Thoughts and Notes from CA


10 Differences between Japan and America for living in the US

The following post has got lots of attention by American people. Some of my colleagues and friends have asked my impressions on that, because I am Japanese and has just moved from Japan to the US. The post consists of google-translated information, the author's own knowledge and view for Japan, and some joke and exaggeration. I can 100% agree with some points, and disagree with the others. Let me share my view for the difference between Japan and America by aligning with the points of original posts
10 Japanese Travel Tips for Visiting America

1. They use strange marketing message to natural ingredients
The essence of Japanese diet is enjoying ingredients itself, Meat around bone is recognized as the most delicious parts of ingredient, and we have almost no difference of price between boneless and bone-in. But in the US the price of boneless chicken is 50% higher than bone-in. They tend to reflect labor cost to price much precisely than Japanese, Pork Back Rib is also very priceless with the message, "Do it yourself, and save your money!". It really surprised me. Japanese never use this type of marketing message to 'natural ingredients'.

2. They wear only T-Shirt or Polo Shirt in 35 degree F
No adults in Japan go out only with T-Shirt/Polo Shirt in winter. But some people in morning elevator hall only put
on T-Shirt even in 35 degree F here. One morning, it was 10 degree F, and all people in elevator hall wore coat. Then I happen to know the reason they only put on T-Shirt is not why they don't have coat.

3. Not surprised, but American Traffic Patterns is a bit better than I expected
To be honest, I don't think American Traffic patterns are great. Very few cars change lanes with signals, and half of car turn corners without it. But many cars follow a speed limit. The reason may be that getting traffic ticket greatly increase cost of auto insurance…

4. They don’t drink too much, we don’t eat too much
Japanese people tend to be slimmer than them. The biggest reason may be eating habit and type of food. Few Japanese eat too much junk food / snack and drink too much soda. As for eating habit, Japanese can control ourselves than them. But as for drinking habit, they can control themselves than Japanese. I’ve never seen the people got really drunk here while we can easily find on Friday midnight train in Japan, One reason is that they drink beer/wine with lots of water. Every restaurant serve a big glass of water with beer/wine. That avoid drinking and getting drunk too much. The facts to need to drive to home can be strong stopper to drink too much.

5. They have free time all week long!
I don't think that there is no free time during weekday in Japan, but they put much more priority to time with family and their own. One day, my manager told me "Why you are still here, go back to family!" at 5:30 p.m. although the official working hour is 9a.m.-6p.m.. In the other day, my daughter missed school bus to go back to home, and I needed to pick her up. I tried to find my manager to explain the reason to leave the office early. When I shared it with him, his comments was 'why you did not leave immediately after you got the call from school? You should have just left as soon as possible, and text me after you pick her up'. Although lots of people are wired with e-mail after office hour, they tend to put big priority to family. It is good point to live here.

6. Much more people cannot speak English than we expected
Japanese tend to have strong complex for their English conversations skills. But much more people living in the US does not have enough English conversation skills and survive than we expect. Many customer services provide lines for Spanish, and my primary care doctor have Japanese translation service by phone. Definitely things are moving forward really quickly if we can speak good English, but they have many service and infrastructure to support not native English speaking people.

7. They tend to wildly laugh, but they are very kind and friendly
Sometimes I laugh, because they laugh so wildly. The tendency seems be often applied to middle age ladies, while some Japanese middle age ladies laugh animally. Those behavior seems come from their openness and friendliness. The great thing is that they are consistently kind and friendly even to strangers. I believe Japanese also kind, but American kindness is much much open. One day my wife walked around Costco to find bread flour, and finally happened to know 25kg is minimum size. She needed to bring it to our cart that was far away from her. One lady put the bag on their cart for my wife, and brought it to our cart. I feel this country is filled with these type of tiny kindness to strangers.

8. Books and smartphone is Must item to go to grocery stores
Cashiers are really slow. Definitely it depends on people. But 4 out of 5 cashiers in Japan try to hustle up if there is long lines. But in the U.S., only 1 out of 5 tries. The others seems think "It is not my problem that there is long line in cashier, it is problem of management not to add cashiers or resources". Tolerance and preparation, e.g. bring book, smartphone, is must to go to grocery store and government office.

9. Yes, their vending machines are extremely limited
The choices in vending machine here is extremely limited. The biggest difference for me is that no vending machine provides un-sweetened tea. Almost all vending machine has at least 3 different type of un-sweetened tea in Japan. Also regular vending machine in Japan has hot drink,like canned coffee, milk tea, and green tea, and cold drinks like coffee, several type of teas, and sodas, juice in both can and pet bottle.

10. Challenges is virtue, and support to challenges is also virtue here
When I say to someone in the US that I have just come from Japan with family, almost everyone, even people who met first, get excited and think what kind of support they can do for me. All kinds of challenge is virtue here, and support to challenges is also virtue here. It is one of biggest challenge for me to launch new life in the US. The reason why I have somehow made it so far is that they are very kind and supportive to challengers.

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