No matter what country you call home, there are always moments when you feel like a true citizen. For me, it’s when I’m sitting on the couch watching football (the American version) and eating chips (of the thinly sliced, wavy fried potato variety) and dip.
What about Japan? What makes Japanese citizens feel distinctly Japanese? My Navi News asked 1,000 of their members to tell them about a moment when they felt Japanese. Here are the results of their survey:
During a Trip
- I can never sleep on hotel beds, but I fall fast asleep on tatami and a futon. (Male, 31 years old)
- When I stay at a hotel, I mostly have rice and miso soup for breakfast…I must be Japanese. (Female, 29 years old)
- When I’m using an onsen. (Male, 28 years old)
- When I wait in line without complaining. (Female, 31 years old)
Whether you stay at a domestic hotel or Japanese-style inn, there are many moments when you feel Japanese, especially for those who crave miso soup in the mornings.
At Meal Time
- When I’m eating Tamago-kake-gohan (Rice with a raw egg on top). (Male, 53 years old)
- When I put natto on top of rice. (Female, 24 years old)
- When I settle down with a bowl of Chazuke (rice with green tea poured on top). (Male, 45 years old)
- When I’m drinking hot Japanese sake. (Male, 24 years old)
Tamago-kake-gohan and Chazuke are exceptionally Japanese dishes. There are also times when the food you normally eat very casually turns out to be a food characteristic to Japan. It’s safe to say that there’s a lot of delicious food and alcohol that is native to Japan.
During an Event
- When I’m enjoying cherry blossom viewing with everyone. (Female, 23 years old)
- When I eat mochi on New Year’s Day. (Female, 24 years old)
- When I get excited when Japan wins a medal during the Olympics or when there is a Japanese Nobel Prize winner. (Female, 30 years old)
Watching your fellow Japanese succeed certainly does make your heart leap with joy. Also, since Japan has four distinct seasons, we can enjoy the changing weather from cherry blossom viewing all the way until the New Year’s festivities.
In Daily Life
- When I get annoyed when the train doesn’t come exactly on time. (Female, 27 years old)
- When I get into the tub and sigh, “Ah.” (Male, 53 years old)
- The joy of drinking water right out of the faucet. (Female, 39 years old)
- When I buy pasta from the convenience store and the cashier asks me, “Would you like a fork or chopsticks?” I always answer, “Chopsticks.” (Female, 31 years old)
- When I get upset when a toilet doesn’t have a bidet function. (Female, 23 years old)
There are many things that we think are obvious or natural in our everyday life, but we wouldn’t have access to them while living in a foreign country. Drinking tap water and using toilets with built-in bidets are some of those things.
- Even if I’m dealing with a difficult or unreasonable situation, I never show my true colors and keep my feelings to myself. (Female, 24 years old)
- When I get irritated with people who are unable to read a situation or pick up on the mood of a conversation. (Female, 30 years old)
- When I say words such as “yoroshiku onegai shimasu,” “Otsukare sama,” and “Okagesamade.” (Female, 23 years old)
^These three words can mean many different things when used in different situations. It takes knowledge of the Japanese culture to properly use and understand them in their respective contexts.
- When I bow while using the phone. (Male, 25 years old)
Bowing, properly greeting people, and etiquette is very important to the Japanese. There certainly aren’t any individuals who read too much into a situation and land up never saying what they are thinking, but it’s definitely important to say things at the right moment.
- When I think Shiba Inu dogs are the cutest (Female, 35 years old)
What about you? What makes you feel like a citizen of your country?
Let us know in the comment section below.