5 things that surprised me about Japan

Hello everyone!

First time I came to Japan was for study abroad program. Then I came back again to study some more. Then I came back again to work. In my time here, there are 5 things that constantly surprised me no matter how long I live here which I would like to share with you today.


Although you might see this kind of bicycle parking space,… this particular one, you can park for free for 2 hours and pay 200 for longer than 2 hours.


But in reality, Japanese people park their bicycles on the pedestrian walk.


The bicycle has a lock and all but mostly it is not attached to anything. In my country, by the time I am back, my bicycle would be long gone. It doesn’t seem to happen very much in Japan though.

I have heard a lot about the city office remove the bicycle from pedestrian walk especially in Kyoto. Even if you chain your bicycle to the fence, they will cut the lock and take your bike away. You will have to pay some two thousands yen for fine before you can have your bicycle back. So if the bicycle is gone, it is likely that someone has removed your bicycle and not that it is stolen.

2. Rush hour

I’ve lived in Tokyo for quite some time now but still I think I will never get used to the rush hour! It is horrible. One time I was on the train for work and suddenly the train stopped for some reasons (in rush hour you know!) everyone need to go off board. By the time the train resumed to normal operation, the platform is flooded with … ten thousands people. Obviously I didn’t make it to work on time on that day. I am upset, exhausted and feel horrible all day.

Platform during rush hour + train delayed

rush hour

Check out some photos from Rocketnews24 Train shut down in rush hour

I used to talk with my Japanese friends about it. They seems to think that it’s normal, everyday life situation. I don’t know how long it will take for me to get used to this “normal everyday life situation”.

3. No trash can

Japan is so clean despite the fact that trash can is so hard to find. I think I’ve only seen trash can in front of convenience stores and occasionally in the toilet. Often I have to carry my trash home so that I can throw it away. It’s so funny and in a way very interesting. How could Japanese people keep the city so clean when there is no trash can. Does everyone do the same thing as me? carry the trash home? I hope not!

One more thing is the sorting system, it’s different from cities to cities. Mostly, you have to buy your own trash bag. You can’t dispose your garbage using whatever bag. It need to be this particular one.The money you pay for those bags will be used to pay for the trash disposal system. There is a fixed schedule for trash collection. For example, in my district, Monday is burnable trash, Tuesday is PET and can bottle, Wednesday is plastic etc.

If you are not used to it, it’s quite troublesome. But I assumed that how Japanese people keep their cities clean!

4. Hay fever

In spring, many people is sick from hay fever or pollen allergy. During that time, many people is wearing a mask or pollen protected glasses! The source of this allergy is the pollen from cedar tree.

I didn’t have this allergy right away but after spending some time in Japan, I started to develop the symptom. This allergy lasted for about 5 months from the mid February until the end of June in my case. (Let me tell you, my quality of life is very low during that period). In the hay fever season, if you go to drug store, you will find many kinds of medicine, masks, eye drop and other medical supplies related to hay fever.I don’t know exactly how many people have this allergy but the estimate number is about 1/3 of Japanese population. 1/3 out of 126 million is a lot of people!

Me dying from hay fever, notice people behind me all wearing mask


5. Fruits (and sometimes vegetable) are so expensive!

I am used to buy fruits in kilo in my country. In Japan, fruits are sold in unit! One peach, one mango, one watermelon… sometimes they came in a package or box but never sell in kilos. One peach costs 200-400 yen and one mango is around 400-500 yen.


How about you? What do you feel surprised in Japan?

See you next blog!


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