Life in Japan, What Does It Look Like?

Japan is a distant country, geographically and culturally. Even knowing every detail about the Japanese culture is not going to prepare you to adapt to their life style.

Like any experience in a new country, living in Japan can be hard at first, but after immediate the cultural shock is going to be a unique experience.

shitamachiFrom the outside Japan seems a very modern country, but taking a closer look you will notice that ancient traditions are still very present in every aspect of the society. The bright neon lights in Tokyo’s crossroads are only the surface of a city that is still shitamachi.

Concepts like Tatemae and Honne are expressed not only in human relations and in the Japanese etiquette, but also in the urban looks of the cities.

Kyoto is not going to welcome you with old temples, but with one of the biggest and shiniest station of the nation. But, the true soul of the city lies beneath all of the steel and concrete
buildings of the cities living in the historic places that coexist now with the new.

Like in Europe, in Japan past and present are melted together. Old buildings live together with the modern ones reminding everyone where the society comes from. In Japan they are always trying to improve and so if a building is tear down, the new one is going to have the same artistic value.

Living in Japan means first of all understanding the duality in the Japanese culture. Old concepts like mono no aware, the attraction to beauty of the fleeting and delicate withering of the cherry’s flowers, are still alive in the society.

Conbini, izakaya, shinkansen, matsuri, manga, onsen, hanami, 100 Yen Shop, tanabata, omotenashi, wash-let, bento, karaoke, Mount Fuji, onigiri.

Do you know how many of this I knew before going to Japan? Just 4.

Yes, you have read it well. I knew the history, literature and arts but I knew very little about the culture and the daily life. I’m saying all of this so you won’t be demoralized at the beginning when even doing grocery shopping is going to be a hard task but you can never lose the will to learn. You’ll find out soon enough that the respect for others is the most important aspect and we all should learn that.

Here’s what you need to know to live in Japan