5 things I didn’t know I couldn’t live without before living in Japan
Written by Jeff

My favorites Japan-only things!

You don't realise how precious something is, until you lose it!

Before coming to Japan, I was perfectly content with my life in my home country. After living here however, there are certain things that I miss every time I visit a foreign country. Here is a short list of things for you to try/ discover when you visit Japan!

1 - Kotatsu

If you didn’t already know, a Kotatsu is like a table with a heater and a blanket built into it.

During cold winters, nothing is more heavenly than having a nice warm kotatsu ready, and you sticking your legs underneath it for warmth. On top, you could have a nice meal, or even play mahjong or other games.

On the downside, because it feels so good, many people have been known to end up wasting an entire day in the kotatsu, because they didn’t feel like getting up from it.

Basically, imagine feeling like you do in a warm bed, except in a living room with other people.

image source: dudeiwantthat

2 - Japanese Convenience stores

Japanese Convenience stores take service to the next level. Aside from almost always being open 24 hours, Japanese convenience stores provide a much larger range of service than many other countries, and with a better attitude too.

Here is a list of some of the things you can do at a Japanese convenience store.

-Buy insurance

-Buy(delicious) food prepared there which isn’t just reheated (Oden, Deep fried food, steamed buns etc.)

-Buy tickets for concerts, buses, disneyland, (almost anything)

-Pick up/ send packages

-Conduct payment for bills or online shopping

-Print photos/ documents

-Pre-order games, cakes, etc.

Note: Having personally worked at a Japanese convenience store before, I understand how difficult it can be even for people that work there, to keep up with all the latest services provided. So, please be nice if it takes the store clerk a few minutes to catch up.

image source: japan times

3 - Delivery

Japan’s service has always been known to be at a higher level than other countries, and one of the best examples is with delivery. The basic concept is the same, but with a polish that almost puts it into a different dimension of quality. First of all, the speed is absolutely amazing. Best case scenario, you can even get a package you ordered from amazon in the morning, at your house by the evening of the same day. 

Secondly, you can not only order delivery to homes and convenience stores, but you can also order them to pickup your package to be delivered, from your home or convenience stores. 

Furthermore, if you don’t happen to be home, many Japanese homes come equipped with a ‘delivery box’ which the delivery person can use to store your package outside your home, and you can pick up afterwards. Gone are the days where your packages are stolen because they weren’t hidden properly, or where you’d have to request delivery again.

Finally, if you need to send something to someone, but don’t want to pay the delivery fee, you can request for payment on delivery, in which the recipient pays the delivery fee in cash, to the delivery person. An extension of this service is also available for if you are selling a product via the mail, for the person to pay the price of the product in cash to the delivery person, which is later transferred to you.

….Delivery people of Japan, I salute you,.

image source: inside evs

4 - Electronic toilet seats

Everyone know that Japanese toilets are Hi-Tech, but what can they do exactly?

Aside from the infamous seat warming functionality, Hi-tech Japanese toilets also come with a built in bidet to wash your ass for you. High-end toilet seats would even have settings for you to choose the temperature and water pressure at which you’d like your ass to be washed at. Some models even come with a warm air drying function, to maximise the comfort of your ass with natural air drying, rather than you having to wipe off the excess moisture. To top it all off, Most of them come with a smell reduction function, which rids much of the foul smells that came from your excrement, to ensure the next user can also have a pleasant experience.

Thank you, Japanese toilets, for always putting up with my sh*t.

image source: european cleaning journal

5 - Vending machines (everywhere)

I’m not here to talk about the vending machines that sell panties, sim cards, or even bananas. The fact that “Japan’s vending machines sell everything” is extremely well-known, but in reality, most people still only use them for food and drinks. What is often overlooked however, is just how convenient they are in Japan.

There are over 5 million vending machines in Japan, which is one for almost every 23 people. It is extremely difficult for you to find a single street in Tokyo without a vending machine in sight, and most have recycle bins next to them to collect the empty containers.

Aside from having the basic choices of water and soft drinks, many of them also serve hot drinks, with hot coffee and tea being the savior of many in winter. Furthermore, a personal favorite of this writer, is the corn potage. Japan has begun embracing the culture of drinking soup kept in soft drink cans, and this has given birth to a variety of miso soups, corn soups, and even red-bean desserts. A warm can of corn potage is truly a heaven sent gift, and the perfect little reward for anyone needing a pick-me-up on their way home from work.

image source: medium

Have you ever lived in Japan? What would you miss? Let us know on our facebook page!