Japan How I Loath Thee Series

What? You think I haven't stumble upon things that bug the living daylight out of me? Ha! Again, these are not in order of importance but rather as I chance upon them. This is another work in constant progress as I will keep adding to the list.

1. Space, the painful lack thereof. Apartments here are literally cookie cutter boxes. Boxes, I tell you, boxes! Yes, I shouldn't complain because apartments in NYC are just as boxy and miniature, but that's because, duh, it's NYC! But in Japan it's the general norm, that's what's wrong with this picture. Sure there are larger apartments out in the country side, but not by much. Trust me, I've lived in one.

2. Everything is expensive here. Everything. Food, clothing, name it and pay an arm and a leg for it.

3. It is very wet almost all the time. Even though there are sunny days, when it rains, it rains for days or even weeks at a time and everything gets moldy if you're not careful. Yuck.

4. The lack of public trash cans! This drives me absolutely bonkers sometimes. I understand Japan wants to keep things clean but I'm not sure that goal can be achieved by forcing everyone to carry around their own trash!

5. The forced advertisement in the form of a car/truck blasting whatever it is they're advertising about while driving around in your neighborhood, sometimes as early as 7AM. Politicians would run their campaigns the same way, blasting neighborhoods with their talking points. Seriously, just one day I wish someone would open up their window and shout, "Shut the f*ck up!"

6. Many public restrooms have no soaps! It doesn't matter if you're at the train station out in the boonies or in a swanky shopping mall, still no soap. Urgh, gross!!!

7. How everything is triple and quadruple wrapped in cellophane, box, cellophane again, then wrapping paper! How many layers do they need to wrap a damn cookie?!? Talking about a waste of plastic, paper, and resources in general! Sheesh!

8. As much as I love the great public trust in this country, I do have to admit it is a double-edged sword. As this New York Times op-ed piece sums it up roundly, the general consensus in Japan is that, "What, criminals are dishonest? Unbelievable!" 

2 comments:

Jaki said...

Well I thought quality of many consumer items were high, so being expensive was justifiable? But I have never worked there so not sure how bad inflation is.
Haha I would like to add one. Because of the homogeneity, when there is a holiday, everyone is on holiday. Road trips sometimes take days when otherwise it would only take a few hours. But the plus are having those amazing public rest stops! Public toilets with seat warmers :')

D. said...

Hi Jaki,

Actually the Japanese yen has been going very strong for the past several years. In fact, it's so strong that the Japanese government readjusted the value a couple of times last year to "weaken" it a little, believe it or not.

Quality only explains a small part of the higher retail prices in Japan. And actually, the vast majority of consumer products in Japan (aside from electronics and cosmetics) are made in China anyway. Another major part that raises this retail price is the fact that the Japanese laws and regulations favors corporations and middlemen over the end consumers. Sounds crazy, but it's actually considered a bad business practice when a vendor tries to go directly to its target market and cuts out the middlemen (to reduce cost, become more efficient, etc.). And so in the end, the consumers pay the ultimate price in higher retails.

But I totally agree that the public rest stop are super awesome!!!

D.

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