While I definitely miss plenty of weird things about Japan, there are things I do not miss as well. While everyone has differing tastes, these are the things that I personally don’t really miss (and wish I could have while in Japan). America, you got these things right. Japan, you should takes some notes.
1. The “Bacon”
Bacon in Japan (and a lot of the world) is completely wrong. Bacon should be the most amazing thing you’ve ever eaten, and in Japan it is just another meat. It shouldn’t be slimy, floppy, or tasteless. It should feel like you will get a heart attack if you eat too much and should be everyone’s favorite food. If someone opened a (real) bacon restaurant or food stand, I think it would do pretty well. I can’t wait to get back to the land of bacon and have myself some of that magic food that keeps me from being a vegetarian.
2. Elevators aka “Murdervators”
Elevators in America are docile. You hit the close button and they don’t close. You wait and they don’t close. Then, they close very timidly. If the slightest breeze goes by, they open back up again for fear that someone will sue them and their masters. Although there are more laid back elevators in Japan, many of them are ruthless killers. The close door button works even when you’re not hitting it. I can’t even count the amount of times I felt my life was in danger from an elevator. They close fast and hard. So, don’t try to run into an elevator that’s closing if you’re not sure you’ll make it. It could grab you and drag you up into the ceiling cutting your leg off… and that’s only if it’s feeling nice that day.
3. Tiny Cups Of Water
Since beer equals water in Japan (both in taste and how much it’s consumed), water gets the boot. Water almost always comes in these tiny nearly shot-glass sized glasses, meaning that if you’re someone who likes to drink their water, you’re going to have a hard time. If you’re lucky, there’s a self serve water option. If you’re unlucky you’ll just be stuck with a lot less water than you’d normally want (or you have to keep asking).
4. The Last Train
For a country with cities as big and bustling as Tokyo, you’d think the trains would run later. For the most part, the last train is around midnight. Miss that train and you’ll have to walk, take a cab home, or stay in a capsule hotel / manga café. I guess it’s a good way to make sure people get home early. Or, perhaps it’s just not sustainable to run trains at night. Whatever the reason, it’s still pretty early if you ask me. Couldn’t the last train just be an hour or two later, please?
5. Cigarette Smoke
While smoking has taken a big curb in Japan the last couple years, there’s still a lot of indoor, poorly ventilated areas where people smoke. While I also feel sorry for smokers who have to go inside smoking boxes to smoke (that can’t be very good for anyone, right?), it would be nice to not have to deal with it in many restaurants and izakaya. That being said, the thing that really bothers me is the smell of my clothes afterwards, so I guess I can deal for the most part when I have access to a washing machine.
6. Heaters Being Too Hot
Rooms are too hot in Japan. It’s either sweltering or it’s freezing. No in-between. While you get used to it after a while, it can still be obnoxious. People up north in Japan wear too little clothes. People in the south where it’s warmer wear way too much. I’m just used to middle-of-the-road Pacific Northwest weather, so I suppose it’s really my fault, but it’s my list so I can complain about whatever I want :p
7. Lack Of Free Wifi
I’ve talked about this before. Free wifi is hard to come by in Japan. When you’re used to free wifi at just about every place you go in America, it can be painful to go to a place where free wifi is about as common as the dodo bird. I guess while places in America encourage you to stick around with free wifi if Japanese places did it they may have the opposite problem. People would stay forever and live in your coffee shop. This is why manga internet cafés exist.
8. Squat Toilets
I used to like them. They’re healthier for you, after all, right? Anyways, as I’ve gotten older and weaker, I’ve gravitated towards Japanese sit-down toilets from the year 2055. Why squat when you can have a warmed seat, water to clean your butt, and a bunch of buttons? So, when I run into a place that only has squat toilets (they’re usually dark, smelly, and freezing cold, too… coincidence?) I’m disappointed. It’s not that I can’t use them, that’s not my complaint. It’s just that they aren’t the luxury my butt deserves.
9. The Lack Of Spicy
Spicy things are too sweet. Sweet things are not sweet enough (actually, they’re just right). As a kid this was great, but as an adult who has his tastebuds burned away by time and actually spicy things, the lack of spicy stuff (in general) makes “spicy” things disappointing. It’s not that I don’t like things that aren’t spicy, it’s that when I order something that says it’s “spicy” it should be spicy, you know? Japan loves its “sweetish” umami taste.
As Tofugu’s greatest enemy and rival, AKB48 is obviously something we do not miss. One day, we will strike down AKB48 with our Fugu fist. Until that day, we will not miss them. You guys comment about them too much in our comments threads for us to miss them, anyways.
What Do You Not Miss About Japan?
Anything you don’t miss about Japan? Something you wish you had / didn’t have while you’re in Japan? Obviously all of you will say bacon whether you’re vegetarian or not, so something besides that, please. Share them in the comments! I’m curious about different countries from America as well. Like, if you’re from New Zealand do you miss the Topp Twins and Lord of The Rings?