Six weeks of working in Japan, a review

What I like and what makes it easy for me to come back

  • The people in general. Everyone is very polite (even if I don’t understand anything), and you smile at each other, unlike in Germany.
    Personalized chopsticks, although buying them can be as complicated as choosing the right wand at Harry Potter.
  • Tidiness and order everywhere. Even when you get on the bus, everyone is well behaved, nobody pushes. On escalators, you always stand on the left side, the right side remains free for those who don’t want to stand and are in a hurry. Another aspect of this is the tidiness everywhere. Even small alleyways are not dark, dirty, full of potholes and smudged, but inviting and pretty.
  • The food. In ninety percent of the cases I have no idea what my colleagues have ordered for me, but it is delicious and well prepared without exception. By the way, there are not as many “foreign” ingredients as you might think. However, Asian food at home will have a hard time competing.
    The unusual side of fashion. On the one hand there is a lot of tone in tone and a tendency to oversized clothes, on the other hand the Japanese dare something (or probably don’t care what others think). This starts with daring pattern combinations, goes over coloured contact lenses and doesn’t end with questionable headgear in the form of pink pigs…
  • The landscape. No matter in which direction, whether around Mount Fuji, in the direction of Nagano or Kyoto or Osaka, I could discover a great hilly landscape from the train. With the cherry blossom it was fantastic, of course, and meanwhile everything becomes rich green.
  • The Japanese understanding of entertainment. Karaoke bars everywhere – I hope we can visit one during our next stay.
  • The much praised punctuality. I don’t have to say much, it’s just true. And Deutsche Bahn should ask for their secret.
  • The working culture. Although I work in an international environment, you still get in touch with the local customs. For example, business cards (everyone always has enough in their pocket) are handed over with both hands and a bow. The lower ranked one always bends a little bit lower. The seating arrangement in conference rooms is also culturally influenced. Even if no such strict rules apply in the company for which I am here, in a purely Japanese environment the highest in the hierarchy would sit at the head end of the table, so that “foot folk” may remain at the lower end.
  • Funny safety instructions. For example in the spa – “please use the hair dryer only for human hair” or in the airplane during the security announcement at ANA – “it is forbidden to take pictures during the evacuation”.

What I miss or what I can’t really make friends with

  • No rubbish bins in the public space. i.e. on the street or elsewhere, only next to some of the numerous beverage vending machines – at least you don’t die of thirst (there is certainly a very special logistics behind that).
  • Reserve seats in the train. Seats have to be reserved at the counter, after queuing for half an hour for a 30 second transaction. Nothing works online. At least not on the English side. The colleagues report however that they already have this option in the Japanese version of the Website.
  • Plastic. Even the bananas in the supermarket are wrapped in foil. The packaging rage of the Japanese even goes so far that a pack of Sushi (already packed in itself, if you take it out of the refrigerated shelf, which you can do without hesitation, it is simply very good everywhere) is packed in another bag, so that “nothing will leak”, before you finally put it into the regular carrier bag. If you want to add a bag of ice for cooling, so that the purchased goods remain fresh during transport, this is of course wrapped in an additional bag. One can exaggerate…
  • Cute pets in shop windows. On not even half a square meter of a Plexiglas box you can find all kinds of cute puppies, kittens, bunnies and so on. They’re puppies and other animal babies all together, otherwise they would not fit into these anyway already unworthy boxes. Very sad to look at and I would love to adopt them all immediately (if there weren’t very strict exit laws for local animals, if I had time, if we had room etc.).

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