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My boyfriend and I visited Japan earlier this year. We tried to cover as many places as we can during our three-week travel. The trip though was short, and we found ourselves missing many things, but somehow, we find ourselves still talking about Japan every now and then after our return.
I’m pretty sure everyone who had visited Japan whether for leisure, education or business, you will find yourself missing the country, whether it’s because of the culture, food, fashion, or whatever else. Here are the things that I really miss about Japan after my short trip.
I live in a small town in Southern Italy. As it’s a country where its people take pride in their local food, it’s extremely difficult to find cuisine of other countries in Italy. Especially living in the southern part of the country, there’s no such thing as a good sushi restaurant there. As a Japanese food lover, I think sushi should be placed on top for the things that I miss about Japan.
2. Polite workers
We all know that the Japanese are well known for their good manners and politeness. But the warm greetings that welcome you the moment you enter a shop, a restaurant, or even the train, is something I really appreciate. I think this is something that you will only get in Japan, and maybe some parts of South Korea too.
3. CleanlinessCheng-en Cheng/Flickr
Do I have to explain more? During our trip to Japan, we found that the country is so clean that we did not even dare to drop a piece of paper on the floor. The country is so clean everywhere, even in the public places. We are still discussing on how the Japanese keep the country so clean.
4. Japanese TV commercials
Although my Italian boyfriend thought that the commercials in Japan were ridiculous, I grew up in Asia with Japanese anime, so I found the TV commercials in Japan were entertaining and creative. I personally think the TV commercials in Japan are so lively, colorful, cheerful, and funny.
As we were on a budget when we were in Japan, we tried to save on our lunches for better dinners. The simple yet tasty, cheap, and filling ramen was one of our best choices.
6. Japanese curry and katsudreamcat115/Flickr
Another good choice for lunch in Japan – Japanese curry and katsu. Although this could be pricier compared to ramen, it was really worth the price. We tried to make Japanese curry at home here in Italy, but the truth is, the taste was just different.
7. YakinikuTatsuo Yamashita/Flickr
Our favourite dinner during the three-week trip. We found out that yakiniku is somehow cheaper in big cities, especially in Tokyo.
8. Matchahirotomo t/Flickr
Many Japanese might laugh at this, but yes, I miss the powder green tea in Japan. I find it difficult to find matcha, even in my home country, Malaysia. The taste of matcha is just different compared to the green tea in teabags.
9. 24-hour convenient storesCLF/Flickr
If you been to Italy, you will understand why I miss the 24-hour convenient store. Shops here in Italy closes after 8pm and if you are urgently in need of something, like if you forgot to bring along your toothbrush, well, all I can say is – good luck.
10. TakayamaBig Ben in Japan/Flickr
I find myself thinking about this little town in Japan a lot lately. Takayama is a town in Hida region in Gifu. Takayama does not have beautiful temples like those in Kyoto, nor big shopping centers like in Tokyo, but this little town gives me a very authentic Japanese feeling. The old town that filled with traditional wooden Japanese houses is exactly the same as the town in Doraemon. This quiet and non-touristy city made my trip to Japan complete.
11. Punctual trainsEiichi Kimura/Flickr
Back in Malaysia, it is not surprising if a train is delayed. It is really frustrating if your train was late and made you late. That’s why I really appreciate the punctuality of trains in Japan. During the three-week trip, we travelled mostly by local trains and the shinkansen, and those trains were never late, not even once. Bravo! Bravo!
12. One-stop shopping mallsHalfd/Wikimedia Commons
Lunch, souvenirs, clothes, and even household items are all under the same roof. Who could ask for more?
13. Cute and colorful fashion
Although walking on the streets in Italy will make you feel like you are in a fashion show, but I kind of miss the colorful Asian styles every now and then.
14. Eating with chopsticks
I might not be good with chopsticks (a waiter offered me a fork and spoon after seeing me struggling with my ramen in Japan), but hey, eating with chopsticks looks kind of cool. It is an art and really, it is challenging.
The moment we touched down in Tokyo, we could already sees the perfect order at the immigration gate. Immigration officers were able to direct perfectly, keeping the crowds queuing without confusion. When we arrived at the train station in Tokyo, again the perfect order in regards to using the escalators impressed us.
16. Warm toilet seatsつんつん/Flickr
As winter is approaching, I miss the warm toilet seats in Japan.
17. Pachinko parlorsShawn Clover/Flickr
I think nothing beats the pachinko parlors in Japan. They are huge and filled with gambling machines. It was really an eye-opener for me to visit the parlors in Matsuyama and Nara.
No doubt, karaoke is one of the most popular entertainment in most of Asian countries. In Italy, karaoke means singing in public so it makes me miss the private karaoke room very much.
19. People speaking in Japanese
Not sure about you, but I do really love the Japanese language. It sounds so soft and melodic, especially if you are like me who understands almost nothing about the language.