It was love at first sight for me and Japan (on my end, at least). Since my first introduction in 2016, I've visited Japan several times, and I even got the opportunity to live there for several months.
But funny enough, the more time I spent in this wonderful country, the more confused I felt. Japan is incredibly advanced and modern, yet it remains relatively untouched by Westernization. The result is a country that is enchanting and bizarre (in the best way possible) — especially to a Westerner like me.
So without further ado, here are a bunch of questions I have for Japan.
Why don't you ever break the rules?
And do you ever get exhausted dealing with loud, clueless gaijin like me?
As a culture with so many social ~rules~, why is it still okay to loudly slurp noodles?
Do you ever get so hungry you're tempted to eat on the go?
Why is it okay, and even normal, for salarymen to be passed out drunk?
Why can you still smoke in some restaurants and bars, but you can't light up on the street?
Does it ever feel funny bowing to people?
Does it ever annoy you you to constantly take your shoes off and on?
Do the recycling protocols ever confuse you?
For a country that's so conscious about recycling, why are fruits with a peel still wrapped in plastic? And why do you use so many plastic bags?
How are the city streets so quiet and so clean!?
Why does everything including food have a cute little face on it?
And why does everything — from towns to banks — have a mascot?
Are things like maid cafes and girl bands with a troupe of adult male fans really ok?
Do couples actually use love hotels to meet up?
How come finding a vegetarian meal is so tricky?
How do you manage to pick up tiny grains of rice or slippery noodles with chopsticks?
What's the obsession with plastic food?
Why do you love Kit Kats so much?
And finally, why haven't you capitalized on all your amazing inventions (i.e. toilets, hot-drink vending machines, heated tables)?
Have you visited Japan and felt baffled or fascinated by a particular part of the culture? Tell us in the comments below.