8 experiences we had in Japan

Japan is definitely an interesting place to go, and a place that still awaits loads for us to explore in the future. People were always extremely friendly, even if their English was limited. Since we didn’t stay at a hostel, we also got an insight into how people live in Japan. We definitely also had interesting experiences and things we noticed along the way. Here are a few of them.

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1- We tried sake. The first evening, Masako’s parents dished out little tasters of various japanese food. I can’t remember the name of any of it, but I remember there was cheese, spicy mackerel, fried eel sushi, and some kind of vegetables too. Along with it we had sake. Apparently you can have warm or cold sake, and we got to try the warm one. Not sure what to expect, but it was nice. Milder than some of the schnaps that you drink in Denmark at least.

2 – Techie toilets in Japan. Don’t know about you, but we have always heard about those fancy techie toilets in Japan. So of course this was also something we were curious about. The first time I stepped into a toilet and saw all the buttons, I felt confused. You’re just staring at the buttons thinking “but I just want to flush”. Then I realised that you can flush like the toilet back home. We soon got an idea of the different buttons, though of course not all toilets are alike. We enjoyed the heat in the toilet seat (okay, the first time it was a bit strange), especially early in the morning when it was still a bit chilly. We also noticed that public toilets had a button that you could press for sound, of course we tried this. It made a water sound (varied a bit), that probably was meant to drown the noise you made on the toilet. This background water noise in public toilets goes for the squat one too. I was surprised when I suddenly heard the water sound. It had a sensor, that started the noise. That was the top, a high-tech primitive toilet !

3 – Dinner for breakfast. We usual eat cereal or bread for breakfast. It was something suddenly eating hot meals. We’ve had hotdogs, pizza, rice and curry for breakfast, though also toast and eggs a few time. We also tried some of their desserts, including one with some bean paste. Fruit and vegetables is not something they eat in the same quantity that we’re used to, but we still got some. Of course we used chopsticks when eating most of the time. Their chopsticks are better than the ones we have at home, for getting hold of rice.

4 – Japanese TV. Japanese TV is like nothing we have experienced before. Shows with loads of funny youtube videos, game shows, or news, they all seem to have the writing in neon-colours. All the TV we saw also seemed to include comments/expressions by guests. They also have a show were they hang out in the airport and talk to people arriving. Wanting to know why they’re in Japan and where they’re from. They then follow some of these people around on their journey. One of the times it was two Danish guys, and they followed them as they travelling around, randomly finding a page in their guidebook and going there.

5 – Green tea everything. Green tea seems to be the tea to drink. If you go to get sushi, you will automatically also be able to get green tea. We started almost every morning with green tea or coffee. Just like you could buy all kinds of things with cherry blossom flavour (which we mentioned in a previous post), the same went for green tea. It almost seemed like there was no limit. Ice cream, chocolate (such as kitkat bars) and baked goods. We tried a lot of them, but we would probably stick to the tea, or maybe the ice cream too.

6 – Selfies the japanese way. So it is not just selfies, but photos in general. Doing the peace-sign while taking photos seems to be a big thing in Japan. Though it is not just the young people who do it. We were at the Big Buddha in Kamakura where a family were taking a photo together. Even the grandmother did it. We saw little kids do it. It seems like it is the way, so of course we also took some photos doing peace-sign while we were in the country.

7 – Wrapped in scarfs. While we tend to just use those little scarfs more as a fashion accessory than anything else, japanese actually use them in a practical and creative manner. We saw on numerous occasions how one was used to wrap a couple of books or lunch-pack so it was easier to carry. They can even be really creative about it and have very cute ones, which we saw in a shop.

8 – Deciphering maps. We were surprised walking around Tokyo, how some signs and maps are only written in Japanese signs. We were walking around Tokyo, and sometimes bumping into maps over the part of the city we were in. We would use these to figure out where we were sometimes, like we’ve done in other cities when travelling. However, here they often tended to be only in Japanese signs. Maybe a bit naively, we thought it would be more tourist-minded, since it is a big city. We did tend to have written down in both Japanese and English where we were going. It allowed us to look at the maps and compare signs until we found the right place. We also soon memorized what signs to look for to find our stop on the metro.

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