Top four REAL reasons to move to Japan

Moving to Japan can be a great way to find and then unfind yourself, worship washlet toilets, and fill up on individually packaged ice cream treats every day. However, there are four far better reasons.

traffic signs in Japan

The red sign says STOP and the other ones are self-explanatory, especially the one about crosswalks for men in hats.

(4) exemplary hair elastics

Having long hair means hair elastics.

There's some long hair that is loving a Japanese hair elastic.  Pottery class in Katagami, Akita.

Long hair that is loving a Japanese hair elastic.
Pottery class in Katagami, Akita.

Before Japan, hair elastics were a necessary evil that broke regularly and had to be purchased in bulk. I only wanted one black or brown elastic but had to buy a pack of fourteen including yellow, pink, orange and white or a pack of 30. 30? Really? Who needs 30 hair elastics?!

In Japan, hair elastics made my Muji and other brands can be easily purchased at convenience and grocery stores in groups of ONE or two. They last ages and don’t break without effort. These elastics leisurely stretch and eventually separate after a year or more of daily use. They are soft with just enough tension to hold super thick, course, curly hair with no trouble, wet or dry.

Japanese hair elastics

awesome Japanese hair elastics – even the broken one gets to be in this hall of fame

Everyone with long hair or hair that wants to be long should move to Japan and buy hair elastics and be happy.

(3) reasonably priced razors

sitting in model train seats

Which set of knees used a fabulous Japanese razor?

At least ten years ago, razors started being treated like prescription drugs or expensive electronics in my Canadian city. No longer were they in the same category as antiperspirants or mouthwash. Razors were placed behind alarmed plastic walls.

Choosing a razor became thrilling and stressful. Peering through the plastic, squinting to read tiny print, I pondered two versus three blades or even five and the cunning marketing I was falling for. Finally choosing a three-bladed razor, I lifted the plastic wall to grab it. But wait! Maybe five blades is …. BREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!

Okay! Okay! Three blades it is! The little wall slammed shut, killing the blistering alarm but my heart was still rattling.

Here I was, legitimately trying to buy something yet feeling like I was stealing.

Then I felt like the razor brands were stealing my money with the new outrageous prices. Razors didn’t used to cost so much. What happened??

Luckily, Japanese retailers haven’t caught wind of this price gauging or the surveillance systems that likely prompted the increase. Razors can be bought in packs of 3 for around $5. They don’t rust and fall apart after one use. There are even ones with long handles to shave the hair on your back and special designs for facial hair. They even work!

Japanese razors for women

Just one of many fantastic brands of razors sold in Japan to me!

Please send me some after you get settled in Japan.

(2) increased fingernail growth

Before Japan, my fingernails were a sore point. They were peeling, soft, and an overall disappointment compared to the altered photos in fashion magazines, the obvious gold standard.

If I’d known that all I had to do was move to Japan, I would have high-tailed it there years ago for the sake of emulating hand models.

Ultraman's enemy - pop in Japan

Ultraman’s enemy on a cider pop can.
Eek! I’m still shy about sort of showing my nails.

My newly strong nails were tough enough to clack delightfully on tables, remove slivers like tweezers, and open tabs without tools. They also grew faster than ever before.

What’s the secret?

Fish!

carp in pond in Japan

Not this kind though.
Jibo Kannon, Aizu, Fukushima

Before Japan, I ate fish occasionally. It’s not that I disliked it but I didn’t know how to prepare it.

After discovering the fish grill in my first apartment in Japan, I started buying fish. Eating grilled salmon almost every day in addition to the occasional sushi and fish in pre-made bentos was the key.

A fish a day keeps nail files and clippers busy!

(1) eliminating LIKE from your vocabulary

A: Like, I was really looking forward to, like, moving to Japan because, you know, it’s like such a cool place!

B: I know! Like I was totally into anime and then when I like got that like offer to like go like study like there, it was like the best thing ever!

A: Like that’s so awesome! You are like so lucky. You are going to like love it. I’m like so jealous.

While I can’t be sure my conversational skills were as peppered with “like” as my possibly fictional friends A and B, I probably wasn’t too far off.

Teaching English made me hyper-conscious of how I spoke and what words I used. It’s similar to watching yourself walk. It became almost difficult to talk and that was a good thing.

The first casualty was swearing. While I didn’t swear much before, not hearing it in my daily life was refreshing. As well, coming across as composed and professional is not aided when all you can come up with is an emotion-filled show-off word.

a couple talking

Sarcasm and jokes are no fun if the other person can’t play along.

Sarcasm died, too. This was painful as I love to tease but when the message was taken literally or confused, there was no point.

The last word to disappear was LIKE and thank goodness. If there is one verbal crutch that is used almost as often as inhaling, LIKE is the winner. On the one hand, it slows down conversation, giving your brain time to process. On the other, it’s about as useful as grunting.

The absence of LIKE in my speaking habits was so noticeable and liberating that I worried I wouldn’t be able to sustain this practice after leaving Japan.

I was right.

The only solution is to like move back to Japan.

Stop dog poop sign in Japan

Japanese dogs are considerate. 
Onomichi, Hiroshima

If you have lived in Japan or are like currently lucky enough to reside there like right now, why do you think everyone should move to Japan?

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20 thoughts on “Top four REAL reasons to move to Japan

  1. Agreed on many of these points! 😀 The razors are certainly a refreshing change for sure. ^^ I also have “controlled” my language more, for better or worse. Although sometimes I find that when I’m hanging out with other native speakers, suddenly I’m swearing more than I ever would have before! Maybe holding it all back isn’t so good either, haha! 😄
    I also like the selection of hair elastics hereーand that it’s not a sin to use them! (I draw the line at scrunchies though. ^^)

    Lovely post! 😀

    • Great and thank you! It’s nice to know someone else knows what I’m talking about. 😀 I know what you mean about language use. It depends on your circles, doesn’t it. Do you find that you speak a lot slower still?

      Is it a sin to use hair elastics?? I think the main sin I made was using a PINK hair elastic to match my outfit when my still somewhat fresh boyfriend (eventually hubby) took me to a really fancy dinner for my birthday. Egads!

      As for scrunchies, do you see them in Japan? I can’t remember. I had to find out when they were invented and here’s the first article I read. http://sjhelium.com/2009/09/08/the-history-of-the-scrunchie/ I didn’t know they were around long before the 80s!

      Btw, I do do, do want to comment on your blog but… have you seen the Wizard of Oz? Remember the part where Dorothy throws water on the Wicked Witch? Replace the witch with me and water with Disqus and Noooooo! I’m meeeellllttttiiinnnngggg!! Maybe someday I’ll get over my aversion but for now, I’ll mind-message you comments. Or email?? 😀

      • I speak so slowly. Or when I try to speak fast my words get all jumbled up! T-T

        I think rather than hair elastics being a sin, I see very few adult women (in Sweden at least) with pony tails. In Japan it seems fine so I’m going with “When in Rome…” 😉
        Scrunchies are extremely popular here, and I don’t know why. Or perhaps I do. They’re probably fine when you have long, thick hairーthey look good and “balanced”, but I have really fine hair so they end up overpowering it, haha!

        That scrunchie article was really neat! I had no idea either!

        Awwww, I’m sorry to hear that! Alas, I’ve sold my soul to discus and if I remove it, everything dies. So it will have to stay. Email works, of you’re so inclined! 😀 Would be nice to get mail that’s not work-related, haha! 😀

        • Ha ha ha! Yes, I can understand that. You’re bilingual in Japanese (plus Swedish or others), right??
          Really?! I didn’t know that about Swedish norms for pony tails! That’s so interesting. Do you have any idea why??
          Thanks for the srunchie update! I’ll keep my eyes open the next time. Hey, moving on, what do you think of the kids’ backpack as a fashion accessory? Hubby thinks it’s pretty ridiculous!
          He he he! I’ve heard about disqus being relentlessly invasive. 😀 Well, then, I shall oblige with emails. I’m warning you, when I have five minutes, I write novels. ;D

          • Pretty much trilingual, though once upon a time I could speak French as well (my parents live in France)… but sigh. It’s use it or lose it, and I…definitely lost it. I understand fine, but I end up blurting out Japanese words and people look at me weirdly. 😛 I guess you had to learn French at school though, right? Being Canadian and all. Did that stick? 🙂

            I really don’t know why the pony tail thing is the way it isーmaybe it’s too simple? Too little effort vs a braid, or something else? I’ll have to look into it. 🙂

            Hmm, do you mean a specific style of backpack? As in the randoseru?? Is that a thing? Have I missed it? 😄 If it’s just about small backpacks in general I guess they can be kind of cute. ^^

            Woo! Sounds like me (as maybe you can tell from my ridiculously long comments…)! Looking forward to it! 😀

            • Fantastic! When did you start learning Japanese? I agree about using it or the language holes into a dark corner of my brain. As for French, I took it for six years in school and of course, see it on packaging every day. 😀 But no real knowledge has stuck. In grade 10, I switched to German and stuck with that for four years but again, it’s barely simmering. Then Finnish during my uni exchange and then Thai when I was volunteering for a bit and now Japanese for the last 8 years, but never seriously. I learn best through listening. My fav time was before I knew anything (yes – I was one of THOSE people who showed up in Japan with NO knowledge of Japanese), wandering around the streets near work and listening to conversations and trying to figure out where words started and stopped. I WANT to be better but I haven’t put in the hours of study so everything I know has been picked up through exposure and repetition.

              Braids trump pony tails?? Wild! I must know the answer!!!

              Yup. The randoseru. I’ll have to find the link that hubs showed me. It’s a little nutty!

              Excellent! A kindred spirit at last! ;D

              • Wow, you’ve had a stab at quite a variety of languages! 😀
                No shame in going/coming to Japan without language skillz! I didn’t really speak the first time I came, and though I tried to learn I found it too hard: textbook Japanese vs Osaka-ben made it feel like I was learning two languages at once half the time! So I gave up on the textbook and went Osaka-style. Then when I left and decided to study properly, I had to “forget” Osaka-ben or my teacher would get annoyed…and now it’s lost . T-T

                I’ll definitely look into the braids/pony tail thing 😀

                Hmm, will Google the randoseru trend too, fascinating! (But they’re so expensive! You could easily get a designer bag for the same amount!?)

                • Yes! And I’m generally poor in all! 😀 ha ha ha!
                  I’m going to blog about the reason I came to Japan. I feel like I’m in a minority but perhaps I’m massaging my ego. 😀 Anyway, I had no real interest in Japan. I hadn’t spent years salivating over anime and manga. I wasn’t into cute. In fact, cute and pink were bad before I went to Japan. My reasons were selfish (snowboarding) and practical (an apparently established ESL world). And hubby talks about Osaka-ben. His last company in Japan was filled with Osaka folk and the first few weeks on the job felt like he’d transferred countries.
                  I know! But they are so practical. How many bags last 6 years or more?!

                  • Ooh, I’ll look forward to that post! Ditto though, about the first time moving to Japan. I had Japanese friends and had traveled here once before and thought “Hmm, this seems nice” and it kind of snowballed from there, hehe.
                    Do you still snowboard? I could never get into it (well, okay… I tried once and gave upーdidn’t want to waste the day lying in the snow when I could ski just fine… was a hit to the ego, too!).
                    I miss Osaka-ben! I’m really curious about the dialects that are generally considered incomprehensible. Would be cool to learn them… Next challenge perhaps!?

                    True, they last (almost) forever, don’t they! And I found out on a TV show the other day why they’re so wide and sturdy at the backーif a child (I’m presuming 1-3rd grade size anyway) falls backwards, the randoseru will cushion their fall and keep their head from hitting the ground. Or at least not as hard. That was pretty neat, I thought!

                    • That sounds interesting! I love hearing stories of how people ended up in Japan or really small towns in Canada. !!
                      My board has been hung up and my (trashed) boots retired. It hurts too much to fall now. 😀 Yup! Boarding is terribly painful physically and psychologically until one day, everything clicks and off you go. I wasn’t spectacular but my skill was improving a lot in the year before I moved to Japan and I wanted to keep it up. The snow in Japan is dreamy, isn’t it?!
                      Yes! Go for it! I picked up some interesting Akita-ben habits that came across as ultra rude in Tokyo, according to hubby. I’m really interested in the languages and/or dialects (? still confused about diffs) spoken by Ainu, Aomori women in their 80s+ and in Okinawa.
                      Seriously?! That’s toooo funny and so Japanese, in one sense. Hubby said he *hated* his randoseru whereas another young relative was thrilled when the special bag was presented just before school started a few years back. I think it’s a really cool accessory.

    • Thanks! Yes, ponytails/elastics are such a big deal if you use them regularly. I have had to stoop to using a plain old rubber band occasionally but with great trepidation since removing one of those from my hair is sooo painful. Yes! The Japan ones are fantastic and perhaps other countries make excellent ones, too! How is the selection in Europe?

  2. Love, love, love the picture of the fish!! – Their little wide-open months saying ‘Feed me! Feed me!’

    I hear ya about the ponytail holders. It is the same in Taiwan – you can purchased them everywhere and conveniently located near the check-out counter!

    I had no idea that buying razors in Canada was such a big deal now – but then again, I don’t think I have ever purchased razors there in 15 years, so I guess I wouldn’t know!

    • Ha ha ha! Isn’t it awful?! 😀 I love it too but Hitoshi always says EWWWWWWW. I even have an awesome video. Maybe I’ll post that instead of the photo in this post. 😀

      Oh ya. I’m cannot stand elastics/holders from Canada. Btw, thanks for using “ponytail holder”. I forgot about that phrase! Anyway, I forgot to pick up extra during the last trip and my holdout broke (the one in the photo) right after we got back from Japan earlier this year. Nooooo! I stomped off to London Drugs and bought a “small” pack of 8 elastics that have this horrid actual elastic bit, just like a rubber band, twisted alongside fabric. Terrible idea. They hurt like crazy! My in-laws sent me two reasonable packs of two elastics each… and then I cut my hair off. 😀

      I know! When I left Canada, razors were not a big deal. I bought the same kind for years with reusable cartridges, moved to Japan and found a brand that had the same concept, moved back to Canada and went into shock. I was so horrified by the cost of razors and that stupid alarmed set-up that I refused to buy razors. My sister thought *I* was being stupid and bought me some for Christmas. 🙂 I think she told me that razors were the most stolen good, hence the price increase and the alarms.

      Is there any beauty product in Taiwan that you can’t imagine living without now???

      • Actually, I get most of my make-up for free. My husband’s good friend is a manager at a company making cosmetic containers which also is responsible for filling as well, so I get some of the well-known expensive brand name makeup for free (I don’t want to say the name just in case).

        • Neat! Sounds like Hitoshi and I in Japan. We got our spices and some other food for free. 😀 Another relative works for a food delivery company and gets all kinds of free stuff.

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