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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

Photo by cookbookman17

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”

elevator

Photo by robinsonmay

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

glasses

Photo by lunauna

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

lasttrain

Photo by Jayel Aheram

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

smokers

Photo by MShades

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

heater

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

wifi

Photo by tiseb

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

squat-toilet

Photo by Andrew Gatt

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

pepper

Photo by wrachele

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.

Bonus: AKB48

akb48

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?

  • Annie

    Seriously this is the best! Could not stop laughing. You are very funny and write super interesting things. Love this site! (just thought you should know)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=634413797 Lessa Traboco

    reading about this after reading the “coming clean” open letter. haha. romeo and juliet.

  • Ben Nichols

    This has been widely propagated and is rooted in truth, but makes it sound like all Japanese people are motivated by a negative focus of “what will people think if I do this?” This can be the case, but I know many Japanese people that act responsibly because they’re proud of their identity, country, town, etc. So they’re not all negatively motivated, there’s a positive side as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cody-Dalton/27704471 Cody Dalton

    Probably the fact you aren’t taking into consideration is population density. While the LA comparison sounds good on paper, the density of Yokohama is double that of LA. Means there’s a lot less space for those green areas (which are mostly weeds/wild plants anyways in SoCal). If you find me a city with a similar population density then we can do a little more of a fair comparison.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bbkenno Ken Havens

    I loved everything about it. The things that irritated me are minor in comparison.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bbkenno Ken Havens

    Best pop group ever Morning Musume with Yaguchi Mari.

  • Wendy

    Now I know to stay away from bacon! It has never looked appealing enough. I definitely will not miss the price of everything. BTW, the last train hit me once before I knew of alternate option (such as internet cafes) to taking a cab from Shibuya to Yokohama. With the exchange rate lower at that time, I came home Y12,000 (~$150) poorer. Something that should’ve cost me $60-75 stateside.

  • Alice

    Personally I like that the last train leaves early in Japan, because it gives me an excuse to leave early at drinking parties after work. Even on weekdays we go out drinking quite often, and it is exhausting enough to get up early to travel on the crowded train without a hangover and lack of sleep.

  • Kashii-chan

    I MISS not blowing my nose in public. Ive never liked other people seeing me blow my nose, but its kinda rude here to snort and sniff… -_-“

  • Helen Kirifides

    This was a great “what I miss and don’t miss” article i found from the blog Surviving Japan. Enjoyy. :)
    http://www.survivingnjapan.com/2013/05/what-i-miss-and-dont-miss-about-living.html

  • Saimu-san

    I’m looking forward to being asked that question, actually. But then again I’d just be glad to be communicating with a local, full stop.

  • MrsSpooky

    Yeah, I eat at a number of sushiyas around here and I usually have to ask for chopsticks. At least till I started bringing my own. :)

    Oh yeah, I should ask if it’s considered rude to bring your own chopsticks to a restaurant. I’m going in October and I want to bring mine with me. I don’t want to accidentaly insult anyone

  • Harmony Hames

    Ah, the bacon. I love that you have that listed as #1. It was the thing that bothered me there the most. I had to binge on bacon coming back. Sorry, but the other thing is the music. The Japanese music scene is not good. I also agree with Chris about the garbage cans. We would walk for blocks holding something because there was nowhere to throw it away. Lastly, all bread things being filled with questionable paste, meat, or cream. Especially bad if you are lactose intolerant and can’t read the packaging.

  • Bmm209

    I get embarrassed blowing my nose in front of people, too. I’ll rather refuse the offer of tissue and sniff the mucus instead >.<

  • shuirin

    really? there is nothing to be embarrassed about it’s a natural thing and otherwise also unhealthy
    Be more confident with who you are!

  • Bmm209

    Eh, I just can’t shake that. I also don’t like talking about any toilet/bathroom/fart jokes, they just make me uncomfortable. So does blowing my nose in front of others.

  • Andreea

    There actually isn’t anything I don’t miss from Japan. I love everything and I hate bacon anyways so the bacon doesn’t bother me. And I don’t like blowing my nose in public. I actually get out of my classroom to blow my nose because I find it awkward.

  • Sarah

    Whats wrong with Otaku?