Understanding The Ordinary, Everyday Japanese Lifestyle

No matter how many books and travel blogs you read about Japan, the first thing that will surprise you when you visit the nation for the first time is how extremely serene and tranquil Japanese lifestyle looks to be. Everyday living in Japan is unlike anything you’ve ever encountered. Ever.

Understanding The Ordinary, Everyday Japanese Lifestyle
Georges Seguin (Okki), CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s not difficult to obtain cultural details about Japan, but to truly feel the country’s peace and tranquillity, you must come in person. Only then will you be able to appreciate how the Japanese eat, wash, and follow train etiquette; daily life in Japan is serene and wonderful.

Many Japanese lifestyle customs, attitudes, and personality qualities stem from the fact that Japanese people live in such close quarters in such a congested environment. Every day, Japanese people are crammed into subways and kitchen-sized yakatori bars and sushi restaurants like sardines. At a swimming pool, a dozen lap swimmers may cram into a single lane. 

Marek Slusarczyk, CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Bicyclists and pedestrians compete for space on crowded sidewalks, which are more congested on wet and bright days when umbrellas are in plenty. People would be all over each other, in each other’s faces, and at one other’s throats if there weren’t such rigorous regulations and tremendous demands to follow them.

Because personal space is so scarce in Japan, the idea of privacy is more of a state of mind than a state of being alone. The Japanese are particularly skilled at shutting out the world and creating their own solitude by immersing themselves in a comic book or napping when surrounded by others. However, for some, this is insufficient. Men may be seen napping or reading in their automobiles all throughout Japan, sometimes for hours at a time.

Understanding The Ordinary, Everyday Japanese Lifestyle
Original: IgnisDerivative work: deerstop., CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Japanese eat often and in little amounts. Unlike Westerners, who eat as much as they can and then strive to finish every last piece on their plate in case there is a famine between lunch and supper. This is not acceptable in Japan. You’ll wind up appearing like a jerk, which is the last thing you want. If you want to save face in Japan, read these suggestions on what not to do.

In Japanese culture, individuals only order what they intend to consume. The Japanese take their time, eating slithers of grilled pork beside a dish of perfectly cooked green beans.

Basile Morin, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

When they’re done eating, they order more, but only a little more. They, once again, take their time and consume what is in front of them — slowly and thoughtfully. And so it goes. They eat, then order more because they are still hungry. Until they are completely satisfied. A way of living in Japan that the rest of the world may benefit from embracing.

Presently, the Japanese society is largely metropolitan. Not only do the great majority of Japanese people live in cities, but urban culture is spread throughout the country through a mass media centered in Tokyo. Young urban Japanese, in particular, have become notorious for their ostentatious spending and proclivity for passing trends and fads.

If you liked reading about the Japanese Lifestyle, you’d also love to read about Dawn and her Vanlife.

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