Nov 15, 2016

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly Ways to Live in Japan (The Bad)

So we looked at the good ways to live in Japan in the last article. Now it is time for the bad.

10) Cycling

Actually, cycling is a great way to get around Japan as it beats the overcrowded commuter trains that they have here. However, it makes the bad list for a few reasons. The first reason is that all bikes in Japan must have a number plate and be registered to cycle on the road. So the system itself is not a bad idea. It can make your bike easier to track, if it gets stolen. The downside is that the paperwork is all in kanji, and it is not easy kanji either. If you are on your own buying a bike, then you may struggle with the registration details.

The problem with owning a bike here is where do you park it when you are out and about. There are a lot of signs up over the city saying you can't park here or there, and there are parking lots for your bicycle. However, Japan has a bike over population issue that can make it very difficult for you to park your bike. It has become so much of a problem that they have been considering the possibility of building underground parking lots too.

Cycling can be increasingly frustrating. Japan have a 'strict' cycling law. However, they have no cycling on the pavement system. It is a cycle and hope that you don't crash into anybody system. There are allocated cycling and predestination spots, but nobody follows them making the risk of an accident a lot higher.

Another common thing to see recently is cyclist playing Pokémon Go whilst cycling!!

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly Ways to Live in Japan (The Bad) photo

9) Hygiene

Japan is quite particular about hygiene. They like to be clean and not sweaty. So much so that they will take countless showers a day just to stay fresh. However, they do not really believe in covering up body odor with the use of deodorant, hence the countless showers. So finding deodorant that is large and good quality is pointless. When you do find it, the quality is poor, the size is small, and it is very expensive. 

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly Ways to Live in Japan (The Bad) photo 

This bottle is a 40ml bottle and it cost me about ¥600!! That is three times as much as I would pay in my own native country!

8) Hand Washing

Let's stick with the hygiene. Hand washing is a bit of a palaver in this country. Any high end bathroom in Japan will always have soap and paper towels. However, don't let yourself get caught short. If you are out and about using a public bathroom, then the chances of you finding a sink with handsoap and paper towels is virtually zero. They like to keep the trash down, and they will not provide it. Most Japanese people are accustomed to taking their own hand towels to dry their hands, but no soap. It is a little bit of a problem - in my opinion - that is how bugs are spread around. Even alcoholic hand gel can be hard to come by.

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly Ways to Live in Japan (The Bad) photo

7) No Garbage Cans!

This is more irritating than anything. The lack of garbage cans on the street can be a big pain. It is logical as to why it is done, but that means you can be carrying it around all day with you, if you can't find one. All convenience stores, parks, and train stations have them, but you will not find any on the street.

6) Small Apartments

Don't ever be deceived by a picture of an apartment in Japan. It is a lie. Most apartment (in particular the ones in the city) are small, pokey, and over priced with a severe lack of storage space. You are better off living just outside of the city, even if that means a longer commuting route. 

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly Ways to Live in Japan (The Bad) photo

Small utility area.

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly Ways to Live in Japan (The Bad) photo

This was my first ever kitchen here. It was smaller than my current kitchen. However, this apartment was 24 square metres with a high ceiling. It also cost ¥56,000. 

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly Ways to Live in Japan (The Bad) photo

This was taken the same day I moved into my current place. It is 21 square metre and costs ¥85,000 without bills.

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly Ways to Live in Japan (The Bad) photo

This was my first bedroom. It is called a loft. The plus side to this was that my living area was big.

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly Ways to Live in Japan (The Bad) photo

My living and sleeping area now. 

I first lived in a Leo Palace 21. It was a company apartment, but I got lucky with the size. It taught me a lot about apartments in Japan. Check out my video tour. 

5) Service

It is sure great to have a nice service, but there is too much formality to the service here, and everything takes so long. I am someone who really values my time. So I would rather not be asked if I have this or that, and do I want this or that. I know they are paid to do this, but it is due to this that I prefer to do my gift wrapping at home.

4) Allergies

Catering for allergies is small here. Especially lactose intolerant. You have to really hunt for allergen specific foods. Especially when there are no symbols on it.

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly Ways to Live in Japan (The Bad) photo

3) Abandoned Items from Store Clerks

The shopping isles are small in Japan. One of the things that is really bad is how things are just left blocking the way. You want to pick up your packet of noodles, but you can't get to it because there is a cart full of boxes of heavy tins in the way. You aren't allowed to move it because of health and safety and the attendant, who is supposed to be manning the cart, is out of sight. I nearly became a cropper in the ¥100 shop once, because the clerk left a step ladder out of my field of vision. 

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly Ways to Live in Japan (The Bad) photo

2) Mobile / Cell Phones

Japanese people love their gadgets. They always have to be up to date on the latest gadget. This includes their communication device. It makes the bad list, because they are so engrossed in their phones and social media that they forget where they are. They walk around head down in their phone. They meet for dinner, but don't talk and just play on their phones. Social media is killing socialization here. 

1) Commuting Trains

This could very well make the ugly list too. The trains are effiecent yes, but at the price of stuffing too many people on a train. They hire people to push people onto crowded trains at the risk of health and safety. One of the funniest things I have seen was when I was on a jammed packed midnight train. The alarm rings to announce the train was leaving, and this man ran down and tried to jump onto the train instead of waiting for the next one. The wall of people was so great that he bounced backwards and fell over. Being British, I laughed. I couldn't stop. My other half was whispering in my ear to stop laughing, and that just made me worse.

Another dislike about trains that I have here, is that people are desperate to be on their phones that they wedge their heads down between the shoulders of commuters and use those shoulders to steady themselves.

One of the funniest things about catching a train in Japan is how they all line up in an orderly fashion waiting for the train. Then (especially if it is the first station) as soon as the door opens they don't give the passengers much chance to elite when they run and push people out of the way to get a seat. They sit down, head straight in the phone, and act like they didn't do it. I have seen people who were at the back of the queue suddenly run forward and jump in just to get a seat.

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly Ways to Live in Japan (The Bad) photo

So that is the bad covered. What about the ugly?



A twenty year old something, who came to experience working life and travel in Japan. What will she experience? What will she see? What will she do? Find out in this amazing travel blog and Jvlog!
I also have a daily updated Facebook Page! https://www.facebook.com/smallgirlbigjapan


  • Brader

    on Nov 15

    kinda miss the train in switzerland eh?

  • smallbigjapan

    on Nov 15

    I would miss the trains in Switzerland, but I'm from the U.K. lol @Brader

  • Brader

    on Nov 16

    @smallbigjapan , lol the london subway must be not so crowded, but most of asian transportation system is horribly crowded, i dont know about train system in UK, but train system in switzerland or luxembourg must be not that crowded

  • smallbigjapan

    on Nov 17

    It depends which train system you're using, and the time of day in the U.K. @Brader

  • kcsantosh

    on Dec 9

    Woooo!! A lot of informations