10 Things I Find Strange In Japan (From the Filipino’s viewpoint)

Today I wanna introduce a really interesting article for me, Japanese, to all people being interested in JAPAN.

The article below was written by my great friend, Rochelle, coming from Philippine and now working in Japan. Since I believe that there are many things in Japan that you find strange at first, I asked her to write about these “Weird things she found in Japan“. We have a distinct culture, a long independent history, and a morality, which is attractive for some foreigners and uncomfortable for others.

Maybe some of you would like to come to Japan in the future for business, sightseeing, or making friends. So, I and Rochelle hope that  the article will be helpful for you!

So here is Rechelle!


Strangely beautiful Japan!

I am living in Japan for just a little over 7 months and will soon be leaving in a few months. Therefore these points of view come from my not so experienced eyes!

To make sense of these observations, I also included some comparisons of what most foreigners would consider as normal.

1. Japanese people love silence.

The streets are very quiet (Major cities being an exception). It is encouraged to not use cellphones inside trains. Even at workplace environments, the only thing one can hear will be the ones coming from the machines. Music inside cars are limited to tolerable humdrum, anything more than that will be URUSAI (noisy!).

In other countries, talking on cellphones inside trains are normal. There is music in the workplace and music inside cars are sometimes in full volume it can be heard across the streets.

silent japan

2. Boyfriends/Girlfriends are unnecessary

I asked a younger colleague one time if he has a girlfriend and he immediately responded no, as it is “IRANAI”! Unnecessary. He was just 22 years old, young and supposed to be enjoying life and dating!

In other countries, people start having serious girlfriends/boyfriends relationships at 14!

3. Everything is expensive!

People in Japan are one of the luckiest peoples on Earth as they live above poverty line. The benefits provided by the government are great! However, one thing I noticed is that they think of everything as expensive. Thereby, they do not spend much. When my boss gave out presents at our year end party, he blurted out “TAKAI YO”, “its expensive you know”, as if the receiver should be proud having received such a gift.

In other countries, the price tags are taken off regardless of the price!

4. It is embarrassing to help older people.

I was helping an old colleague around 70 years old at work and she immediately whisked me away saying she can do it herself. Another incident occured when I offered a seat to an elder lady in the train. She says to not bother offering her a seat as she is still GENKI(strong!) and likes to stand.

In other countries, people stops working at 65. Older people glare at younger ones for not offering them seats in public transport.


5. People are VERY POLITE!

That they tend to do all they could even outside their capacity to do so! In autumn, I went into a private residence that offers twice a year viewing of their garden and I went there a day late of schedule. I asked the caretaker if he can let me in for a minute. Though, it is against the rules he let me in despite his colleagues disapproval. In another incident, I asked for directions and the gentleman who helped me did more than what was expected! He accompanied me to where I needed to go!

6. Rules are rules. Honesty is the highest form of policy.

This is supposed to be the norm but Japanese people does not consider bending any rules. Maybe some just very slightly (see number 5). But the Japanese people pay the government their taxes according to whats due.

In some other countries, people manipulate income to avoid paying due taxes. And bend rules according to how it suits them.

7. Restaurant receipts are given shortly after you receive your order.

This is considered rude in other countries. In other countries, the restaurant waits for the customer to ask for the bill. Even waiting long after the meal is finished.

Personally, when I first experienced it I thought that the restaurant wants us to hurry eating and leave as soon as we finish the meal and pay right away!

Japanese restaurant

8. All of the JIDO-HANBAIKI (vending machines!)

These machines are in every corner of the street! Inside factories and outside gates of private homes. There is a warm or cold beverage option. I cant imagine Japan without the JIDO-HANBAIKIs!


9. They don’t like sweets very much.

Well at least majority of the Japanese people I have met. Their cakes doesnt have as much sweetness as the ones Ive eaten before. And no, I dont even have a sweet-tooth.


10. The thin and almost irritating voices of cashiers and store attendants.

They tend to have the same high pitch voices. At first I thought it was the natural voice of the guy behind the counter. But after having visited more stores I concluded that these voices were part of training. Or is it?

shop attendance


These “strangeness” of Japan I love and hate at the same time.

I love them because these things made Japan for what it is now. Their culture have survived and remained strong despite the influx of the more “modern” influences! I hate them for these are the very ones my own country doesnt have.

I hope my country will have the same strength of Japan’s love of their own. 



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