How common is smoking in Japan

Japan is extreme in every way. As a European you are overwhelmed at the beginning, not only visually, but also culturally. Here are my personal top 10 surprises and facts about Japan after three weeks.

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Facts about Japan - Communicative Japanese

Despite the known restraint and courtesy, I was from the during my three-week trip to JapanThe Japanese enjoy communicatingsurprised, even to strangers. Just sit down at the counter in a restaurant or bar and you get into conversation pretty quickly, even if communication can be exhausting due to a lack of English.

Facts about Japan - Discipline in the subway

The BVG video I don't care seems pretty stupid after the trip. Such behavior is out of the question in Japan. The pictures of the squeeze in the Tokyo subway are true. Instead, the Japanese do without annoying ringtones and even more annoying phone calls. Not to mention the musty kebab or the stale Molle. Eating and drinking in the subway is simply not something you do out of consideration. As a reward, there is always flawless internet reception even deep underground.

Facts about Japan - the last bastion for smokers

On my trip to Japan, I felt like I was transported back to the 70s, when the HB male was still beaming from the television. Smoking is allowed in almost all restaurants and bars. But walking around with the butt in hand or taking a deep drag somewhere in the corner, again, that is not the right thing to do. Smoking outdoors is only allowed in specially designated areas and this is strictly adhered to with Japanese discipline.

Update December 2020: Due to the upcoming Olympic Games, among other things, smoking is increasingly being banned from public spaces. In many bars and small restaurants, smoking is still partly allowed.

Facts about Japan - Perfection in the land of Kaizen

Perfection seems to be an important part of Japanese culture. That even surpasses the German thoroughness. Everything seems well thought out and perfectly organized. Starting with the rubbish bag that you get with your snack in the train compartment to the High-tech toilet with built-in seat heating, for which you almost need an instruction manual to use them. [Kaizen:Strive for continuous and infinite improvement]

Facts about Japan - Always a toilet in sight

Speaking of high-tech toilets, Japan probably has them highest density of public toilets worldwide. In every subway station, every department store or park there is a toilet every 100 meters. And they are a) always free of charge and b) generally well looked after.

Facts about Japan - Bowing to the customer

The conductor on the Shinkansen high-speed train bows to the passengers in the compartment after successfully checking the ticket. On the zebra crossing, the pedestrian bows to the driverthat lasts - unthinkable in Berlin. Before departure, the crew at the gate - including the flight captain - bows to his passengers. The customer is Godas they say in Japan.

Facts about Japan - claws taboo

Japanese cities are considered to be the safest in the world. It seems completely normal to leave your handbag or laptop bag unattended in a café to get a drink. And: you can assume that nothing will be missing in the end. The phenomenon seems to be due to the Japanese culture. You can find a good article on this in the FAZ. In other countries, where big cities and tourist strongholds attract petty criminals like magnets, this is unthinkable.

Facts about Japan - tattoos undesirable

I'm tattooed myself and it came as a surprise to me. Although Japan has a long tradition of body painting, there are Tattoos not socially acceptable in public. This can be a problem both at work and in private life. In the traditional baths (onsen) one often has no entrance with tattoos or has to cover them. The best thing to do is to ask the operator beforehand whether it is allowed or not. You can find a good contribution to this in ZEIT.

Facts about Japan - Not that expensive at all

Aha? When I was in Tokyo for the first time 12 years ago, the price level was on par with London or Paris. Due to the fall of the yen, quite a few Products and services cheaper than in Germany. Eating out in particular is significantly lower. Even accommodation in city centers is affordable if booked in good time. However, renting an apartment and taxi rides are still expensive, whereas train and local transport are priced around the German level.

Update December 2020: Prices in Japan have increased, especially due to the VAT increase in 2019. However, the price level is still within reasonable limits and is well below that in Scandinavian countries, for example.

Facts about Japan - omnipresent manga

I thought it was a myth, but Manga is really part of everyday culture. And manga doesn't just mean comics and films, it is an art and way of life that is consumed and lived by all social classes and age groups. It can be admired most impressively in the National Manga Museum in Kyoto or in the streets of Tokyo, where the outfits of many young people are reminiscent of the aesthetics of the cartoon characters.