No country or society is perfect. No matter where you’re from you’ll always find things to complain about. Some of us choose to complain less than others. Others choose to complain more than some of us. Some people remarkably don’t complain at all (possibly robots).
Like other places in the world, Japan has its warts (not literally of course…countries can’t have warts since warts are of course caused by viral infections).
Japan has its frustrations and things that make you want to pull out you hair (possibly a reason why I now have very little hair at this point).
In this post I’m going to share some things Japan could possibly do better to make me as an individual happy. Of course I’m saying this because naturally any country I live in should bend over backwards to accommodate me. I’m simply that important. (Take this post with a grain of salt because it’s not written as a serious piece. It is based on some of the attitudes of some I’ve met from some other places…sometimes.)
Holy crap Japan! Is it possible to have any more of this stuff? Layer after layer of red tape seems to be a thing everywhere you go (humor aside…this can at times be a little frustrating before you learn to understand the culture). Whether its dealing with the government, your place of work, a store, a health club or even a volunteer group you’re involved in there are so many rules and “proper ways of doing things” that next to nothing ever gets done (it is common however to see next to something done)! I mean seriously folks…how do you ever plan to compete with the innovators of the west in technology and business if you’re always weighed down with so much bureaucracy.
We all know disorganized and loosey-goosey works best!
How do you expect people from other countries to feel comfortable when visiting Japan when everyone is so damn polite and helpful! I mean, I come from a culture where restaurant servers are rude and make it clear they dislike their jobs all while demanding a tip for great service. I come from a culture where if you complain about your food at a restaurant they bring it back to the kitchen, the cook spits on it, puts it back on the plate and serves it to you again. That’s my comfort zone! That’s my safe place!
When I come to Japan everyone in shops, restaurants and retail is kind, fast and effective. They help me with smiles and without question! How am I supposed to trust that? How am I supposed to feel comfortable? It’s like a series of trigger words without the words…trigger actions…is that a thing?
Some secret boogers on my undercooked burger might go a long way as opposed to polite apologies and simply fixing the problem!
Order to things
Amazing stuff. Japanese people fall into line whenever they need to wait for something. They don’t even need to be told to or yelled at. When there is a wait at a bank, a government office, a shop or food stall, people simply form a line by themselves and patiently wait without complaining. Really? How is this possible?
This type of behavior simply confuses us folks from abroad. We don’t know how to behave in these situations. Our very nature urges us to push and jostle our way to the front of the line because of course we come from “we come first” nations.” The Japanese don’t seem to understand this and almost want to force us to be orderly.
It’s simply awkward and almost unacceptable.
Japan can be a very confusing place to people who are new to it. There are many rules to learn about how to behave. The expectations are often very unique to Japan.
Some of those who come to live in Japan for extended periods of time can grow cynical. Those folks can at times complain loudly (most often in the comment sections of English-language newspapers) about these things. Ignore them and simply enjoy Japan!
Kevin O’Shea is the host of the Just Japan Podcast and the Just Japan News Podcast. He is also the guy behind JustJapanStuff. Kevin is a Canadian educator who lives in Kobe, Japan with his family.
Follow him on Twitter: @jlandkev