If you’ve ever been to a different country, you’ll know how unnerving it can be to suddenly be caught off guard by some small, seemingly insignificant difference that you never even thought would be a thing. Now take that and multiply it by about a million and you’ll know how it feels to visit Japan! Here are just 20 of the most bizarre things we’ve seen in the land of the rising sun!
1. Fax machines are still a thing!
For a company that builds robots for fun, they’re a little slow on the technological uptake with this one! Fax machines are still commonly used in most offices and in some cases, are actually preferred to email!
2. Why sign when you can stamp?
This nifty little stamp is called an inkan and it’s used in place of your signature on most official documents. People have to get theirs registered at their local town hall and report it if it goes missing so nobody can effectively forge your signature.
3. The waiter will leave you well alone
In Japan, you don’t have to deal with that awkward moment when you take a bite of your food just as the waiter asks you how your meal is. They’ll leave you alone until you call them over and forget about tipping, they won’t accept a single yen over the cost of the bill.
4. Bizarre pizza toppings
I hope you’re not too attached to pepperoni pizza because you’ll be much more likely to find your pizza covered in potato or shrimp in Japan. And if you’re not a mayo fan, you might want to check your order because your pizza will be COVERED in it!
Yeah, mayo-corn. It’s a thing. And maybe I’d be more enthusiastic about it if it looked less like something the cat threw up.
6. Sleeping businessmen everywhere
Not only do Japanese businessmen work hard, they play hard too! It’s common for Japanese businessmen to go out drinking at the end of the work day, which is why you’ll find them taking a little nap anywhere and everywhere the morning after.
7. Individually wrapped everything
If you want to eat a Japanese snack, be prepared to get through about 5 layers of wrapping before you can have a cookie!
8. Plastic bags everywhere!
I hope you need a plastic bag for everything you own because you’re gonna get one whether you want it or not!
9. No trash cans but no trash either!
You won’t spot a spec of litter on the streets of Japan, but with no trash cans visible either, where does all the trash go? Well, you just keep hold of it until you can get to a bin, of course! The Japanese are huge on recycling so it’s not unusual for Japanese people to keep hold of their trash until they can get to some recycling bins.
10. ATMs that close at night
And not just at night, but on Sundays and public holidays too! Make sure your get your cash well in advance or you could be left high and dry without a yen in your pocket!
11. Nothing but reverse parking
Reverse parking is considered safer so everybody does it, pretty simple really!
12. Scorching hot AC
It’s standard practice to have your AC set at 28 degrees Celsius (82º Fahrenheit), even in the middle of summer! Just thinking of that is making me sweat!
13. Forced ‘rest time’
Lifeguards in Japan aren’t just making sure you’re safe, they will make you get out of the pool for ten minutes every hour to make sure you’re not exhausted!
14. Everyone wears cold masks
These aren’t just for those who are already suffering with a cold, but can also be used if you really don’t want to get sick. Not a bad idea, if you ask me!
15. Desk naps are a thing
Unfortunately, this probably isn’t a thing that will happen in work places in the west. Japanese workers work so hard that they need a little nap to keep them going!
16. Skinless grapes
Yep, if you eat a grape with the skin on, you should be prepared for some funny looks.
During election season it’s common for campaigners to drive around with megaphones, trying to drum up support for their party.
18. Gendered chocolate
Thanks Japan, didn’t know this pocky would be too much for a little woman like me. Sigh.
19. Very expensive fruit
These $100 strawberries aren’t the only hyper expensive fruit in Japan. Just look up square watermelons and you’ll see what I mean!
20. Serious sun protection
The Japanese are serious about their UV exposure. Some women will go to extreme measures to avoid getting a tan and sun parasols are a common sight in Summer.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen in a foreign country? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to share this article with your friends and family!