60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

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Recently I saw an interesting Chinese post on internet listing up the 60 habits we form in Japan that completely won’t work well in our home countries. The list is gold! Everything on the list hits the nail on the head! Must share it with you all. 😀

You don’t believe me? Ask your friends who have lived in Japan whether they have these problems or not. :p

 p.s Please note that everything here is based on my perspective as a Malaysian. The world is big. We can’t apply 1 theory to the whole world. Bear with me ya 😀 

60 Habits Formed From Living In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

60 Habits Formed From Living In Japan That You Must Change In Your Country | 日本生活で身に付いた外国では通じない習慣60個

(Please note that the list no1 – 60 are not written by me. Only the Intro and the conclusion are my writing. Refer to the original article here. )

1. Forgot how to lock the door. Even though remembered afterwards, I don’t care. In Chinese we say “People do not take any articles left by the wayside and that doors are not bolted at night”, and that is Japan.

60 Habits Formed From Living In Japan That You Must Change In Your Country | 日本生活で身に付いた外国では通じない習慣60個

2. Think all policeman are kind and friendly. They joke with you and even would lend you money to take taxi.

60 Habits Formed From Living In Japan That You Must Change In Your Country | 日本生活で身に付いた外国では通じない習慣60個

3. Have no idea what a counterfeit money is because there is no such thing in Japan.

60 Habits Formed From Living In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

4.  Never lock my bicycle when stopping by somewhere for errands. Things never get stolen even I leave my belongings on the bicycle.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

5. Drink the tap water whenever feel thirsty.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

6. Never count the change I got from the cashier. Anyway, there is never shortchange.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

7. Bow to everyone even strangers. In Japan, it’s common to be bowed.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

 

I described how study abroad in Japan is like in my previous vlog: Study & School In Japan ^^

8. Never double check the quality of the purchased product on the spot, even laptop. There is no fake in Japan.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

9. Never look around while crossing the road.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

10. Barefoot once got home.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

11. Never ask who it is before opening the door.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

 

12. Don’t know how to throw garbage. Combustible or Incombustible? Even have to check the calendar to know what kind of garbage is allowed to throw today.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

13. Became a fan of vegetable.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

14. Started to think that piracy is illegal.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

15. Lost curiosity towards restaurants. All restaurants look the same in Japan. Similar menu, similar price.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

16. Put umbrellas on the umbrella stand outside the house. Never mind. Nobody would steal it.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

17. Don’t know how to choose good quality vegetable. Everything looks good in the super market.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

18. Can’t bargain anymore. Every price in Japan is fixed.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

19. Don’t know how to open doors except my home because all doors are automated.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

20. “Sumimasen” became a common saying.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

I mentioned this in my vlog “Japan, Why U Macam Ini?! (Why Are You Like This?!)” before. 😀 Youtube Channel: Shenlimtv

21. Forgot how to quarrel. Japan is too peaceful.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

22. No need to bring toilet paper while go out. Every public toilet has toilet paper.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

23. Got used to carrying two wallets. One for bill, one for coins.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

24. Never worry there is no elevator while going out with baby-car.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

25. Have blind faith in weather forecast. If it says it won’t rain at 2pm, I will go out with no umbrella at 3pm.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

26. Never worry about the short amount of the purchased food.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

27. Tend to believe that sea food is cheaper than meat.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

28. Strongly feel that littering and spitting everywhere is an evil behavior.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

29. Never worry to be discriminated by accent.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

30. Never worry to get thought strangely by others for just-playing-no-buying in a toy shop.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

31. Think that a clean city is a basic human need.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

32. Think that every corner or public space should have vending machines.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

33. Abandoned the belief of “cheap-things-are-all-bad”. Because 100 yen shop things are really cheap but excellent!

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

34. Believe all shops’ sales are real.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

35. Be surprised at the news about accidents.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

36. Think that making mistakes is strange.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

37. Think that all food is safe and clean.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

38. Got used to waiting for public transportation according to the schedule.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

39. Feel normal to meet an old man in good spirit.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

40. Believe advertisement is true.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

41. Even though nobody sees it, still nod while talking on phone.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

Usually Japanese nod and say “Hai, Hai…” on the phone. :p Youtube Channel: Shenlimtv

42. Get off the train automatically to make way for the people behind when the train is too crowded.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

43. Press the floor button and hold the open button naturally for other passengers in an elevator.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

44. Never sound the horn while driving; never ring the bell while riding a bicycle.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

45. Never worry even though the bag zip is open. Even leave it at the seat while away to order starbucks coffee.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

46. Speak Japanglish while speaking English. (watch my previous video lol Youtube Channel: Shenlimtv)

47. Stand by left hand side at the escalator, letting people pass by right hand side. (Osaka is opposite side)

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

48. Keep the trash in our bags and throw it at home.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

49. Always carrying handkerchief and portable ashtray.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

50. Wait until the light turns green even though there is no cars on the road.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

51. Line up for everything.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

52. Feel normal to be bowed by public servants.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

 

53. Put mobile phone and wallet at the back pocket, leaving half of it shown to people eyes.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

54. Sit at the park randomly.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

55. Polish shoes once every half year.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

56. Never check if there is toilet paper in the toilet because most of them are electronic toilet.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

57. Never smoke on the street. Find a smoking area to smoke.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

58. No need to wash the vegetable properly. Sometimes even cook it without washing.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

59. No hurries even though the earthquake is happening.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

60. Taking train, going to work, paying bill, everything is punctual.

60 Habits You Formed In Japan That Will Never Work In Your Country

 

 

Today’s Naruhodo!

I have lived in Japan for 6 years and I agreed with all above 60 habits! Every time I went back to Malaysia, I couldn’t help but keep doing some of these habits and what I got was strange eyes from surrounding.

However, we can say that most of these habits can only be acquired under a well-developed society, for instance a safe environment with low crime rate.

Throughout the years, I always got questions like “Shen, why did you have to go Japan for study? It’s the same studying in Malaysia.” 

Yes, It might be the same in terms of studying a certain field of knowledge, but you won’t get to form any of these habits if you don’t live in Japan. And some of these habits, can really make us a better human being when it comes to building a better society. (Some are not necessary though :p)

How many habits in the list have you acquired from living in Japan? Share with us. ^^

Shen Lim
A Chinese Malaysian, Blogger, Vlogger on YouTube, Tour Guide in Japan. He believes 1 day his videos can bring Japan and Malaysia together. マレーシア華人、ブロガー、YouTubeクリエイター、日本にいるツアーガイドです。いつか自分の動画は日本とマレーシアを繋げる架け橋になると信じています。 Read more ABOUT him.

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Shrikant Atre

    I agree with most of your observations as many could be a direct comparison between country to country..! I am from Pune India and stayed in Japan for 2 long periods of 4 years and 2 years…! Recently 2 month in Jan-Mar of this year..! When I come back from Japan from such a stay, while I speak over phone, I notice other person who is talking gets irritated by my frequent huhs, yesses and ayes and hmms and so on..! One friend even said, Shrikant, stop what you are doing over phone and listen to what I am saying…! This “hai, hai, hmm, hmm” interruptions is a very bad habit you learn quickly from Japanese..! As regards good habits (you have referred many good ones) I guess while I drive, I let others go and people who drive with me here, look at me badly surprised. They say, this is India and you must surge ahead of others… No right of way here…! Anyway, I feel it safer the Japanese way…(until someone rides over me at a signal or hits my vehicle from back side when I stop for someone else crossing to let go).

  2. Koji

    This article is pretty interesting, and foreign people would become interested in Japanese way of life. I am sorry to sound offensive in some of the following part, but as a Japanese who has been to Tokyo, the most populated city in Japan, for twenty years or so, I’m just gonna say that I found many of them false or too generalized.

    There is not counterfeit in Japan? No, that’s not true. Probably technology allows the amount of counterfeit bills to be decreased, but even Wikipedia in Japanese edition says several cases of counterfeit money were reported in Japan in 2000s.
    “Never lock my bicy­cle when stop­ping by some­where for errands. Things never get stolen even I leave my belong­ings on the bicycle.” I always lock my bike, and who assures you that your belongings are never stolen? Am I crazy?
    “Never look around while crossing the road?” I usually did for my safety, and I’ve even seen a car cross the road when I was about to cross it, which made me a bit threatened.
    “Never ask who it is before opening the door.” My mom always says どなた様ですか? or I’m afraid I don’t know who you are. In my house, that practice prevents ourselves from having needless conversation with salespersons visiting my home such as those who recommend to start to subscript newspaper different from one that my family does.
    “All restaurants look the same in Japan.” I have no idea where you are coming from. There certainly exist some typical dishes, but there also exists diversity in each restaurant.
    “Put umbrellas on the umbrella stand outside the house. Never mind. Nobody would steal it.” Indeed, I have got my umbrella stolen in schools in Tokyo for quite a few times.
    “Don’t know how to choose good quality vegetable.” Are you kidding wise mothers in Japan? I’m not such kind of person, but many of mothers in Japan including my mom definitely know how to distinguish good, fresh, not perished vegetables from others. And a person who are in charge of food safety in a workplace, like my brother and father, must be knowledgeable as well.
    There’s no sale and prices are all fixed? Hey, you are saying a contradiction: the picture below the sentence No.26 says this meet is 27 yen w/out consumption tax per 100g and THIS IS THE DISCOUNTED PRICE APPLICABLE ONLY FOR TODAY. That means the price will go up next day.
    “100 yen shop things are really cheap but excellent!” Sometimes it is far from excellent, and in many cases goods are better in quality in other kinds of shops. I’ve purchased a foldable umbrella in a 100 yen shop named Can-do, which was broken over the next two or three days.
    “Get off the train auto­mat­i­cally to make way for the peo­ple behind when the train is too crowded.” Some people are not well-mannered and don’t do like that, which often freaks me out.
    “Never sound the horn while driving; never ring the bell while riding a bicycle.” I’ve rung a bell of my bicycle when I feel it’s necessary. And car drivers with legal license would sound the horn if necessary.
    A guy in the YouTube video in No.46 makes some good points, but his remarks sound nasty to people seriously studying English. All the people who study English is aware of Japanese-English, or as he puts it, Japanglish, though the extent of awareness perhaps depends on their English proficiency.
    “Wait until the light turns green even though there is no cars on the road.” I don’t mean to blame such kind of people, but I’m sure most people at least in Tokyo including me cross the road when it appears there’s no danger.
    “Never check if there is toilet paper in the toilet because most of them are electronic toilet.” Stations of JR, the most dominant railway company, do not install restrooms with electronic toilets as far as I know. Certainly that’s the case at least most part in Tokyo.
    “No need to wash the vegetable properly. Sometimes even cook it without washing.” I don’t know whether it’s really needed for products made in japan in terms of scientific facts, but I believe most people wash vegetables with tap water after buying.

    I feel it’s not a good idea that such generalized ideas are expressed in English, the most dominant and influential language in the world. Some of facts that you found are definitely true while others are not. If the writer think that it’s true, I would say that it may be based on particular kinds of people in Japan, and that ideas you gained from certain way of life in certain region differ form those of others in other parts of Japan. Expressing such generalization in that way in English are so influential that people all over the world are possibly obsessed with Japanese lives in a biased way.

    1. Boss

      “9. Never look around while crossing the road.”

      Are we talking the same Japan? Cause I’ve been nearly hit by cars several times in the middle of a crossing or when crossing at traffic lights.

  3. Koji

    Let me make a correction: I said “this meet is 27 yen w/out con­sump­tion tax per 100g” but I was intended to say “this meat,” not this meet.

    About the price matter, by judging that the picture provided, maybe the author wants to mention the situation in electronics shops. If that’s the case, I’d point out that shops like Yamada Denki and Big Camera sells goods in sales throughout a year, and one of the most famous sales are given on the New Year’s day and several days that follow it, which is called 初売り (Hatsu-uri).

  4. Marcel

    I am an Indonesian who have lived in Germany for 4+ years in total. Some of your points are not unique to Japan.

    #5) Safe tap water is almost universal in Germany. Whenever it is not safe, they put a big warning.
    #10) Barefoot at home. I do it in Indonesia everyday.
    #38) Punctual public transport. Are you kidding me? In Germany even BUSES have fixed schedules. When it says the bus stops there every Sunday 10:19, it really stops at 10:19 SHARP!
    #42) Get off the train automatically when it is too crowded. I do it everyday both in Germany and Indonesia. It is just common sense and decency.
    #44) Never uses the horns and bells. In Germany, I think it is CRIMINAL to use it other than to prevent accident.
    #47) Stand by the side of escalator. See #43.
    #48) Keep the thrash at my bag, and in my case I only throw it to the nearest garbage bin.

  5. Juan

    The author seems to think all (or at least most) of these things would only work in Japan because… well there is no present reason to judge other places and people that apparently have no arms nor legs or a functioning brain to do this. In a nutshell, the author thinks that this things work just because is Japan.

    -About the policeman being polite and all, I find this to be the most unbelievable thing in Japan since Japanese policeman are amongst the most racist and japanese-sided public force in this country. If you ever find yourself in a car accident, don’t even think calling Japanese police (even if it is the other people’s fault) since you will end up paying most of the damage and apologizing for things that probably you shouldn’t. Also, if you are a foreigner and run to a Koban asking for help ’cause some people are following or stalking you, wouldn’t help because their solely reason is that “there is no need for a japanese to stalk a foreigner (actual F*CKING words!)”. This happened to a friend of mine who just came to Tokyo for a friends party. She was wearing a night party dress and walking around the streets of (safe?) Shibuya/Harakuju when a f*cking old man just felt her up down the skirt and start dragging her to his Taxi when I kick the old f*cker hands a start calling the police (which told me to go to the Koban personally) and when I get there, they said: probably the old saint confused her for a prostitute and I think it is understandable since she is wearing sexy clothes. (again, actual F*UCKING words!!).
    – Drink tap water: Are you serious? Even most places in Kanto and North area advise not to drink tap water and advise to buy filters or but bottled water due to the last big earthquake that contaminated drinking water for many years to come.
    – Never wash vegetables: If that is your choice, is fine. But nowhere in Japan this is advised or common practice.
    – Think food is safe to eat: I believe you just watch a lot of Japanese TV to believe this but even so, just today (May 8th, 2014) there was an announcement of a bird-flu small epidemic and a few months ago the same happen with the pig-flu. Safe to eat? yeah right…
    – All the post about “nothing will be lost” or “hold the door/elevator for others”: This does apply in Japan and any other country because of people, not because of the country itself. You seem to think there is something in the air (or your drinkable tap water) that makes Japan a only-place where this things can happen.
    – Not being discriminated about accent: I believe you have not interacted with many Japanese people but they are among the most judgmental and biased people in the world. As soon as you start speaking with an accent (let’s say middle-eastern) they assume you are muslim, eat only fish/vegetables, never seen a TV, a train nor any “marvels” of Japan or ask you this never ending stupid f*cking question: “What do u eat at home?”… I find it most racist when they assume all people from Latin America are the same, eat the same and are drunkards.

    I really find this offensive since the author seems to believe everybody “formed” this habits in Japan and came to Japan almost in an animalistic behavior not knowing what to do in trains, like before we were stealing things from bikes and purses, shutting doors and elevators to people, having mean police force and eating dirty, unsafe and the most expensive food in the world…

    You need to grow out a little more and not judge the rest of the world so easily. I am amazed you believe this can happen in this place and nowhere else in the world. Japan is just a country (like any other) and things happen and not.

  6. Chey

    definitely not talking about okinawa. I am so nice to all of my neighbors and everyone out in town, even tried to learn some of the language and learn things about it. My car window has been broken (nothing was in my car), gas cover on my car pryed open, kerosene stolen multiple times, and people are so mean when you smile at them. People are always in a hurry and throwing trash all over. Okinawa is VERY dirty. I tried so hard to love this place but the people have made it so different in how I see Japan. There are some sweet people here, but too little to want to stay. I’ve been almost hit by cars when I have the green cross light SO many times. Either that or they won’t let me cross and keep driving until the cross light turns red again, and I have to wait once more. I came here looking for a fresh start and ready to love this new place I would call home. Makes me sad. I wish I could have experienced real mainland Japan to see if it was better. They just seem really grumpy and mean.

  7. Pradip Pachfule

    I agree with the all of the mentioned things into the article. Within 5 months after arriving here in Japan, I am stunned with the responsible behavior of citizens. Everyone is contributing in keeping the country clean, fraud and crime free. The nature and spirit developed among these people is really wonderful, as everyone thinks about the country. I would like to add few more things such as: No tip culture anywhere in any restaurants, No or very few ticket checkers for buses and trains as everyone takes proper tickets, etc. I have arrived in Japan few months back, I am amazed of seeing the wonderful culture and honesty among Japanese people. I must say that if any country want to grow in all aspects, they must learn the things which common Japanese people follow each day. Loved reading the article.

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