5 most difficult things of living in Japan

Don’t worry, my next post will be about the 5 best things of living in Japan 😉
Here goes:

5. The rules are the rules

Yes, this is exactly why everybody likes Japan; it’s organised, safe and clean. That is because everybody walks in line (sometimes literally, when queuing for the bus or waiting to cross). But when you live here, the strictness can become a bit stiffling because there is no flexibility whatsoever. Get in line and follow protocoll.

keep-calm-and-follow-protocol-17

4. Recycling
There are just so many categories and bags! The worst for me is that you have to wash and cut the milk cartons and fold them. It makes you stop buying milk altogether. The most hilarious; you’re supposed to take your baby’s poo out of the diaper and flush it.

recycling milk

3. Food
Why does the whole world think Japan serves super healthy food? I think it might be true for sashimi and sushi – if you pick the sushi without mayonnaise – and for noodles (quite healthy but lots of calories) but then there is all the (deep) fried stuff: tempura, yakitori, tonkatsu, chicken wings and so on. It can also be quite a challenge to find vegetables in your dish!

Another thing is the ‘kawai’ food that comes in very artificial colours. Food that is fluorescent, thanks but no thanks!

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Traditional Japanese food is healthy, but who still cooks it? Japan is overrun by fast food chains, izakayas and so on. We have a hard time finding a restaurant that serves non-greecy food. I keep wondering why most Japanese are so skinny. Must be the tiny portions 🙂

 

 


2. Customer service

Although Japanse in general are very helpful, their ‘help’ can turn out to be very time consuming. It all has to do with the fear of causing you harm and taking responsability. Most of the time when you ask a simple question they call on their superior or colleague to answer the question for them. Flexibility is non-existent and a critical sense often is too. Once, it took me over 1h in a pharmacy because the prescription stated a liquid medicine and they could only provide the powder one. Calls back and forth to the hospital, lots of questions and documents to be filled out, even questions about the birth one year earlier. My advice is don’t ask any questions – it’ll delay the process even more – just breathe and don’t watch the clock.

1. Plastic waste
Irritation number 1 is definitely the absurd quantity of single use plastic. It’s depressing.

plastic waste.JPG

  • Go to the supermarket and see 3 carrots in plastic, 4 potatoes, a single banana and so on. When cooking you spend more time removing the plastic and putting it in the right recycle bin than actually cooking.
  • Buy a drink: you get a plastic cup with a plastic cover, with a plastic straw and even a plastic straw ‘cover’ which is lifted when handed to you – to show you the straw is sterile or whatever.
  • Go to the bakery: every single piece of bread/cookie/pastry/cake will be wrapped seperataly, to finish with another plastic bag to fit them all.

Japan’s plastic waste is piling up as China recently banned the ‘import’ of plastics for recycling. Japan (amongst other countries) is in big trouble.

P.S.: Didn’t make it onto the list, but also worth mentioning: the Japanese language, gender equality and laundry machines.

 

 

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