When I landed at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport, there was a mixed feeling of excitement and anticipation for new experiences and new finds. Never did I imagine that Tokyo was this cray cray about toilets, mangas, anime and vending machines to name a few. So I came up with a list of new finds that you can call crazy, weird, fun, outrageous and interesting in Tokyo and maybe in all of Japan. If you have travelled to Japan before, you know what I mean.
Toilet, bidet and slippers
I placed this on the top of my list because I was really surprise at how the Japanese is so obsessed with clean toilets. When using the toilet, you need to use the toilet slippers. The toilet seat or called bidet in Japanese, may have a lot of buttons and may look too technical for you, but you only to push 2 buttons, one with the sprinkler drawing to wash after doing your thing and push the button to stop. The water is heated and the bidet has heating so no surprises here especially on cold days. One feature I really admire about the toilets, is that some feature a faucet at the top which you can use to wash your hands, the water then flows to the flush tank to be used when flushing. What an effective way to conserve water!
I was really confused to always find myself looking for trash bins around public parks in Tokyo. I tried to google about not finding trash bins in public places in Japan and you wont believe the results about this. Thousands! One reason is the Tokyo subway sarin attack, where 12 people died, and another reason is to prevent homeless people from rooting into the bins and leaving the trash out on the street. As a traveller, I kept my trash in my backpack while on a walking tour and just emptied out my trash when I got home. It’s mostly sandwich wrappers and coffee cups anyway. In a way, it’s an effective trash management.
The crazy commute via the interlinked train lines
The Japan trains and subways looks very complicated and will surely make you dizzy at the first glance of the map. But after you get the hang of it, you will begin to understand how it works. You just need to remember that for every train stop, you need to tap out and when you transfer to another train platform, you need to tap in your ticket again. One good thing is that the guides are also translated in English. Here is the website to download the map in pdf, http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/info/map_a4ol.pdf.
How the Japanese loves mayo so much
The japanese mayonnaise have a distinctive taste. It is sweeter and compliments a lot of food and meals in its own way. Eating french fries with japanese mayo is very different from eating your french fries from your favorite fast food chain and dipping it in Kraft mayo. I really enjoyed it! Japanese mayo is even great with grilled food!
Outrageous flavors of Kitkat
Are you a big fan of the famous chocolate wafer brand KitKat? In Japan, a lot of outrageous flavors of Kitkat are available. From wasabi, to macha, cheesecakes and even sake! It still has that trademark wafer biscuits inside but the chocolate wrapped around comes in assorted flavors distinct to Japan flavor like wasabi and sake. And its packed in pretty boxes too!
Wide selection of vending machines
Forgot anything at home? Ran out of your favorite brand of cigarettes and have that urge to smoke at 3AM? Don’t fret. Just walk around the streets of Tokyo or anywhere in Japan and you will find it being sold on a vending machine. Ever saw a vending machine that sell cup noodles? You can find it in Japan!
Claustrophobic capsule hotels
Maybe you’ve heard or read about this popular capsule hotels in Japan. Capsule hotels was conceived with the business professionals who lived in the outskirts of Tokyo in mind. Capsule hotels provides cheap accommodation with free use of their common bathrooms and toilets, mini kitchen and common workspace with wifi for the professionals who had to work late at night. It is called capsule hotels because your bedding to sleep is constructed like a pod where you climb in to sleep. It is comfortable and you have a small tv monitor for entertainment that you can fold in when you don’t want to use it. In Shibuya area, there is a newly opened capsule hotels for ladies with gorgeous baths. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1TbiOI7RGs
Make way for the world’s shortest escalator
You will find the world’s shortest escalator at More’s Department Store in Kawasaki in central Tokyo. The escalator only have 5 steps and only goes down. More’s Department Store is located across the JR Kawasaki station and the escalator can be found in the basement, near the exit to the parking area. Here’s a link of the youtube video I found. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RJzV97pnxU
Anime is multi million dollar industry here in Japan. If other countries have their own tele novela or soap opera, the Japanese have their anime. Anime characters are sold in all kinds of products. Everywhere you go, you can find shop houses that sell anime products, apparel, food, school items and even cup noodles. Pikachu cup noodles, anyone?
Manga Cafes (Manga Kissa)
Mangas are comic books in Japan and Kissa are tea shops. So Manga Kissa in effect is a Japanese tea house that offers wide array titles of manga. But not only that, it also offers cheap sleeping accommodations which is another option to the budget traveller. Manga Kissa are usually found near the train stations and usually have large tarpaulin posters of famous manga characters. They also charge by the hour and also includes the use of computers with internet, much like the internet cafe. The Japanese have converted some of the popular novels to manga. Even the all time favorite Les Miserables has its manga version.
My favorite novel, movie and play of all time. Now in manga. #wheninjapan #japaneseculture #manga #lesmiserablés A photo posted by carla abanes (@justtravellingsolo) on
Travelling to Tokyo, Japan opened my mind to new and outrageous and sometimes unbelievable experience. It was an experience that I would sum up in one Japanese word, “soberashi” (wonderful). One that would remain with me for a long, long time. And yes, I am going back to visit again soon! If you do decide to move to Tokyo and will need help with international moving, click here for free quotes.
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