Last updated on July 17th, 2019 at 05:01 am
What you do not know about Japan?
One of my favorite questions people ask me: “What is the place that you like the most?” or “Based on your travels, where would you want to live?“
Need I say more? Whoever asks me that questions always gets a surprise look on their face. Here I am crashing some popular myths about one of MR. K and mine favorite places in the whole world. This post is about Japan, so stay tuned for Los Angeles.
Read my Los Angeles post here!
Myth #1: Japan is expensive.
Depending on one’s lifestyle, of course, it can be financially draining. If you come prepared though it is one of the most affordable places in the world.
Rent an apartment for longer stay and enjoy shopping at their local stores: you are going to have a blast! Do not use taxis as they are very expensive. Buy a metro card called PASMO. To learn more about transportation go here.
For apartments I really recommend Sakura House. I used them myself and was satisfied with almost everything. 🙂 Price vs. value = they are in the sweet spot. They also have all kinds of activities around Tokyo that are free for the guests so if you are traveling alone here is a chance for you to meet some awesome people.
Myth #2: Japanese are weird.
Who is normal, really? They are the most helpful, respectful, sweet, and polite people I have ever met. I was standing not even 5 minutes on the platform when several people approached me in order to help me. Comparing to other people in the world they are the most polite, thoughtful, clean, punctual, respectful, honorable, and easy-going people I have ever came across.
Myth #3: Japan is just like the rest of “Asia”.
It is quite the opposite. Asia wishes to be Japan, literally. Let me clear your understanding of South-East Asian countries: “Asia” is smelly, loud, cheap, and noisy, dirty, has pests, and rodents everywhere. Japan is clean (wait till you see their garbage trucks!), affordable, no bad food experience, non-smelly, respectful, honest, cheerful, high techy, and just pure awesome.
Myth #4: So they are not like Asian people?
No, they are different. Japanese usually work more than from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. When they are done they go out with their colleagues for a drink and some food until the last man standing. I kid you not. They are crazy productive and become even busier when they socialize. Walk into any restaurant and you will see how they are. I haven’t seen anything like it.
Hierarchy is very important to them as well as saving face for their opponent. So please keep it in mind when arguing about something.
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Myth #5: So what do you eat besides sushi?
Since you asked: ramen, udon, soba, teriyaki, tepanaki sukiyaki, vegetable tempura, shrimp tempura, chicken sauté, calamari sauté, fish cakes, miso soup (now it sounds familiar?), and that is just from the top of my head. All of it comes in different variety, shapes, and forms. Some of it you have to be open-minded about and some is just an acquired taste. Most importantly: there is no bad meal. Japanese are perfectionists so whatever they do they do it very well. Expect great service and lots of politeness coming your way.
No one expects any tips! In fact, Japanese consider tips impolite. So keep your money to yourself, in a good way. 🙂
Myth #6: Everything in Japanese.
While majority of the places do have only Japanese menu almost all of them have plastic menu right outside the restaurant. It comes very handy to see how exactly your future meal is going to look like. When it comes to being lost: if they do not speak English they will go out of their way to help. Japan is one of the few countries in the world that one can be relaxed about being lost.
Myth #7: Sushi must be good and cheap.
Not really cheap but are good for sure! Sushi, as it turns out, must be prepared in a special way and the chef who prepares those needs to know when and which fish during what season you can eat. The whole process is tricky and expensive if you want real deal. I recommend watching “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” so you understand how complicated it is.
Edit: There is such a thing as one dollar, or 100 Yen, sushi on a conveyor belt. I know what you are thinking. It is 1000 times better than it sounds. On our last visit we were lucky to immerse ourselves in one. We ate so much that it hurt in the end.
Was that helpful? Do you want to go to Japan now? I hope you do! If there is a tip of tips that I can give to anyone is that at any opportunity one just has to visit this amazing country. Fall in love with Japan just like I did and then tell me all about it!
Have you been to Japan already? Do you have any tips about Japan? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section!