First Thoughts On Japan

Hello everyone.

I’ve now spent about a week and a half in Japan and still can’t believe how different it is, while still feeling similar.

SO, instead of droning on for paragraphs about what I’ve noticed, I’ve decided I’ll list it out for my readers. I like lists, so here we go:

Difference #1:

There are NO ATMs anywhere. I repeat, there are NO. ATMs. ANYWHERE.


My Nightmare


This just makes no sense to me because Japan is a “Cash Based” society. This means credit cards, debit cards and the like will barely ever be used. It’s not just that they aren’t used, its that they pretty much CAN’T be used. As such, it’s not unusual to have hundreds of dollars worth of cash on your person at all times.

This being the case I would assume there would be more ATMs around so as to enable you to have as much cash as possible whenever you need it. But alas, Japan says otherwise. I guess I’ll just keep hoarding my cash :/

 Difference #2:

To go along with the “Cash Society,” Japan is also an exceptionally paper based society. Almost every document, piece of paperwork, or article of information possible must be done in paper. Many times those documents must also be duplicated or triplicated!



My god Japan, think of the trees!

Alas, this is just the way things are here. Doing things electronically is just not an option most of the time. This has taken some adjustment for me, because it really clashes with the whole notion of Japan as a technological mecha. Heck, even wifi isn’t really a thing. All you coffee shop loving internet surfers say goodbye to your mid afternoon routines!

But hey, maybe the Japanese know something we Westerners don’t. Maybe they know not to trust technology?

Difference #3:

After a week and a half I’ve come to miss giving my John Hacock for things. Signatures simply don’t exist here. Instead they have these little stamps called “Inkan,” which are personal seals.

Like this:

2014-08-08 10.20.12

The issue is, at stores they sell hundreds of these Inkan with somebody’s name written in Kanji (Chinese Characters). So it wouldn’t be too hard to buy one of these ad impersonate someone on any number of fraudulent activities. But hey that’ll never happen…Japan is so trusting and safe! …..

Similarity #1:

This…just this. Watch this video and see if you can recognize the song.

Did you get it?

If not, it’s “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen. That’s right, I heard Japanese Frozen at a cultural bridge festival far into the rural mountains of Japan. Just like the western world, Disney has deeply impacted Japanese youth of all ages.

Atta boy Walt.

Similarity #2:

Ever seen the documentary, “How Beer Saved The World?” Well, if not, go watch it. Alcohol, very much like food, is an amazing way to bond with a different culture.

Here in Japan alcohol is everywhere. There are vending machines selling it. Vending machines with hard liquor not just beer and sake. Now Japan may be one of the cleanest countries around, but because of this alcohol culture you will still see drunk salarymen everywhere at night, some even passed out on the side of the road.

Yes, I'll have a bottle please

Yes, I’ll have a bottle please

Because, I mean, why the hell not?

Always remember to cheer before the first drink….KEMPAI



Similarity #3:

I’m sorry America…but I have to, it is our biggest cultural export…

 mcdonaldsjapanzz img_0249 how-do-the-japanese-spend-christmas-pic-facts-1 711japanIn many big cities and small towns, I’ve found that you can enjoy any number of fast food chains and convenience stores that originate within the United States.

In fact, the fabled ATM can almost exclusively be found at 711 convenience stores!!!

Watch out for those fast food burgers, however; the Japanese keep trans fats in fast food! Tasty, tasty trans fats.


Well, that’s all for right now everyone. Feel free to contact me about anything you want to see in Japan or know about Japan and I’ll try to find it and record it for you. Farewell, and thanks for reading!


Categories: JapanTags:


  1. Not gonna lie, I enjoy the japanese version of “Let it Go” so much more. Also did you have to transfer your account to a Japanese bank, or is there a global connection?


  2. Also, I want pictures from that bushido academy near you!


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