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