By the time I was in 8th grade, I knew that I wanted to move to America. I ended up going to college in America and I have lived here over half of my life. When I first left Japan, I felt a sense of bitterness about growing up as a hafu. I was relieved when I moved to California and didn’t have to deal with the pressure of being hafu. I was definitely homesick because at times because all my family and friends were back home but at the same time I was enjoying my new experiences in America.
Over the years, my perceptions toward Japan have changed a lot. Living in a completely different western society made me appreciate certain things about Japan. I wouldn’t have appreciated these things unless I moved to America. I visit my family in Japan every other year at least and every time I go home, I really embrace the goodness of Japan.
In this article, I want to talk about five things that I really miss about living in Japan.
Cleanliness: Japan is very clean. Everywhere you go, you almost never see people throwing trash in the street. As part of school education, children have to clean their school. Foreigners are often surprised to see how clean it is in big cities. You don’t see graffiti anywhere either. Another interesting thing is that there aren’t many trashcans outside in Japan. My Japanese friends would just take their trash home so they can throw it away at home.
Safety: In America, I drive everywhere and even during the daytime, I wouldn’t feel safe walking in certain areas alone. When I was a student, there were multiple of sexual assaults and armed robbery in my neighborhood so I can’t be too careful in America. Of course, we still have to be cautious even in Japan, but I feel pretty safe even at night time in Japan. I miss just walking to the convenience store at night.
Shopping: Shopping is a lot of fun in Japan. In America, the majority of major department stores are pretty much monopolized so you would see the same brands such as GAP, Express, Victoria Secret, Macys, Nordstrom..but in Japan, there are smaller retail stores that will make your shopping experience very unique. There are so many stores selling super cute miscellaneous goods, and they are everywhere.
Food: America does not have displayed realistic looking plastic food in their restaurants like Japanese restaurants do. I think this is a clever idea especially for foreign tourists who have been increasing in numbers over the years. Also contrary to popular belief that Japanese people only eat rice, sushi, miso soup, and sushi, there are all kind of restaurants there. I really enjoy eating authentic Udon, Hakata Ramen while enjoying pasta and cheesecake.
Convenience stores: Convenience stores in Japan literally have everything. It’s clean, the store clerks are polite. Most of them open for 24 hours. Convenience store such as seven eleven is a joke in America. They sell coffee, donuts and junk food! And they are definitely not clean! Japanese convenience stores sell high quality products at times
These are the things that really miss about living in Japan. I am sure that I have more but it is interesting because I had taken these for granted until after I left Japan and started to live in Japan. Life in America offers its own good and I guess there is no perfect place. We have to weigh the pros and the cons.