Apr 17, 2018

5 ways Japan has changed me

I've lived in Japan almost five years now, and one thing I’ve noticed are the ways that the country has changed me. Mostly for the good, I think - but there have been some definite changes in my personality and my overall mindset in that time. Here are 5 of the many ways that the land of the rising sun has made me a different person.

I know what a queue is now

Let me rephrase that. I always knew what a queue was - but Japan takes queuing to the next level. In Australia, a busy restaurant or cafe might tell you to come back in 15 minutes and they’ll have a table free. In Japan? Waiting is a whole different ball game. I remember once wanting to try out a pancake restaurant in Omotesando and being told the queue was about two and a half hours long. Now don’t get me wrong - I love pancakes - but I don’t love them enough to wait that long for them!

Late (or infrequent) public transport is a cause of frustration

Back home in Melbourne, there’s a bit of a running joke about the state of the train network. Trains are almost always late, and the frequency of them is nowhere near what you’d expect in Tokyo -- where 2-3 minutes is often a standard wait time. Now when trains are late here in Japan I’m often like “what is going on?!!” instead of “no surprises there!” like I would be back home. The price you pay for extreme efficiency, I suppose!

I can tell you what’s in bloom in just about any month

I’ve always been someone who enjoyed nature and the outdoors, but Japan has really amplified that. I get legitimately excited about flower festivals and other events that showcase the beauty that this country has to offer. There’s something to look forward to at just about every time of the year, and Japan’s intense appreciation of nature has increased my own exponentially.

5 ways Japan has changed me photo

From a trip to Shimoda a couple of years back - the hydrangeas are one of my most loved flowers here!
My own personal safety for belongings is lax at best

One thing I’m sure that many of us do when we go to a cafe or restaurant here is pop our bag down at a table to reserve our spot. Anywhere else in the world, I’d venture to say this would be a one way ticket to bye bye valuables-ville. Not so in Japan. I’ve had friends leave their iPads and phones on trains and buses and still managed to get them back - same goes for wallets full of cash. The honesty here is refreshing, but I do sometimes worry that I’ve been lulled into a false sense of security that may not translate as well when I’m potentially living somewhere other than Japan.

I'm a fruit snob

Japan to me has some of the best fruit on the face of the planet. When I first moved here I balked at paying basically $2 for a single apple, or $7-$8 for a punnet of strawberries - but now? I've come to the realization that it's worth it, since they're the crispiest apples and most flavorsome strawberries I've ever had the pleasure of enjoying. In saying that, you're not going to see me paying 10,000 yen for a fancy-schmancy watermelon anytime soon!

What are some of the ways Japan has changed you - and have they been for better or worse? I’d love to see your own posts on the topic!



After spending the last several years in the beating heart of Tokyo, I will be spending the next three in the countryside of Japan. I adore this country and all it has to offer - and I'm always learning more and more about life here as I go along!


  • edthethe

    on Apr 17

    I waited in the rain for two hours for eggs and things! Best wait ever! Group of my favorite people all laughing joking then enjoying some food. Speaking of lines, Costco had an hour long wait for chicken over the weekend

  • genkidesu

    on Apr 17

    @edthethe oh man! the one in harajuku ALWAYS has a line if that's the one you went to! and costco on a weekend here seriously gives me stress! i sent my husband on a sunday once when we lived in tokyo and he was like never again! ever!