3 Things, The Average Japanese Guidebook Won’t Tell You

  • With many stereotypes and possible misleading ideas being featured in several guides about Japan, also with the several exported Japanese traditions, such as taking off your shoes and slurping when eating noodle soups, there is still a universe to cover when it comes to advising foreigners on how to behave, or rather how the Japanese behave differently and what to expect from that extremely exotic country of the rising sun. However, today, I choose to let you see some different sides of the Japanese culture. Here are three things, that you will not find in the average guide about Japan.

    1. Japanese people do show their emotions

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    This is a rather difficult topic since it all depends on how people understand some specific customs and decode social signs. Basically, Japanese people do show their emotions. If they are unhappy, they might frown a bit. If they are happy of course they will broadly smile. While strong and negative emotions, on the contrary, are most of the times well hidden, on a regular basis Japanese do not get angry easily and are extremely patient. Therefore, there is no need to hide a negative emotion since there is (often) none!

    2. Japan is technologically much more advanced than most guides will tell you

    (FILES) This file picture, taken on August 3, 2009 shows Japan's robotics venture Cyberdyne employees wearing the robot-suit "HAL" (Hybrid Assistive Limb) as they walk on a street in Tokyo for a demonstration. HAL was given a global safety certification on February 27, 2013, paving the way for the nation's cutting-edge human robotic technology worldwide. The certificate was given based on a draft version of ISO 13482, the first global safety standard for personal robots.    AFP PHOTO / FILES / Yoshikazu TSUNO

    It is not just only about the taxi door, that opens automatically; or only the vending machines ‘for everything’, having a display and being able to talk, or the talking ticket vending machines; the escalators, elevators, anything whether humanoid or not; it is about all the small details that are everywhere; a remote control for the ceiling light; a bathroom display that can send signals to other rooms, once the bathtub is filled up; the bathroom, that can function as a laundry dryer in apartments, that do not have a balcony to hang up laundry, etc. It is about the small gadgets, that make your life easier, no matter if electronic, or not. The urge for convenience has motivated so many inventors, that will be amazing foreign visitors on a daily basis.

    3. Regular cosmetics and drugstore items are pricey

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    If you just want to buy liquid soap or shampoo, there are only a few options below 200¥ (1,60 USD / 1,40 EUR). The same goes for makeup and grooming products for dapper lads. So you might want to bring your own if you plan on staying for long.