My thoughts after coming back from Europe for the first time: 5 little reasons why living in Tokyo is awesome.

Long time no update! It has been a very busy last few weeks, partly because I was traveling across Europe. I actually went outside, lived life, and didn’t touch a computer or watch TV the whole time. I’m basically a whole new Johanna.

It's the little things in life.

It’s the little things in life.

Anyway, spending time outside of Japan is always good for reminding you of the reasons why you like living here despite it’s various foibles. I’m feeling pretty refreshed, so here is my quick list of why Tokyo is an awesome place to call home.

1. Trains are on time and easy to understand. (Germany, I’m looking at you when I’m writing this.) Most places in Tokyo will have coloured AND numbered diagrams for the subway and train lines, so figuring out how to get from A to B is not a huge ordeal. There are also usually station employees around to ask questions, and they will probably give you the right answer. (Again, Germany I’m looking at you.) If a train is cancelled, then expect to be showered in apologies. (Hi Germany, remember me?)

写真

The red face in distress needs to have a more exasperated look in order to be more accurate, in my humble opinion.

2. 24 hour convince stores. Want 200 mL of milk at 2am, BAM. No big deal. Need to withdraw cash, buy a specific flavour of green tea, then pay your water bill? DONE. The more places I go to, the more I realise how unique these 24 hour beacons of convenience truly are.

写真 5

Not a Family Mart for miles. Sure, maintaining several hundred years of beauty is fine and all, but can you truly call that living?!

3. FREE toilets. I was prepared to pay for the bathrooms, but you have to drop .50 to 1.00 euro to use the facilities even in department stores and some bars (and that is just asking for trouble.) The toilets in Japan still reign an unwavering first place in my heart.

Toilets are one of the main reasons we can have civilization people.

Toilets are one of the main reasons we can have civilization people.

4. Very specific portion sizes. We tried to cook at home a few times when we were traveling, but it is hard to buy groceries for just 1 meal. Japanese supermarkets usually sell 食べ切り (tabekiri, eat up in one go) size selections of cheese, vegetables, meat, etc, so I was faced with figuring out how to deal with leftovers. I cannot eat 300 grams of cheese in one sitting. Total first world problem, but if you are just cooking for 2 people who only eat at home half of the time, excess food tends to go to waste more often than not. **Nerd Alert** I understand that the unit price will increase with the purchase of smaller portions, but I really hate wasting food and am willing to pay a “premium” just for the portion I need in most circumstances.

If you have excess cheese then you should pair it with excess wine.

If you have excess cheese then you should pair it with excess wine.

5. Your stuff will almost never be outright stolen, and lost items are highly likely to be returned in the condition it was found.

Everyone and everyTHING is apparently out to get your wallet. Stay on your toes.

Outside of Japan everyONE and everyTHING is apparently out to get your wallet. Stay on your toes.

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11 thoughts on “My thoughts after coming back from Europe for the first time: 5 little reasons why living in Tokyo is awesome.

    • Johanna says:

      I had that image, but it was the only place that consistently gave us problems when moving around. I think ICE or something was in the middle of a strike (someone in Amsterdam told us), but all the trains to the airport from Frankfurt, for example, were cancelled with no notice. They would show up on the board, then go away 2-3 minutes before the arrival. That would never fly in Tokyo.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Camille Moï Moï says:

    I agree with everything, except the portion size part because it’s inconvenient when you travel but not relevant when you leave there.
    And, the toilet issue! Yes, yes and YES! Seriously?! do you want people to pee on the street? Because that’s how you get people peeing on the street >.<

    Did you really have to pay to use the bathroom in bars when you had ordered something?

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  2. Michael says:

    Well, each place is different than the other. I guess once we’ve been somewhere for a while we get used to things the way they are – its called “comfort zone” for a reason.

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    • Johanna says:

      Yeah, I agree. I think I was able to see the various reasons why I like living here a bit clearer after spending some time away. Even though Japan isn’t my “home country” it is my home at the moment, and sometimes it is hard to appreciate what you have 🙂

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  3. David LaSpina (@dbooster) says:

    Agreed with all, but no. 5 should be amended to say “Except bicycles”. In my experience, iPhones, iPads, wallets, laptops left at a seat when going to the toilet or forgotten will be untouched even hours later, but bicycles with up to and including two locks on them will be stolen.

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    • Johanna says:

      Yeah… bicycles and umbrellas are not going to come back. I think the umbrella stands outside of convenience stores are like “take a penny leave a penny” trays of Japan.

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  4. sakimi says:

    As a German national (on paper), I humbly apologize for the train wreck called the German National Railways. German public has been very unsatisfied with the provided (non)existant service for years, but be it old structures, governmental disinterest or just a bit more time needed, alas the chaos prevails.

    I do have to say, I admire the German Railways for including actual smily buttons in their costumer service feedback station, haha!

    Nonetheless, I hop you had a nice trip anyways.

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    • Johanna says:

      I was surprised because I always had the image that Germany had something similar to the Japan Railways. Everything else there was fantastic, but getting around was relatively difficult. The subways to the airport weren’t coming, despite the fact it was show on the announcement board to be arrive soon. Local people even couldn’t explain what was going on. I hope the strike (I’m assuming that is what was going on?) ends soon!

      Like

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