15 Issues Japan Does Higher Than The US

15 Things Japan Does Better Than The US

They’ve all of it discovered — after which some.


Sushi for breakfast

Hannah Loewentheil

I ate a lot of superb sushi in Japan, however maybe the very best side of all is the truth that it’s very applicable to eat sushi for breakfast. Stroll to Toyosu Fish Market in Tokyo round 8 a.m., and you may see individuals lining up exterior sushi counters to eat a breakfast feast of nigiri. As somebody who may fortunately eat sushi any time of day, I want to please make this a factor within the U.S.


Subsequent-level merchandising machines

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Merchandising machines within the US are fairly predictable: they’re all stocked with standard sodas, Gatorade, some bottles of water, after which your run-of-the-mill junk meals snacks like Doritos, Cheetos, Twix bars, perhaps a granola bar or some bagged path combine. In Japan, merchandising machines are a complete completely different world. 

Drink merchandising machines supply each cold and hot drinks, so you may insert your cash and stroll away with a piping scorching inexperienced tea. To not point out there is a merchandising machine on just about each different metropolis block. And it goes approach past drinks. 

I noticed merchandising machines promoting just about everything in Japan from quick meals burgers and condoms to underwear and farm recent eggs. And naturally, we will not neglect about ramen merchandising machines. Insert your cash, place your order, then sit right down to a bowl of steaming scorching tonkotsu full with a mushy boiled egg and all of the works. 


Heated, fancy bathrooms with built-in washlets (and even music)

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After I bought dwelling from Japan, one of many issues I missed most have been the flowery Japanese bathrooms. These high-tech, luxurious bathrooms are often made by TOTO, and you will find them actually in all places in Japan from fancy resort rooms to hole-in-the-wall ramen outlets. You may warmth the bathroom seat, use the bidet perform, and even play music if you need just a little privateness. Whoa. 🤯


Comfort retailer meals — however not in the way in which you’d anticipate

Hannah Loewentheil

I may go on and on about Japanese comfort shops like 7-Eleven and Lawson’s. Our comfort shops again within the states do not maintain a candle to those wonderlands the place you may replenish on something and all the things from magnificence merchandise to gourmand meals.

Pop right into a 7-Eleven round lunch for recent onigiri full of spicy tuna or shrimp tempura, completely packed bento packing containers stuffed with still-warm rice, rooster karaage, and fried mashed potato croquettes, and my favourite: creamy egg salad on delightfully fluffy white bread. All of those comfort retailer meals are usually not solely reasonably priced, but in addition recent and scrumptious.


Pizza, when you can imagine it

Hannah Loewentheil

I do know I will get lots of slack within the feedback for this one, however Japan has some fairly absurdly scrumptious pizza. In each Tokyo and Kyoto, I used to be delighted by the standard and style of the Neapolitan-style pies. The crust was the proper mixture of barely charred and chewy and the components easy but highly effective. It in all probability has one thing to do with the truth that the Japanese are exact, centered, and devoted to their craft.

Actually, there is a Japanese phrase “shokunin,” which is mainly the thought of dedicating one’s life to perfecting a single ability. This made complete sense to me as I watched the chef at Savoy flip pizza dough till it was as skinny as paper, then layer it with toppings as if perfecting a murals.  The outcome: one thing like pizza heaven.


Public transportation

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Japanese public transportation is much and away the very best I’ve ever skilled. The trains are SUPER quick, well timed (they go away on the second mark), squeaky clear, and canopy mainly your complete nation, making it simple to journey round from metropolis to metropolis. Driving the shinkansen was really gratifying. The subways are additionally great. 

They’re punctual and so clear you might just about eat off the ground…besides nobody eats or drinks and even actually talks out loud whereas using. Oh, and while you use Google Maps it tells you precisely what subway automobile to get on so that you could extra shortly exit the station to your required vacation spot. Fairly darn neat.


Recent fruit

Hannah Loewentheil

Think about how scrumptious the fruit tasted like within the Backyard of Eden. I’ve a sense it is fairly just like modern-day fruit in Japan. The Japanese take fruit very critically. Actually, there’s a complete cultural phenomenon of luxurious fruit gifting, and you will discover specialty fruit markets like Sembikiya in Tokyo the place one should buy melons, grapes, strawberries, peaches, and so on… that look as in the event that they have been sculpted by the gods. I tasted a number of grapes and strawberries and I merely had now phrases to explain the candy, crunchy, nectar-y taste.


Craft cocktails

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There are some fairly spectacular cocktail bars within the U.S., however Japanese bars are one thing else. The identical degree of perfection that goes into nearly all the things in Japan additionally goes into cocktail making. In consequence, every cocktail is sort of a murals — layered, complicated, and a pleasant mixture of flavors. I do not even like whiskey, however a bartender handed me a model of an Previous Normal and I instantly needed three extra. 

Sitting down at a cocktail bar in Japan is a complicated affair — you are not simply stopping for an informal drink however somewhat watching a little bit of a spectacle. You will seemingly need to pay a canopy cost, which generally will get you a scrumptious bar snack (known as otsumami) like seaweed tempura, numerous pickled greens, or combined nuts you will need to eat by the handful. 


Sweet and snack meals — particularly the savory selection

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Right here within the U.S., we’ve a lot of snacks. Actually, while you stroll right into a grocery retailer it is straight-up overwhelming deciding on one thing. However snack meals and sweet in Japan are even higher. Take Package Kats, for instance. Within the U.S., you might have a handful of choices like conventional milk chocolate, cookies ‘n’ cream, and mint and darkish chocolate. However in Japan, you may select from dozens of artistic flavors like matcha, purple candy potato, even Hokkaido cheese and chocolate for God’s sake. 

IMO, the savory snack choices are additionally exponentially higher than what we’ve again dwelling. Stroll by the snack aisle and you will find objects like Calbee shrimp chips, deep fried mochi snacks, crispy nori, camembert cheese crackers, and the soy sauce and mayo flavored potato chips…and that is only the start.


Division retailer meals courts

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I had heard legends of Japanese department store food courts, however nothing ready me for seeing them for myself. Stroll right down to the decrease degree in a division retailer in any main Japanese metropolis (similar to Ginza Mitsukoshi in Tokyo or Takashimaya in Kyoto) and you will find essentially the most spectacular and splendid meals court docket you have ever encountered. it is known as a depachika, and I’d enterprise to say it is my private heaven. 

There are seemingly infinite stalls promoting matcha powder, hundred-dollar melons, ready sushi, artisan pastries, platters of vegetable tempura, caviar, and so they stretch so far as the attention can see. If I needed to be locked inside one place for the remainder of my life, it might be a depachika. 


Crime charges and general security

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Japan is likely one of the 10 most secure international locations on this planet, in line with the World Peace Index, and that truth turns into evident while you go to. As a feminine traveler, I felt fully secure strolling in all places, even alone at evening. Whereas I would not dare stroll alone in a quiet alleyway in New York Metropolis after darkish, I would not hesitate in Tokyo. They are saying you might go away a pockets on a Japanese subway and return for it hours later untouched, and after visiting that felt very a lot true. 

I bought a really sturdy sense that Japanese tradition values honesty and abiding by the legal guidelines. I noticed loads of locals go away belongings unattended at eating places solely to return to their issues untouched. I even noticed dad and mom go away their younger youngsters alone on the desk whereas they used to rest room or ordered extra meals. It was an enormous tradition shock and one thing you do not see usually again dwelling. 


Picture cubicles.

Hannah Loewentheil

I used to be fairly blown away after I first noticed a Japanese photograph sales space, aka purikura. To begin with, these machines entice lengthy strains, they’re usually positioned inside arcades, and there are literal altering rooms out there for individuals to get dolled up earlier than taking their pictures. I watched a bunch of teenage women do a number of outfit modifications, reapply their make-up a handful of instances, and straighten their hair between photograph sales space periods. When you’re within the sales space, it is no joke both. You may select between completely different templates, add stickers, and draw in your photograph. It is like photograph enhancing on steroids. 


The pets

Hannah Loewentheil

One factor turns into instantly obvious while you spend a while in Japan: they love their pets, particularly cats and canine. There are cat and Shiba Inu cafés the place you may go encompass your self with a bunch of lovely furry animals whereas sipping a espresso. Canines are mainly handled like royalty, and it is quite common to see a pup dressed from head-to-toe in human high quality clothes.

Bookstores promote magazines about particular canine (like this Poodle journal I introduced dwelling with me). I really walked right into a canine retailer strictly out of curiosity and noticed “Japanese blood-line Poodles” that have been promoting for ¥1,150,000. That is about $10,000. Suffice it to say, the Japanese are usually not messing round on the subject of their pets.


Road meals

Hannah Loewentheil

I discovered it not possible to be full in Japan. Even after an enormous meal, the smells of rooster yakitori scorching, okonomiyaki frying on a griddle, and waygu beef skewers recent off the grill make you assume, “hmm, I suppose I’ve room for some extra.” Road meals is in all places you look in Japan: in stalls on the aspect of the highway, in tiny street-side ramen-yas, and in sprawling lined markets.

Right here in New York we’ve soiled water scorching canine, roasted nuts rooster over rice, and breakfast cart bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches. However in Japan the choices are infinite and complicated but low-cost: fried balls of dough stuffed with bite-sized items of octopus, mountains of stir-fried yakisoba noodles with pork and cabbage, corn on the cob served on sticks drowned in miso, butter and soy sauce, and taiyaki, these lovely fish-shaped truffles full of pink bean paste or custard. I discovered my abdomen continually rumbling and wanting extra.


Practice cafe carts

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After I take Amtrak from New York Metropolis to Boston, I’ve a number of cafe automobile choices you understand, traditional issues like Hebrew Nationwide scorching canine, a fairly meager cheese and cracker tray, Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches, and so on… However let me transport you to a Shinkansen or bullet prepare in Japan. At each railway station proper on the platform there are little kiosks the place you may replenish on spectacular eki-ben, packing containers full of regional specialties like fried octopus dumplings, flower-shaped greens, and shrimp tempura.

When you’re on board, push carts come round providing drinks like craft beer and thrilling snacks. In different phrases, taking the bullet prepare in Japan is, like all the things else within the nation, a gourmand expertise.


Cherry blossoms and fall foliage

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The altering of seasons in Japan has a sure religiosity to it. Cherry blossom aka sakura season, which happens from late March to early April, brings vacationers and locals to parks and river banks all through Japan to gaze on the attractive rows of pastel-pink cherry blossoms. It is the most well-liked time to go to Japan, and for good season. However fall — after I visited Japan — can be fairly magical. The foliage is superb in locations from Hokkaido to Hakone and Kyoto. Actually, it is vibrant and colourful sufficient to rival New England for prime leaf peeping. 

Have you ever visited Japan? What was your favourite factor about it? Share within the feedback!

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