10 reasons that make Japan special and unique!

By: Sonia Afonso

  1. Children from the age of 6 years old, go to school by themselves in an urban area with 30 million people.
    This was one of the images that surprised me the most, when we first moved here.
    And to make more cute, they all dressed with the lovely uniforms. This shows how safe this big city is!! 

  2. People still wearing Kimonos!
    When walking in the street, shopping in a supermarket or visiting a temple, you will often find people dressed in beautiful and elegant Kimonos. They preserve the history, in modern days, and it sets a beautiful scene in contrast with urban environment.

    Setsubun Festival / Tokyo
    Setsubun Festival / Tokyo

  3. The greetings!
    You can travel around the world, but when entering a restaurant, a mall, a shopping a cafe, anywhere for that matter, you will never be greeted like here in Japan. In the begging it will sound weird, specially because you don't understand what they are saying, but after a awhile you really get used to it, so much so, that when you go abroad you will miss it. 
    Irasshaimase…. Welcome!!

  4. Sakura trees contemplations
    The Sakura trees blossom for  a really short period, normally one or two weeks, but when they all blossom, its pure magic!
    This event is taken so seriously that, even the weather bureau announces the blossom forecast each year.
    Hanami or "flower viewing" is the specific name for this event.
    People will organize picnic parties during the day or night, go and seat under the tree, take tons of pictures and contemplate these trees religiously, every single year.
    The parks can be so crowded, that to get a spot during the peak, some people will pass the night at the park to make sure they get the best place.
    A scenery that can be judged only if experienced!

    Nijo Castle / Kyoto
    Nijo Castle / Kyoto

  5. Calm and order
    You can be in crowded subway, a packed park, really busy street or in a loooong queue, but you will never experience people shouting because its taking to long, screaming in a park with thousands of people, or someone trying to get your spot by "accident".

  6. Fashion
    The streets of Tokyo can be pure runways. One of the things that I like to do is strolling in some of this streets and watch people passing by! You can see the most elegant and well dressed person, to the most "exquisite outfit", so that, when just looking you can guess that took a lot of time to achieve that look! From Lolitas, punks, goth, girly, vintage, classy, these are some of the many styles you will find in Tokyo.
    What's trendy is here, Style, is all over….
    If you are curious, have a look at this website, http://tokyofashion.com.
    In this city your imagination needs to go beyond every fashion rule! Fashion is always ahead, a new dimension without rules … Love it!

  7. Onsen /Hot springs
    One of the best experiences ever.
    Japan is a volcanic active country, and because of that, every region has beautiful indoor and outdoor Hot Springs.
    Onsen's are places to relax your body and mind, and known to provide different health benefits, depending on the minerals. I can't think about one thing that can replace or equal an Onsen. 
    To start the day or just before bed time, a bath like this rejuvenates, invigorates and relaxes you.
    A gateway to a pure existence!

    Sakura by night / Tokyo
    Sakura by night / Tokyo

  8. The queues….
    In Japan the queues are a "phenomenon" that always astonishes me!
    In the beginning of my times here, when I saw a queue, my thoughts were: "maybe a new shop, restaurant, not so new"…."something fancy or not so fancy". But after some time, I realized that, you will always see a queue no matter what or where you are or where you are going! If people enjoy a place, want the latest gadget, taste the new ice cream in town, or just need to wait for someone, they will line up and wait, and wait and wait….
    Patience… a lot of patience, that's what is required, because the queues can be looooong.
    Another quality to admire!

  9. The masks!
    Oh my… what's going on, why is everybody wearing a mask? A white mask, like they use at the hospitals?…
    Well, not a epidemic going around, or…  no not a trendy thing…. a clever thing… to avoid catching and passing the seasonal virus to anyone else…

  10. Taxi doors
    Ups…. it opens by itself.  Yes!! The seats are covered with white lace and the taxi driver is using white gloves!
    Looks like I got a private driver… but no, they are all like this!
    Courtesy and hygiene, I found!

About the author

Expat Blog ListingSonia Afonso is a Portuguese expat living in Japan. Blog description: When living abroad I get to explore neighborhoods, cafes, restaurants, museums, shops, parks, and many other things. For the record I take pictures. In my websiteI I try to show what I see, particularly those things I find interesting.
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Contest Comments » There are 11 comments

Ana wrote 11 years ago:

Thanks life for giving me the opportunity to live Japan...with you!

Tiago wrote 11 years ago:

Great comments, and great pictures in your website!

Jen wrote 11 years ago:

Wow. You nailed it!

Aiko Uda wrote 11 years ago:

Great points!!! Perfectly true and somewhat refreshing viewpoints from native Japanese. Love it.

Antonino Rodrigues wrote 11 years ago:

Congrats. Your comments complement your blogs, because it offers us an excellent picture of Japan. Now it would be interesting to do the same with Norway, for then we can do the comparison of two cultures, East and West.

Shea wrote 11 years ago:

What a wonderful place to live!

Sucinda Passas wrote 11 years ago:

I agree with Antonino, looking forward to receive your comments about Oslo. I wish you enjoy your new experience in Norway

Luis Lopes wrote 11 years ago:

Great info about Tokyo!!! Bye Tokyo, hello Oslo.....

Luis Campos wrote 11 years ago:

Loved your description and can't wait to visit the country.

Jamie Burger wrote 11 years ago:

I've only been in Tokyo for 3 months now, and couldn't get over how perfectly you described Japan. Loved it!

Margarida wrote 11 years ago:

Many congratulations.Continue providing us these tours through their photos and comments.

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