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”


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”


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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?

  • Paula Allen

    The only things I ever miss when I’m there are paper towels in the bathrooms!

  • Justin

    I like the last train. Its everybody all in for the fun or go home at 12. Much more fun that way in my opinion.

  • André Marcel Nagae

    “One day, we will strike down AKB48 with our Fugu fist”
    I am with you guys!! By the way, nice post!

  • K8

    Pizza. Japan seems to really struggle to get pizza right; I prefer mine thin and crispy with gourmet toppings, while my boyfriend like his deep and cakey with nothing more adventurous than cheese on it. A yet both of us were disappointed…. how can this be!?

  • zoomingjapan

    I enjoyed this just as much as the last entry! :)

    As I still live in Japan for me it’s a “what I would miss about Japan”!
    I agree with some of your points. And some I just don’t care about like the bacon one. *g*

    I hate the bad insulation. Right now I’m sitting in my Japanese apartment and it’s so freezing cold despite a heater AND the A/C heating function AND a hot water bottle AND three blankets!

    Squat toilets. At first I hated them, but you know what? After a few years in Japan I not only got used to them, but I sometimes even prefer them!!!!! (O__O”) ….
    I guess that goes in the category “When do you know that you’ve been in Japan for too long!” *g*

    The lack of free WiFi has been a big issue. In the end I decided to get a smartphone despite the high rates here in Japan.

    It’s really not that bad here in Japan – most of the time!
    I was annoyed much more back home in Germany!
    However, in some restaurants it’s still really, really bad! :(

    I hate, hate, hate spicy food! So I’m glad Japanese dishes aren’t spicy. I can handle wasabi, but not any chilly spiceness (like kimchi or Mexican food …).

    AKB4854839329???? What’s that?

    I wish I didn’t know, but I do ….. (-___-”) ….

  • HongVan

    I should have show some sympathy but I can’t help laughing about the “murdervators”. I got to admit the lack of free wifi and the lack of spicy are pretty hard to deal with.

  • Jack Toner

    10 Things I do not miss about Japan.

    1) Otaku
    2) Natto
    3) Morning Musume
    4) Squat Toilets
    5) Crazy miniskirt, exposed balls guy in Shibuya
    6) Snake ice cream.
    7) non existence of sarcasm
    8) Kabukicho
    9) Sushi

    10) Where is the goddam turkey.

  • Emily Jane

    Totally agree with all of these!! Especially the elevators – I had so many incidences of getting myself and my suitcase stuck in the lift doors and ended up feeling like the clumsy gaijin – yet again!

  • elizabethhoney

    ahahaha butt warmer toilets. arghh can’t wait for my trip to japan this summer!!

  • Ginger

    The squat toilets! I had to use one at a park. It was the most uncomfortable I’ve ever been in a bathroom.

  • shadowmonk

    YES!!! that was so aggravating. At least put one of those Mitsubishi/Dyson hand dryers in there, those were cool.

  • Emily Jane

    What about pillows filled with rock hard beans? I actually lugged my own soft fluffy pillow round for 3 weeks to avoid these disgraceful creations. I have to admit I wasn’t too keen on the noodle slurping, I know it’s polite to do it in Japan, but it put me right off my noodles having to listen to a cacophony of slurping all around me >.<

  • shadowmonk

    The last train was obnoxious, but I spent a few nights out with some friends (not all night, but most of it) until the first train came along. It was a great way to just talk and hang out, even if it was freezing cold.

  • Emily Jane

    oh and the raw octopus in slime with wasabi and chilli wasn’t great either. Apart from those things, Japan is awesome.

  • Emily Jane

    ha! Number 5 made me laugh out loud!!!

  • testyal1

    I hate bacon.

    I know, sue me.

  • Marek

    I didn’t even try to order one as they are so ridiculously expensive. Incredible how much they want for some dough, cheese and tomatoes.


    Squat toilets wouldn’t be so bad if they had a little handle for Westerners to hold on to. Our feeble thighs did not evolve to hold that position for more than 5 seconds.

  • missingno15

    Too bad we are completely opposite in that last item there Koichi

  • missingno15

    Too bad I don’t agree with that last one there Koichi.

  • Ross Gardiner

    The only thing I don’t miss about Japan is the music. Everything else is awesome. J-pop would make a very effective torture device.

  • Lisa

    The reason why the subway doesn’t run at night is that the yakuza control the taxi companies, and they are powerful. They would lose a lot of money if people were able to take a train home, so they’re working hard at keeping the subway closed at night.

  • Andrea Williams

    These are all right on the money. Re: the bonus, I’d include almost all pop idol groups. The ultra-contrived poses on posters and magazine covers everywhere: shudder.

    As for the last train, I say you haven’t really lived until you’ve sprinted into Hankyu Umeda station to the frantic strains of “The Third Man”.

  • Ashley Haley


  • Ashley Haley

    Funny – Japanese pizza’s one of the things I actually miss!

  • eggdude9

    It’s ok, me too.

  • Julia

    Agree about the bacon. My friend and I were visiting Thailand during a holiday from our Japan jobs and we were SO EXCITED to have real bacon. Sooooo good!

  • Drew Harris

    I don’t miss the lack of Mexican cooking/restaurants. You can’t find a tortilla anywhere, so forget about wraps! I miss those foods whenever I go to Japan

  • I Eat My Pigeon

    Good question! I’m totally with you on the squat toilets, cigarette smoke, and last train!

    I add:

    1) the “cheese”. what the hell!

    2) the scourge of key money
    3) “can you eat raw fish/use chopsticks?”
    4) what? no dandruff shampoo?

  • David Oty

    I need to not focus on these things,
    Have to keep myself encouraged.

  • Margaret TOronto

    What I do not miss? The fact that it is considered rude to blow your nose in public and instead, the “polite” action is to sniff/snort the mucus up and swallow every 2 minutes. DIsgusting.

  • Kevin Rooney

    They exist, I have had ‘Mexican’ in Osaka. I was really not impressed. My taco ended up being bean paste in a tortilla. 3 for 1,200 yen.

  • Girl Named Leo

    1. Tacos, mexican food – anything spicy. There is no mexican food in Japan, and I come from mexico-land in the US. D: No more enchiladas? WHAT?

    2. I think I would miss eye contact. I know that sounds weird, but, like, no one looks at anyone ever. Kind of cold.

    3. The sun rises earlier in Japan, I swear I was woken up every day at 5:30 by the sun in my room.

    4. I am a 5’9″ 145 pound girl. No clothes fit me.

    5. Tiny tiny roads. I was lucky enough to be driven around when I was there, and I was always terrified of how small the lanes were. The mirrors on every corner was nice though.

    6. Also, having to park backwards everywhere you go. I didn’t drive, again, but I would hate having to park in Japan.

    7. I miss big open malls, not just stacked up stores. But hey.

    That’s all I could think of. >> I love Japan.

  • Luke Hero

    I’m from the UK.
    The train deal is pretty much the same in London (Tube).

    I also don’t miss not having Wifi, especially when I’m in a foreign country so I can’t use my mobile internet.

    I have tattoos on my arms so it’s nice to be back somewhere where its the norm, felt a little uncomfortable in restaurants over there.

  • 古戸ヱリカ

    To strike down AKB48 would incur the wrath of SKE48, TYB48, and pretty much every other idol group cashing in on their popularity. No, to fight the 48, you must become the 48. I propose you form an army: TFG48!

    I’d volunteer to train the troops in the art of staying alive, but I’m not sure I’d qualify. Not after that incident with the apartment.

  • Joel Alexander

    Really? Didn’t see that coming at all…

  • Joel Alexander

    I hadn’t heard anything about the yakuza being involved (possibly because I read about it in a guidebook or textbook, perhaps) but otherwise that’s exactly the reason for the trains stopping.

  • Joel Alexander

    Wow, no free WiFi. First-world problem, much? =P

    Just think: five years ago, and you wouldn’t even have noticed.

    But yeah, I have noticed that the squat toilets tend to be the squalid toilets too…

    I miss the decent trains. Aside from the punctuality and general awesomeness, here in Sydney, they’re only just starting to trial a smart card ticket after years and millions of dollars of development. It’s like, why? Just buy a Suica card or an Oyster card and reverse-engineer it. =P

  • Leslie

    I do not miss:

    1. Hauling kerosene up four flights of stairs so I can heat just one room.

    2. 7:00 am, noon, and 6:00 pm town announcements. Guess this happens when you live way out in the inaka.

    3. Japanese hornets, centipedes, bird-eating spiders and venomous snakes (I’m a Western Washington gal, and the size of the bugs there freaked me out)

  • orangedude

    *pushes little sister out of the way* I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE!

  • クリス

    The lack of public bins on the street!

  • Guest

    The “myki” card they have in Melbourne apparently cost >$1billion dollars to develop and implement. Definitely hasn’t got anything on the Suica – Barely even works!

  • Jesse Cadd

    That it’s considered rude to eat while walking. I do it anyway sometimes, but I don’t like feeling like I’m doing something taboo.

  • Drew

    Being autistic and all, I would love number 2.

  • shiro

    Oh, god, the “Can you use chopsticks?” drives. me. nuts.

    For the most part whatever, I know they’re just trying to make polite conversation. But I especially love the “Wow! You can use chopsticks!” after I just finish telling them that I’ve been in Japan for YEARS. How hard a skill do you think this is to acquire, people?!

  • Lawrence McClurkin

    I’ts not authentic old school Mexican but the Chili-Dining Tex Mex restaurant in Fukuoka was pretty good when I ate there.

  • Latrice

    I don’t miss:

    1. Not being able to find clothes and shoes because of my height.
    2. Being squished into train cars.
    3. The overly padded bras.
    4. SMOKING! Man it was everywhere!
    5. ATMs that closes early and on holidays.
    6. People wanting to touch or pull on my hair.
    7. Humidity in Tokyo.
    8. Being an English teach, LOL!

  • tinibee

    I miss Mexican food. I’ve eaten at Pancho Villa near Tokyo. It was okay, but pricey. I need a taco truck! I also wish I didn’t have to wash my garbage and sort it like crazy. I try my best to clean and sort my garbage, but live in fear of the gomi police putting the dreaded yellow sticker on it…

  • capybara_cafe

    Business men who sit with their legs spread wide, taking up 3 seats on the most crowded train of the day.

  • Pappito Papa

    Haha I am living in new Zealand and I really don’t miss LOTR :) but we forgive Peter Jackson as he put NZ on to movie map. Despite LOTR we have great bacon, better than the american one :) nice post, thanks

  • Chris Taran

    Funny, I think the same thing about sushi in the US! “They want how much for a thin slice of raw fish on some rice?!”

  • MrsSpooky

    I’m going to be in Japan in October. None of this exactly thrills me either, but I doubt I’ll be partaking in any of it (thanks for the warning about the elevators!). I doubt I could even “go” in one of those squat toilets – I’m sure to get it all over my clothes then I would look (and smell) like a derelict foreigner roaming the streets. We had an elevator like that in the building I worked in when I was still driving to work. I nicknamed it “Jaws.” The thing used to break down between floors on a regular basis, invariably trapping someone inside. Yep, we’d hear the alarm button pressed and we’d laugh, “Jaws caught another one!”

    I’m not a big eater, so I doubt I’m going to worry much about the food, but I DO like it really spicy. Oh well. :) I still can’t wait.

  • MrsSpooky

    It’s not, but you have to want to learn and you have to practice it. I have a friend who’s in her 80’s. Her father was Chinese and used to be a chef (Cantonese). He never taught any of his kids how to use chopsticks, something she’s still ticked off about. I try to teach her, but she needs to practice. I learned when I was 19 when a Korean guy taught me.

  • dekinai

    being a tourist with no cell phone for 3 months, the lack of wifi was rough occasionally.
    i spent way too much time being freaked out about people being freaked out by the tattoos i couldn’t hide in the summer.
    speaking of tattoos, the couple of times i managed to go to an onsen i was completely unable to relax because i pretty much had to ninja my way through, trying to keep my chest and left upper arm out of view. that said, it kept my mind off the freakiness of just being naked and gaijin around strangers

  • MrsSpooky

    I smoke and I hate being in smoke-filled rooms. I don’t even smoke in my house, but I live in Florida, so it’s pretty easy to just go outside when I feel the need to burn one.

  • dekinai

    i think there was a recent article on here that mentioned how people that go out at night tend to leave very late, near the last train, and just stay out all night anyway. maybe it’s just part of the whole rhythm of night life there – unlike here, where all the bars close by 2 am (the subway stops at 12:30 here too) and very few clubs in the entire city are ‘open’ later.

  • dekinai

    i definitely missed good, affordable cheese. and good beer. was probably better off without them, though

  • linguarum

    Lack of trees! Even a big city in the U.S., if you get up high and look over it, you’ll see almost nothing but trees. Big cities in Japan, it’s just the opposite – occasionally you can find a small tree in a cutout in the concrete. Talk about pave paradise and put up a parking lot. Take all the trees, put ’em in a tree museum, Charge the people – You know, they actually do charge for the pretty parks.

    And the buildings are mostly gray, cinder-block, boring and depressing, with lots of power lines everywhere. Could someone please plant some trees, arrange some flowers, or at least make public places look more inviting?

  • innadee

    AKB48 and its sister groups should die in a fire.

  • Justin Savage

    Maybe it’s different in Kansai, but I never noticed that problem. Or maybe I was flying my gaijin flag too high. But I used to eat and walk all over the place in Osaka with my wife and she never said it was rude.

  • Jason

    One yen coins. Totally useless.

  • shadowmonk

    What’s funny though is that the streets still look better than most streets in the states. Doesn’t make sense at al.

  • shadowmonk

    It is lovely when if you miss a train, you can just drink your problems away in the izakaya by the station that closes at 5am, which just happens to be just before the first train.

  • shadowmonk

    I agree, there wasn’t the stigma in Kansai while I lived there last year. I didn’t really notice it too much in Tokyo when I visited, we had some food in the China town in Yokohama on the street, but they were selling it on the street too so I guess it was alright there.

  • shadowmonk

    what do you mean, Jpop doesn’t play in Japan. Every place I went to was playing Kelly Clarkson or some other American artist. I was actually excited when we found a restaurant or store that played anything Asian.

  • shadowmonk

    I’m surprised they let you in at all with tattoos, considering the yakuza implications. But I guess times are changing and even normal Japanese are getting them, so the onsen will have to gradually change.

  • shadowmonk

    take some hot sauce if you like spicy. Because when you ask for REALLY SPICY, they give you something that just tickles the tongue. But it really impresses the Japanese when you ask for it.

  • MrsSpooky

    Good to know, thanks! Heh, I ate at a Chinese restaurant once with a friend (in the US of course), and asked for my spicy dish to be REALLY spicy. While my friend and I were talking, our eyes and noses started running, it was like someone set off tear gas in the restaurant. It was my dinner. The cook came out to watch me eat it, and asked if it was spicy enough. It was, but nothing drastic. Spiciest thing I ever ate was this pad thai I had at a local restaurant. Waitress asked if I wanted it hot (spicy) and I said yes. They loaded it up with chili peppers. I was sweating bullets. Nose and eyes running, heck even my EARS were running. It was GOOD!

  • zoomingjapan

    Oh yes!! I wish there were shoes in my size here! :( ….

    I usually never have issues with trains. I guess it depends on where you live. I drive by car to work and the years before that I went to work by bicycle.

    Will NOT miss all the humidity and NEITHER will I ever miss all the creepy insects:

  • zoomingjapan

    Clothes are ok most of the time, but my shoe size doesn’t exist in Japan …

    I could buy ugly men shoes … but I don’t want to!

    I hate parking backwards and I never do! You don’t HAVE to! It’s just what almost everybody does. ;)

  • zoomingjapan

    I love natto! I’m so going to miss it if I ever leave Japan! ;___;

  • zoomingjapan

    Oh, yes! The “Can you eat natto / raw fish / use chopsticks”

    And also the: “Wow, your Japanese is sooooooooooooooooo good!!!” – after just a mere “arigato” ….

    I also won’t miss being stared at.

  • zoomingjapan

    I hear you! I hate, hate, hate those freaking insects! :(

  • Aya


  • JonLee

    the lack of fresh salad, esp. in Tokyo. Vegetables always seem to be pickled, fried, cooked. It’s hard to get a regular salad. And when you do it’s a tiny little bowl with a few pieces of lettuce and a slice of tomato and carrot. The areas outside the big cities (I’m looking at you, lovely Kanagawa) are less stingy with their raw veggies.

    Also, pizza. and chicken. why are you so expensive? and supermarket fruit? why are you so expensive, too? I don’t want to give you as a gift, I want you in my tummy. why do strawberries cost 50Y each?

    Also, movies. seating arrangements and charging like 2500Y per person? really?

    and just cause I’m white, I go into a restaurant, ask for a table, ask for the list of specials, ask for a beer. always in Japanese. and then the waitress gives me an english menu. condescending much? I’ve lived in Japan for 7 years, I think my Japanese is pretty good, people stopped looking at me with confused faces when I talk to them quite a few years ago.

    annnnd, that’s about it. I concur with Koichi about all of this points.

    Now, the things I don’t miss about North America, that could fill an encyclopedia series.

  • shuirin

    I asked one of my teachers here in Japan and she said it’s not rude, they just don’t like the sound (like at the toilett … ) it’s just embarrassing. I do it anyways. In my country it’s the other way round, it’s disgusting if you don’t blow your nose.

  • Vinchanzo Espionage

    I am from New Zealand and I’m very surprised how many people view NZ as being very farm-based (ie – sheep and cows). Although their are roughly 20 million sheep and only 4 million people, it is very different city-like and modern. NZ is a very diverse country with many different ethnicities I go to a school where there is an endless number of ethnicities from around the world; its quite amazing.

  • Cisco

    I won’t miss the medical treatment there. I had the worst ever medical experience when I had surgery there. I had heard of many bad experiences with doctors, but my girlfriend convinced me otherwise to stay in Japan and do the surgery. The doctor didn’t explain, suggest, recommend anything before, or after the surgery. What a disaster!!!

  • Travis Freeman

    I’m jumping on the Mexican food bandwagon here. I miss big burritos!! I think there are a few shops opening up in Tokyo and Osaka that are making big “Chipotle” style burritos and some are actually quite good I’ve heard

    But……..since I live way out in the inaka that is not an option for me….luckily my parents were kind enough to send me some taco seasoning and I can get taco shells from the foreign food store (3 hours away) so sometimes I throw myself a taco party.

  • Emily Jane

    Hotel rooms!! they are too small – once I had my suitcase in there wasn’t even room to swing a cat – even a really small cat. I shared one hotel room with a friend and we realised we only had 1 towel but instead of bringing us an extra towel they actually moved us to a room with 2 towels – that’s just nuts!! We had to repack and move 4 floors. Oh and one hotel was so cold that I had to heat the room with the (very low power) hotel hair dryer. The showers are a death trap as well I nearly did myself an injury – turned on the shower and felt like I had just been blasted by a fire extinguisher.

  • boatzilla

    Not sure when you were here, but there’s lots of good Mexican food in Japan (Tokyo), a lot of it’s average and bad, but there are plenty of “good” and even very good options. I wouldn’t have stayed here 20 years without it. But, alas, no “real” bagels.

  • boatzilla

    There’s a “Chipotle” style chain in Tokyo called Frijoles. Sorrry, that doesn’t help you, but Inaka is Inaka everywhere. Try to find good sushi in some small town in Western PA or Upstate NY.

  • talos128

    I’ve been in Japan for 5 years, and every time I travel I check the fruit stands and grocery stores for granny smith apples. I love asking nihonjin where they think green apple chu-hai flavor comes from (^_^)

    Also, deep dish pizza.

  • ricardo buijsman

    what i don’t miss: to, and i mean to, polite konbini employments. i mean i like to talk to someone if i’m buying something when no one else is in the shop but me, so that i don’t bother someone. but one night i went to a random konbini and bought like a light snack, while she was bleeping all my products, just wanted to make small talk but after she literally bowed 8 to 10 times i just thanked her and left @,@

  • Peter Stanton


    I miss the large selection of chocolate and gelatinous sweets Japan doesn’t have. I miss never having to carry any cash whatsoever. I miss having a comfortable climate for more than two months each year.

  • Carlos De Los Santos

    The lack of public trash cans in the city. I just want to get rid the occasional paper wrapper or consumed product, but trash cans are far and few beteween.

  • Michael

    I rather like the bacon.
    However, what’s it about having no place to sit in public? Is that another Yakusa thing? Really, it’s pathetic – Japan wants you to keep on moving – preferably to the next store.

  • K8

    I found it wasn’t to hard to find “continental cheeses” like Brie or Danish blue at my local store but impossible to find good ol’Cheddar. After 3 month in Japan, a friend visited giving me a block the size of a house brick and I made a mountain of cheese of toast and became the most popular person in my gaijin house!

  • PixieSixer

    The sound of slurping noodles and the smell of dashi. Eugh

  • Cody Dalton

    It’s generally not a huge issue with the onsen. Any that my friends or I have been to haven’t made a fuss about them at all–hell we saw a guy in a really fancy one (re: expensive) that had tattoos from his shoulders to his thighs.

  • Cody Dalton

    Get out of the big cities and all you see are trees! XD

  • Cody Dalton

    Gotta remember that personal hand towel….
    I say that as I don’t know where either of mine are ;_;

  • Robin Yukiko

    I think it’s more of an issue at gyms (my gaijin gal pal had to cover hers with a bandaid every time).

  • Robin Yukiko

    Except when it’s festival food, then it’s totally acceptable! I miss yakisoba…

  • Robin Yukiko

    That’s why you gotta eat Korean or Indian and get your spicy that way.

  • Robin Yukiko

    I love natto too. And I DO miss it since I’m back in the States. Also, #10–LOL. So true! Everyone thought we ate fried chicken on Christmas.

  • Meredith Peruzzi

    The Hanamasa around the corner from my house has frozen turkey. It’s either year-round, or left over from Thanksgiving, I’m not sure which – but it’s there! I have heard other Hanamasa have it as well.

  • Meredith Peruzzi

    Please point me to the Mexican food here in Tokyo! Junkadelic (Naka-meguro) is too expensive, El Torito is…El Torito, and Hard Rock has the only decent nachos I have found (1500 yen for a small).

  • Flora

    Those squat toilets may be annoying as a guy, but they look like torture for us ladies (especially if you’re a lady wearing pants). Imagine having to get half-undressed just to use the bathroom – unacceptable for me.

    One of the things I’ll be sorry to leave behind is bagels; I hear Japan doesn’t know how to make a bagel :(

  • Loepsi

    I laughed hard XD I agree but I find both of them (blowing and sniffing/snorting) disgusting

  • Claire

    Good hair. As a Black woman, I know I’m going to have my challenges in Japan. I did some searching & found exactly ONE place in all of Japan that sells Black hair care products (somewhere deep in Shibuya 109), but they warned that the prices were insane. So I just cut off my hair went natural. :)

  • Flora

    You can just make your own dandruff shampoo – if you can find some tea tree oil, mix some of that in with your shampoo or slap a layer on right after. It’s pretty cheap online if they don’t sell it in Japan.

  • Flora

    You eat turkey on Christmas? I thought everyone ate ham – or that just a Southern thing?

  • Jon Walmsley

    The greater infrequency of good quality bread, cheese and milk, the
    uncomfortablness of sitting cross-legged for any extended period of time
    and the bland (though granted warming) green tea which is no
    replacement for a good English cuppa!

  • Stephen Knight

    Since I’m still here it’s hard to talk about what I don’t miss, so perhaps what I wouldn’t if I were to leave: The uninspiring bacon, certainly (though I’ve found an online source of “real” bacon, finally, and can enjoy homemade BLTs again); the poor selection of sandwich meats at most supermarkets (generally, a choice of chemical-infused ham or…chemical-infused ham); “bagels”; cashiers who put their hand under yours when giving back change–and actually touch your hand (I know, the idea is to provide back-up in case any loose coins get away, but that shouldn’t require actual physical contact); junk collectors who drive around with their pre-recorded announcements blasting throughout the neighborhood; excessive wrapping and packaging; the marketing juggernauts that are AKB, Johhny’s, and Yoshimoto Kogyo; twisted customer service “keigo” (“Ichimannen kara de yoroshikatta deshou ka?”); line-wranglers wielding megaphones at museums, concert halls, and other public places… well, the list of “won’t misses” is probably as long as the list ofmthings I *would* miss.

  • linguarum

    I do get out of the cities! But why can’t the cities be greener and less Gotham-like? Population is not an excuse!

  • crella

    Or buy Merit. It’s a pretty good dandruff shampoo.

  • crella

    OMG, I hate those pillows with a passion. The first time I slept on one I got a 3-day crick in my neck.

  • crella

    This is far, but the place rocks…

  • Amanda

    I think it’s more about the sheer amount of people walking around in cities. If there were benches and chairs everywhere homeless people would be sleeping in them and loiterers would just sit there for hours.

  • Seiren

    Nerd alert bleep bloop bleep bloop

  • Seiren

    Phone keigo. Every time.

  • 古戸ヱリカ

    If you’re bleep-blooping, shouldn’t your name be Sairen?

  • Mikan

    1. Spitting on the streets. Why is it so necessary to spit on the street? Was expelling the saliva from your mouth soooo incredibly urgent that you could not wait for a bathroom?
    2. Groping
    3. The little leftovers from drunk people. Vomit in the train, in the flower pots, on the street, on the wall, outside my house, in the water fountain, on the train door, under the guy who passed out on the street…
    4. Sexism, especially in the workplace
    5. Long working hours
    6. Lack of clothes dryers
    7. Remember which trash day it is
    8. Tiny “ovens”
    9. The crowds
    10. The really weak medicine
    11. The electric bills (Thanks for the rate hike, Tepco)
    12. Cool Biz. The thermostat may be at 28 degrees, but the actual temperature is much hotter (and muggier, and smellier)

  • Robin Yukiko

    1. Lack of good dentistry. I tried to get a cleaning and they looked at me like I was crazy and asked “But what’s WRONG?” Can’t a girl have clean teeth? (Although I had one great experience where the dentist was actually on his day off but let me in anyway and didn’t even charge me.)

    2. Only being respected as a woman because I’m foreign, knowing full well that Japanese women don’t get the same respect.

    3. The love of “corporate”. Indie means unsuccessful and unofficial.

    4. Lack of proper mental healthcare. In the smaller towns they refuse to accept that things like depression are real. (My friend had to come up to Tokyo to get antidepressants.)

    5. “Eigo wakanai” WHILE I’m speaking passable Japanese.

    6. Peer pressure to drink/show up to parties/etc.

    7. The drunken business men a) falling asleep standing on the train and bowling people over, b) stumbling onto the street and urinating in broad daylight, c) well, you get the idea.

    8. The inability to get a straight answer.

  • Robin Yukiko

    Yeah, that’s true. But I’m also Jewish. I still celebrate Christmas secularly, but ham was never my favorite food so I don’t really associate it with X-mas as much as I should. But still, Christmas fried chicken isn’t a thing! (Although that became our “let’s perpetuate gaijin stereotypes” tradition after a while.)

  • Jonadab

    The last train runs at midnight? You poor dear. In most American communities, the last passenger train ran in the sixties.

  • Jonadab

    In the Midwest, there isn’t any one food associated with Christmas, although some families have family traditions. In my family, we buy peppermint nougat in bulk.

  • Jonadab

    Just bring your own bottle of Dave’s Insanity Sauce or whatever from the States.

  • Jonadab

    I theoretically like bacon, but I don’t like it enough to justify eating something that unhealthy, so I almost never eat it. (I have more of a problem with cheese. Also chocolate.)

  • Jonadab

    My shoe size barely exists in America (it took me more than ten *years* to find a shoe that actually fits, and they’re $160/pair), so I would just know going in that there would be no hope of buying shoes anywhere in Asia.

  • zoomingjapan

    I hear you! Having big or rather long feet sucks, doesn’t it? :(

  • K Ehnle

    And now for the post of the things you DO miss!

  • Stephen Knight

    Those are probably buckwheat hulls (sobagara), not beans…

  • Ben Nichols

    One simple reason: personal responsibility. Japanese have it, most Americans don’t.

  • Maximuz

    The tiny cups of water is funny. Japan in many ways is similar to Korea (where I live). In fact, some of my favorite restaurants are so because of their bigger cups!

  • Maximuz

    Did you know that the close button in elevators in the US, in many states, is disabled. It is just a placebo effect to make people feel like they have power.

  • 古戸ヱリカ

    Koichi knew you would ask for this, so he planned ahead:

  • crella

    Yes! Feels like beans though, they’re awful, at least for me.

  • Casey Harris

    I developed a bad muttered “死ね” habit in response to the constant “Your Japanese is so good!!” BS.

    Most of my friends, though, knew better than to ask me inane questions like that, considering most that’d been to my house had seen the sea of natto cartons that was the inside of my fridge. Natto and beer. And kimchi.

  • Inter Idoru

    There used to be plenty of public trash bins about – but after the Sarin gas attacks in 1995, they took most public trash bins away.

  • Chester

    There isn’t a single decent Mexican place on all of Shikoku, so, a big part of me dies inside when you say there is Mexican in Tokyo – either, a) there is, and I’m missing out on it or, b) it’s crap, and you just don’t know, which means you’ve never had a decent taco, which would be a tragedy.

    Tacos on Shikoku are about the same as pizza: all mayo, all the time.

  • Chester

    But…but…but…there AREN’T any homeless people in Japan!

    I think what I hate about Japan most – and America has this very much in common, I think – is the idea that it is UNTHINKABLE that Japanese people can ever do a crime, or be homeless, or whatever.
    That whole, “That never happens in Japan” bullshit pisses me off to no end – it’s 1) inherently racist, since many people claim that all problems come from Koreans/Chinese people living in Japan, or other foreigners and 2) it’s plain old denialism that will just cause Japan to rot and wallow in its own stupidity until someone finally wakes up and says, “Wait, holy shit, some Japanese people are homeless!” Gee, y’think?

  • Jessica Marie Olmstead

    I definitely do NOT miss the squatting toilets either. My fiance tried to get me to use one and I absolutely refused! Also, the cockroaches, the fact that free drink refills do not exist and small, thin roadways. x_X;

  • Jessica Marie Olmstead

    I live in Iowa and we always just made cornish hens or a nice ham for christmas =/ Turkey was always a ‘Thanksgiving’ only dish.

  • hakuba_jen

    You shouldn’t have to get half undressed, just pull your pants and underpants around your knees, not your ankles. I do it every day.

  • Reject Superstar

    I don’t miss the crazy recycling days…my city had me sorting through dozens of separate bins…so much to do in the morning before work. I also don’t miss the poor wall insulation in the winters…and having to use a ストーブ kerosene heater. The smell gave lots of us headaches, and it freaked me out to leave it on overnight.

  • Reject Superstar

    I also don’t miss:

    The lack of cereal variety/availability
    The lack of cheese variety/availablity (camembert, anyone?)
    The lack of garbage cans/recycling bins in public

    The lack of good quality color cosmetics
    The lack of good stick deodorant

  • ninda pamungkas

    agree with that arigatou thing. i experienced that too. it’s good to be complied but why should i be proud of it if even 3 years old kid can say that word too? hahaha

  • Misjiff

    Turkey for Christmas dinner is the norm for England too.

  • Shano

    Actually – it’s shame that guides most Japanese actions.

  • Xacur

    LOL. This is my favorite blog that almost never read, but when I read it it’s awesome (I guess when I don’t read it it’s still awesome but I don’t know for sure).

  • Raymond Chuang

    A lot of people even in Japan no longer miss squat toilets–even modern long-distance trains (both limited express and Shinkansen) completely switched to Western-style toilets many years ago.

  • サッちゃん

    I really don’t miss the surprised looks on people’s faces when I ask for the way etc or decline in polite Japanese. Just because I’m ハーフ and don’t look very Japanese doesn’t mean I can’t speak (polite/formal) Japanese. The “ooh you speak Japanese well” and “your dad is German? iina!” was amusing the first few months but after a year of having most conversations start like that I was tired of it. When being asked “so then you speak Japanese AND German??” I was always rather tempted to forget my manners, roll my eyes and answer “Well, no, you see, having a Japanese Mom & and a German dad, of course I only speak any language but Japanese & German, duh”
    I guess the problem is this mentality or idea that if you look un-Japanese you’re a foreigner, at least I felt treated like that in Tokyo most of the time. In Germany I’m treated like evryone else, at least in the big cities ;) in small towns it’s usually the elderly who stare at my family…

  • LordKyuubey

    I go to a country light years ahead of mine and suddenly no wifi… Thankfully I was so distracted by everything else to bother, but it sure is a lame issue…

  • longtimenosee

    I only agree with last train (after 13 years) but would add the need for a “guarantor” (hoshonin) every time one wants to move/ rent a flat

  • longtimenosee
  • longtimenosee

    Did you ever try ? ;)

  • Dolphinwing

    I hate anything and everything spicy so the lack of spicy-ness would be a plus for me! I get annoyed when I say one phrase and people are literally shocked. At first it was fun but now it’s like yes, I speak pretty well is that so impressive?

  • Brin Greaner


    Also, I guess the train issue is some sort of deal with the cab companies. =/

  • 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)

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Ken Havens

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

  • 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. :)

  • 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?