8 things that are hard to get used to in Japan

1 Taking off your shoes

Against all reason, whenever I buy new sneakers, they are always high cut ones. But don’t worry, I’ve practiced putting them on and taking them off around a billion times since I came to Japan. It takes me a meagre 27 seconds now. Down 98,6% from where I started.

This timeloss is nothing that would bother me all that much, weren’t it for those hideous

2 Slippers! スリッパ

Apart from the fact that they’re gross, they are also really hard to walk in without kicking them off if you have long, slender feet. Which I do. So besides looking stupid in those cheaply made slippers from hell, I make an idiot of myself by regularly kicking them off while walking and retrieving them afterwards only to wait for the next slip-up.

3 Toilet slippers トイレスリッパ

These deserve their own category. Same as with normal slippers, these gross me out. Like 100.000 times more than normal slippers. I doubt they ever get cleaned, let alone disinfected. So as not to spoil the floor with toilet-residing germs, that you could spread around if you touch the toilet floor with your shoes, you get to put your feet into slippers that live in said toilet. Then you stand in your now badly-clad feet next to a Japanese-style toilet to get sprayed by your own pee when flushing. And then, to preserve the pristine flooring, you cover your freshly sprayed feet with your own shoes so you can carry your diligently collected germs home. Weird.

4 Rainy season 梅雨

Comes with super sticky all day every day humidity. Even if you can stand it, unless you love mould, you’ll not enjoy it. The upside are the unbelievable downpours though. You’d be super impressed at how much water can poor down at once from a single sky.

5 Heat 猛暑

The heat is something different in Japan. It all starts with the rainy season. The humidity makes the heat really hard to bear and if you aren’t careful you can get a heat stroke in no time!

A conversation with a friend of mine before she came to visit during the summer months:

“What should I bring? Do I need a sleeping bag?”
“Haha! No way, I’m sure you’d rather sleep naked!”
“It’s hot? Awesome!! I love the heat!”
“No one loves it this hot!”
“No, I’m sure I can handle it! I’ll love it.”

Conversation after two days in Japan:

“I get it. I hate the heat.”

6 Umbrellas

As a German, I grew up without an umbrella. I get why they are useful in Japan. Everyone does their best to avoid letting any more humidity into their home. Also, the wet-dog-look is just not as much appreciated as it is in my home-country. Still, I can’t get myself to use one. And thinking of all the lost ones and broken ones makes me sad.
So much needless waste.

7 Sunbrellas 日傘

I’d rather use an umbrella. But as I pointed out, the heat is something different in Japan. So carrying a sunbrella is a valid choice if you want to avoid a heatstroke when you are outside during noon and there are no trees in sight. But why would you?

8 Satojōyu 砂糖醤油

This is mainly a thing in Kyushu, I think. But soy sauce is definitely too sweet for anyone with properly working taste buds. They call it “sugar soy sauce!” Sweet soy sauce should be banned. It tastes horrible.