Japan has a great love for pointless bureaucracy.
Yet, it is still a nation of people who adore convenience. Japan is, after all, the land where you shall find a vending machine filled with all kinds of goodies–from hot&cold drinks, to towels, to cabbage, to instant food–on almost every street. Better yet, those vending machines can contain different things depending on the season–and man, is it nice being able to stop and get a cup of hot chocolate to warm yourself up on a freezing cold day one season, and the next to buy an ice cold drink to cool down on a hot one–and you can even buy alcohol.
Convenience stores, or conbini, are–at least in Japan–wonderfully true to their name. Not only may you purchase snacks and drinks, magazines, and stock up on everyday toiletries and the like, but items such as ready-to-go meals of amazing quality–not simply thrown together in the back in 5 minutes–and you may even pay bills of all sorts. Phone bills, health insurance bills, electricity and gas, and even online shopping transactions–such as Amazon–and all manner of other things may be paid for at conbinis using special slips that you’re sent in the post.
For those online deliveries or even luggage deliveries [or pick-ups!], you may also have them sent to them to pick up whenever is most convenient for you.
As if those things were not enough, despite the Japanese’s general fondness of smart self-presentation, fashion and looking “good,” they are often tossed out in favour of practicality.
If you were to walk around in the USA wearing Crocs of any sort, you’d be laughed at and teased for it. Yet, in Japan, never before had I seen so many people wearing Crocs in public, and when I asked my
otherwise trendy friends why, I was quite bluntly told that it was just because they were comfortable. Seriously, that is like my life’s motto. Why did I not move to Japan sooner??So, if you’re coming to Japan, don’t be afraid to wear those sexy Crocs while you are here! 😛
Do not be surprised to see people walking around in ankle-length raincoats and ponchos during typhoon season, either. Or even young college guys walking around in some weird cross between colourful pants & a long skirt….
Back home, someone would be laughed all the way back to their front door for wearing some of the things I have seen people wear in here in Japan, but no one really seems to think anything of it there because it is simply better to keep dry! Considering how rainy and cold the weather is in Japan during Winter and early Spring, I am glad that people here do not turn their noses up at me for wearing sweats, a jacket & layers, and even a scarf. I wish the people back in Western societies were far more into practical, albeit funny looking rain-wear or just comfort in general!