Culture shock when traveling in Japan

Another travel experience from one of my students:

In Japan, people were prohibited from smoking on the street, whereas in Korea men often smoke on the street. When I saw their little smoking areas, i was shocked to see so many women smoking because in Korea you usually see men smoking in public. But then I went to a fast food restaurant and people could smoke in there. I was shocked again.

Then I could barely find anybody who spoke English. Tokyo is a major city but they don’t know the international language.

Then I learned that taxis have automatic doors and drivers don’t like it when passengers touch the door. And taxis are about three times more expensive in Japan than in Korea.

Then I went to a bar. First I was surprised that I had to pay for my beer in advance. In Korea you pay when you leave. Then I was shocked that they wanted 500 yen for a water – it should be free in Korea. Then they closed at midnight. In Korea, we start drinking at midnight and many bars will just close when the last customer leaves – maybe 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning.

In conclusion, my first day in Japan shocked me four times and surprised me a few more times (the huge gambling halls, people riding bikes to work, paying for side dishes, eating ginger like Koreans eat kimchi, people dressed up like animation characters, and people being extremely polite).

Filed Under: Cultural differencesVacation experiences

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