lockers at the station.

2. Safety and Security


  Where will you ever see small children as young as 5 years old walk by themselves from school or out in the playground by themselves? You can even catch some 7-year-olds riding the train by themselves.

  Here in Japan, the most common crime is stealing bikes. I was just laughing the other day because I saw an old woman parked her bike, locked it with a key, then left the key just sticking there! You'd think it's just that old woman? Well, that night, we saw a man withdrawing from an ATM while his bike with the key lock is parked outside!

  Oh, and you can also leave your child's tablet on the stroller parked outside the bike shop!


  One time, we left a bag inside the train. We did not worry that someone will take an interest. We told the trainmaster and we got it back. Tip: If you can remember the train car, the platform, and the destination of the train it will be easier.

  Left your cellphone at the shop? No need to worry, it will still be there, and sometimes right where you left it. Can you believe they use cellphones here to reserve a seat at a cafe? It's true!

  The list of safety and security goes on here in Japan.  

   You'll hear some rare bad news once in a while. And be careful in shopping areas, there are some pickpockets too.

3. No such thing as overdressing

   They say that here in Japan, people actually have 3 different sets of clothes in a day. One, for sleeping. Two, for the house, when you but outside the bedroom. And three, for outside.

  Appearance is everything here. Wearing make-up is part of good etiquette. There was a survey conducted by livejapan.com on 7 stereotypes about Japanese women. The survey result showed that women wear make-up when going out. Sometimes, they won't wear make-up to rest their skin. All for the name of beauty.

FUN FACT: Some women wear surgical masks because they did not put make-up at the lower part of their faces.

On the other hand, men should wear something appropriate for certain meetings. For important business meetings they must wear a suit and tie.

  When we were still in Roppongi Hills, I never go down our apartment without make-up or dressing up. Now, we don't livie in an area as classy as Roppongi, but I'd still wear something different when going out. I can dress up as if I'm going to a party while grocery shopping and no one would notice. It's pretty normal to dress up here.

 4. Nature within the city/ An infinite number of parks


  Before the pandemic, we would go out every week and each week to a different park.  I might create one category on this site dedicated for parks.

There are small playgrounds with one slide. There are athletic parks like Komazawa Olympic Park and Setagaya Park. The tourists' favorites like Ueno, Yoyogi, Yamashita, and Shinjuku park. There are rough and rugged playgrounds scattered around Tokyo. These parks have shovels and hammers. There is a ravine park within Tokyo it will make you think you're in a forest somewhere.

How else can you enjoy all these parks within and outside Tokyo if not for the transportation system?

  Each park has different architecture and artwork.  I guess it's because of the small apartments here that people tend to go out and enjoy the outside world. Yes, even during a pandemic.

5. Physical exercise is effortless

8 Things I love about living in Japan

  Well, because we have no car, we have no choice but to walk.

  If you ever visited Japan, you know how extreme walking can be. The sidewalks tend to be bigger than the road in some neighborhood so it's also safe to take walks for exercise.

  Ever wondered why Japanese women are slim? This is part of the reason why. Some streets also tend to be inclined.

6. Best customer service without paying a tip

  It's hard to communicate here because of the language barrier but it doesn't matter. Everyone is polite and the customer service is also amazing. In Canada, expect good customer service because you must give a tip.  Here, it is considered rude to give tips.

  I also love how fast they serve your food in restaurants. As customers, you can enjoy from the priority they put into efficiency. All installations you want to be done in the house are also done very fast.  At least this is my experience when it comes to bed, TV, internet, and appliances installation.

 Like I said nothing is perfect, I heard some complaints in the banking system here.
 
7.  Quality of Education

 When I think about the kind of education my son is getting, I know I won't ever regret coming here.

We all heard about the Japanese school system. Here in Japan, education is holistic. There's academics, sports, and values. They teach the concept of responsibility and accountability as early as pre-school.

My son is studying in an international school, but they follow Japanese practices.

Moreover, I love how he gets enough rest and sleep. He goes to school from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM at Kindergarten. The whole school day includes going out to the park, playing inside the classroom, and after-school programs. In connection to #1, his travel time is only 30minutes by the school bus. The house is 9km away from the school and there are still other kids to fetch after him. In Manila, some kids have to wake up before 5 AM so they can arrive at school by 7 AM.
 
8. Variety and freshness of food and drinks


 Food is more expensive here but freshness is guaranteed. There are groceries with cheaper offers.

  If they put it on sale, it means it's no longer the same quality you expect.  They even say that freshness here is by the hour and not by the day.

  I love Japanese foods even before coming here to Japan. Here, some flavors are seasonal and the variety is wide and sometimes weird. The Japanese bring food into a whole new level. I love tasting different flavored drinks and deserts!


I tried to break it down but you can see that it's actually all about the quality of life. I've been to Canada and the US and anyone can easily argue that the quality of life is also quite good. So I tried to list the specific things that make Japan unique and amazing. 

Each country is different but I am sure none of them is perfect.

Anywhere you go, you can note some good and bad points.  I challenge you to look beyond the bad. Have fun and experience new things!

To be happy, you have to accept all the good and the bad. Believe that happiness is where you are. So choose to be happy - always.

What about you? What are your favorite things about the country where you are right now?

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