20 American Culture Shocks to Japanese Tourists

Published on April 3, 2018 by Chris

Americans visiting Japan are often hit by a culture shock and the same happens to Japanese visiting the USA just in different areas. Japan is known for being clean, so they cringe at dirty places, shoes indoors, and poor housekeeping. 1 – Toilets do not have a bidet function Nearly every toilet in Japan is equipped with a Washlet, a toilet seat with a built in bidet, that washes, drys, makes water sounds, absorbs odor.

2 – Taxi doors open manually
After the taxi pulls up they may stare at it, waiting for the door to open. In Japan it opens automatically!

3 – Serious lack of vending machines and choice (*)
They barely work in the USA, and there is almost zero choice
In Japan there are vending machines for everything, and they are everywhere
Vending machines in the United States just give carbonated beverages. Coke particularly. If you try to buy the juice from a vending machine when you’re thirsty, it’s just all carbonate. I pressed the button and thought it would be a nice orange juice, but carbonate came out. I love carbonated, but there are times when it will make you sick indeed. (*)

4 – Drug stores are hard to find
In Japan drug stores have a frequency similar to vending machines. Somewhere between a convenience store and a supermarket.

5 – Cashiers are slow (*)
Abysmally slow compared to Japan.

6 – Sales tax differs per city and state
In Japan its all the same in the whole country

7 – There are things called dinner plates, and what goes on them is mostly a dissapointment (*)
In Japan, each person eating gets as many individual dishes as needed for the meal. Sometimes more than 10 dishes per person are used.
In USA, there is a method where a large bowl or dish is placed in the middle of the table, and you take as much as you like from there, and put it on a big dish said to be a “dinner plate.”
From Quora: “But what surprised me was that she put a scoop of icecream on the plate with a piece of cake! I had had many cakes and also some icecream, but never together on the same plate. So that was my first surprise.”

8 – American food is flat to the taste (*)
There is no such thing there as a little “secret ingredient.” Sugar, salt, pepper, oils, and routine spices are used for family meals. There is no such thing as purely U.S. cuisine, except the hamburger, which isn’t made at home so much. There is almost nothing special to eat based on the different seasons of the year.
In Japan many different spices are used, and food is very seasonal.

9 – The drinks in the USA are huge
In Starbucks in Japan they have a “short” size that is even smaller than a Tall.

10 – Disposable Chopsticks
Japan restaurants have mostly switched to plastics washable chopsticks but many restaurants in the USA still use disposable chopsticks

11 – Nobody is impressed by how much you can drink. In fact, shame on you. (*)
In the U.S., they do not have a sense of superiority if they are able to drink a large amount. Rather, if you drink a lot, there is a sense that you cannot manage yourself. There is something close to contempt toward someone who must drink a lot to be drunk. To drink alcohol habitually is to have alcoholism. Alcoholics are weak people mentally, to be one means you have spanned the label of social outcasts that can’t self-manage.

12 – Tipping

13 – USA is not friendly to smokers

14 – If you wear Hip Hop Clothes you could be confused for a gangster (*)

15 – GPS Navigation costs extra in a rental car

16 – Sarcastic Jokes (*)

17 – They tend to horse laugh, even the women. It’s how they show they’re honest. (*)

18 – Attire

19 – Americans are generally more friendly or talkative toward strangers

20 – When it comes to working abroad, Japanese visitors are amazed that in the USA people often stick to their official work hours.

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