Living in Japan
Jane from GaijinOK - 06-28-2023
3 min read
The Ultimate Guide to Experiencing Life in Japan
Living in a foreign country is a transformative experience that tests us in various ways. Everything from customs to cuisine and landscapes differs from what we know back home. Initially, it can feel overwhelming and disorienting, but with time, the unfamiliar becomes familiar. You adapt and acquire customs unique to the country you reside in. In this article, we delve into the unique aspects of life in Japan and provide insights and tips to enhance your experience.
Realizing the Potency of Nature
When arriving in Japan, one might not fully comprehend the potential impact of natural disasters. While Spain is not prone to such events, Japan frequently experiences earthquakes, heavy rains, typhoons, and tsunamis. Witnessing the sheer power of these disasters firsthand instills both respect and fear for nature. Despite the existence of survival kits and safety protocols, living in Japan encourages individuals to take personal precautions. For instance, it becomes customary to avoid going out during extreme weather conditions and securing shelves with stoppers to prepare for earthquakes.
Embracing Regulations and Harmony
Japanese society places great importance on adhering to regulations to preserve harmony and prevent conflicts. From following specific boarding and exiting procedures on trains to mastering chopstick etiquette, public spaces are adorned with guidelines to delineate acceptable behavior. Initially, these regulations may seem foreign to newcomers, leading to confusion when faced with practices that contradict their own cultural norms. However, with time, individuals adapt and instinctively integrate these practices into their daily lives. From smoothly boarding and exiting trains to skillfully using chopsticks, one gradually becomes familiar with and embraces these customs.
Appreciating the Beauty of Seasons
Spain primarily experiences two seasons, summer and winter, with less emphasis on spring and fall. In contrast, Japan's four distinct seasons offer captivating cityscapes and seasonal delicacies. Winter provides opportunities for winter sports, such as snowboarding and skiing, while spring showcases the enchanting cherry blossom blooms. Summer is filled with vibrant festivals and dazzling fireworks displays, and autumn reveals picturesque foliage accompanied by traditional dishes like oden. Living in Japan nurtures a profound appreciation for the ever-changing seasons, eagerly anticipated year after year.
Cultivating Politeness and Respect
From a young age, Japanese individuals are taught the importance of politeness, expressing gratitude, and apologizing when making mistakes. These customs differ from practices in Spain, where excessive apologies may be perceived as unnecessary. Upon arriving in Japan, one may feel uncomfortable when repeatedly causing Japanese people to apologize. However, with time, individuals become accustomed to this culture of politeness and may find themselves naturally adopting these behaviors, even in casual settings such as phone conversations. Apologizing frequently and bowing become second nature as a result.
Green Tea as a Daily Ritual
Green tea holds a significant place in Japanese culture and daily life. It is not merely a beverage but an integral part of rituals and social interactions. Many Japanese individuals incorporate green tea into their daily routines, appreciating its soothing properties and cultural significance. From traditional tea ceremonies to casual tea breaks, green tea fosters a sense of tranquility and mindfulness, reflecting the essence of Japanese customs and values.