Apr 3

【RocketNews24】You know you’ve been in Japan too long when…

Posted by Michelle Lynn Dinh (Shimane-ken, Chibu-mura, 2010–13), editor and writer for RocketNews24The following article was written by Philip Kendall (Fukushima-ken, Shirakawa-shi, 2006–11), senior editor and writer for RocketNews24, a Japan-based site dedicated to bringing fun and quirky news from Asia to English speaking audiences.

You know you’ve been in Japan too long when…

So you’ve been living, lounging, working, or studying in Japan for a while now. The feelings of homesickness you first experienced are but a distant memory, and whenever you Skype with your family, you unconsciously use the word “home” to refer to your place in Japan rather than your home country. Not only that, you can finally navigate the Tokyo Metro without getting flustered, barely even notice when a girl dressed in kimono passes you in the street, and you think nothing of visiting a convenience store two or three times a day, sometimes just to flick through the magazines.

But what about all of the things you do unconsciously or that seem so normal to you now but would make you stop and stare back home? Today, we bring you a list of 10 moments that, if and when they happen to you, you can safely say, “Wow, I’ve been in Japan too long.”

1. The very thought of taking a bath without showing first makes you feel dirty

You know you’ve been in Japan too long when…2Photo: Naver Matome

In Japan, baths are for relaxing and warming up in, not getting clean. Part of the reason why whole families have no qualms about sharing the same bath water, and in many households the water is piped to the washing machine to do laundry with once everyone has taken a dip, is because it remains almost completely clean the entire time it’s in use. People always shower and wash their entire body before stepping into the tub, being careful to rinse off completely and ensure that not a single soap-bubble should enter the bath, so the water stays clean. It’s actually a really nice custom, and kind of makes you realise how gross sitting in bath water you just used to wash the dirt off your body with is.

2. You ask for a non-smoking table in a restaurant when you visit your home country

smoking-e1396492289865Photo: American Heart Association

In some parts of the world, it has been illegal to smoke in bars, cafes and restaurants for almost a decade. Customers are asked to take it outside or use special smoke rooms to get their nicotine/tar fix if they really can’t resist the urge, but everyone else gets to enjoy their food or drink without the accompaniment of cigarette smoke.

In Japan, an increasing number of cafes and restaurants are saying no to cigs, but visit pretty much any family restaurant and your greeter will immediately ask whether you want a smoking or non-smoking seat, and if it’s a bar more often than not you can expect there to be smoke in the air. So when you fly back home or visit a country where smoking bans have been in place for years, you’re bound to look a little odd insisting on a non-smoking seat since, well, they’re all non-smoking…

Check out the entire list at RocketNews24

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