Going to Japan is an experience in itself. Coming from New Zealand, apart from India, Japan was probably the most interesting place I have been to with so much going on and so many things I was unfamiliar with. I have to say it was a wonderful experience!
1. In Japan there is one vending machine to 23 people. There are about 127 million people in Japan. That means there are 5 million vending machines which is also more than the population of New Zealand. Woooooow! Before I visited Japan, I thought of vending machines to be where you can buy cigarettes, toys or sweets. Well, there is ALOT of toy vending machines here. I managed to grab myself a weird cat looking gadget that actually stands my phone up for whatever reason. But, what if I told you can buy hot food, hot drinks, cars, eggs and even lettuce in a vending machine?! What about if you ran out of underwear? There’s no need to freak out because there is a vending machine that sells them! Cups of noodles to waffles , you may never have to talk to a person again.
2. Catching the train from the airport to the metro station near our hostel, it became clear the Japanese can easily sleep wherever. But hang on, 50% of these people are standing up! One day we were on the metro and EVERYONE was asleep around us. Sitting down, standing up it didn’t matter. I’m great for falling asleep on public transport but standing up? That takes skill so kudos to you Japan!
3. Fake food everywhere. Using fake food to advertise their menu is quite a genius idea when you think about it. Outside the restaurants, they have the (fake) dishes in a glass cabinet so you could see what your buying. Where do they get these from? From the shops that only sell fake food on kitchen street in Asakusa of course! I even found a few dishes that actually move. It was the best thing I have ever seen!
4. Always wait for the green light to walk across the road even on a street where there are no cars going through at all. In my country, I would happily J-walk especially if it’s just down a little side road. In Japan, this is highly illegal so people would rather wait a minute when there are absolutely no cars in sight, than to cross the road on a red light.
Gambling or Pachinko. Oh my gosh. I have never walked into a place so loud that my eardrums were ringing afterwards. Pachinko is like gambling but without money involved. As gambling is highly illegal here, you buy little metal balls at the counter and use the balls to gamble. If you win you get tokens back that you can cash in. So basically it’s gambling but they have found a round-about way of doing it legally.
6. The toilets play music and you can choose the option for a warm toilet seat. Also never ever (if you’re a woman) press the man toilet option. Let’s just say high water pressure won’t sit well with the ladies. The toilets are an experience for anyone. You will never want to use another western toilet again, you must experience these masterpieces of technology!
7. There are water bottles randomly sitting outside houses and shops. I was wondering for ages why people had big bottles of water sitting outside their houses and on the pavement. Apparently, they have a big problem with cats so this is supposed to scare them away with the reflections of the bottles. Now, I’m not really sure if this works as I think cats are seriously smarter than that but what do I know!
8. There are rodeo machines everywhere. Just in case you need to practice for all those bull riding competitions that are coming up on your calendar. The hostel I was staying at had one of these randomly in the lounge along with a couple of really awful massage chairs which did more harm than good!
Tell me below what interesting and unusual things you found out about a country you went to. I would love to know in the comments below! Need accommodation in the Japan? I highly suggest you take a look at Agoda or Hotels.com. I highly recommend them!