Day 1 Observations (Part II)

Obviously, it’s not Day 1 anymore, but I wanted to continue the theme of the previous post with a few more of the biggest differences that I’ve noticed.

5. Inkan

On Sunday, I was told to run over to the train station and have one of these made for me. It’s a little stamp that you use as a signature when you formalize documents over here.


6. Waste Disposal

Unlike in Atlanta, the waste separation system is not (ahem) absolute garbage. Recyclables and trash items are separated out into many different categories, and they are picked up at different times so you don’t feel like waste management companies are throwing all of your carefully-sorted trash into the same bin, bound for the landfill.


Complex, isn’t it?

As much as this is going to be a pain, I appreciate that an effort is being made. I will say, my friends in Brooklyn like 3 different trash cans as well, so I’m sure this isn’t a strictly Japanese thing…but it’s definitely not happening in the South.

(I’m glad I took that trip to New York last weekend because it has been a really important reference point.)

7. No Tipping

This one doesn’t need any explanation, does it?

Many restaurants add a service charge to your check, but “tipping” as far as voluntarily adding a self-determined amount to the total bill is not a thing.

Thanks, Tita Baby, for reminding me!

8. Sunrise

I didn’t expect these posts to roll out so quickly, but I guess that’s what happens when the sky starts to brighten at 4:00 in the morning. Seriously, the sun has fully risen at 4:45am, and I don’t love it.

What should I do with all this extra time when I run out of ideas to blog about? Maybe I could get buff? Hm…

9. Toilets

I saved this for last, but I’m disappointed in myself for not using it as #1 on Sunday’s post. This was actually the very first difference that I noticed when I stepped off the plane!

I had been in the air for 14 hours, and I was confined to my seat by “moderate to severe turbulence” for the final hour+ of that journey, so I was on a MISSION as I searched for the bathroom. When I found it, the first stall I opened was one of those holes in the ground. It looked pretty clean, and it looked pretty new…but it was still a hole in the ground. I decided it was a challenge for another day and turned to try a different stall.

The next toilet was a western style toilet but completely upgraded with way more buttons than a toilet has any business having. It even had heated seats! (Which I can tell you right now is NOT a welcome feeling in a public restroom if you’re not anticipating it.)


Luckily, the flush was automatic, so I didn’t have to mess with any of that.

I’d like to make a comment about how finding both types of toilets in a single bathroom is a cheeky metaphor for Japan managing to hold onto traditional values in the face of Westernization…but that would be far beyond a Day 1 observation, wouldn’t it?

P.S. I also noticed that I haven’t seen a lot of free wi-fi in the restaurants nearby, but I’m not confident whether this is a difference or I’m just too foreign to understand how to get the passwords. So it stays off the list.

P.S.S. As a one-time advertising major, I feel it’s my duty to point out that I should combine this post with the previous one. Then, I should add a final point (the language, duh) to make it an even Top 10 list. I’m not going to do that, but I just want to put it out there that I know I could.

7 thoughts on “Day 1 Observations (Part II)

  1. Getting more interesting to know more differences living in Japan. Knowing you, you can easily get used to it. Yes, tipping is a good thing! Please keep us updated. You are a great writer! Love you!


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