It’s no exaggeration to say that Japan is pretty obsessive when it comes to societal safety and manners. Japanese people often go to ridiculous/disgusting lengths to stay safe and to make sure that visitors are aware of all the unspoken rules that permeate throughout the country.
But sometimes it’s all just too much, even for the native Japanese themselves. So we present to you a list of the top 10 things that even Japanese people think they’re too obsessive over. Are you just as paranoid as they are, or would you be considered a carefree spirit in Japan? Read on to find out!
This top 10 list was compiled by asking 200 Japanese men in their twenties and thirties what they believe Japanese people make too much of a fuss over. Each responder gave their personal top three, and each number one response received three points, the second two points, and the third one point.
Here’s the list after everything was tallied up, in order from what they believe is least to most stupid to obsess over:
10. Public transportation being a little off schedule [58 points]
Nobody likes waiting for a late bus or train. But what constitutes “late” can vary by culture. It would probably take about 10 minutes to get me stomping my foot in a comically angry way, but in Japan, where trains and buses are known for their punctuality, people can get antsy after less than a minute.
As a former bus driver though, nothing is worse than someone complaining that “you’re late” when you’ve been trying desperately to stay on time through traffic or an accident. So the next time your bus or train is just a little late, let’s all take a deep breath and remember they’ll be there soon enough.
9. Intense anti-bacterial measures (disinfectant, hand sanitizer, etc.) [60 points]
8. TV shows (content, production, etc.) [64 points]
Japanese TV may not be the greatest, but that doesn’t mean you have to go around complaining about it all the time. They have some of the best commercials in the world, so you can always at least be guaranteed something interesting to watch between shows.
7. Expiration and “best by” dates on food [65 points]
We’ve all been there: we’re at the supermarket and we just want to grab our food and go home, but there’s the fussy shopper in front of us who’s busy checking each and every item for the one with the furthest away expiration date.
If you’re going to finish it in a day or two anyway, it doesn’t really matter, does it? And even though most food is good a few days past its expiration date, people throw it out anyway, leading to a lot of waste. So let’s all stop obsessing over “best by” dates and use nature’s best expiration-detector: our noses.
6. Kids having to be quiet when playing in neighborhoods [72 points]
With Japan’s aging society, you’d think that children would get a bit more privilege, but it seems that the opposite is true. There have been recent cases going to court of elderly residents complaining about noise from day cares, kindergartens, and elementary schools.
I think those older residents need to stop for a minute and remember how loud they were when they were kids, then maybe they’d realize how ridiculous it looks for them to obsess over this.
5. Having to be quiet in an elevator [78 points]
While talking in an elevator isn’t the ultimate Japanese taboo, it can make anyone in the elevator not included in the conversation feel uncomfortable. Still, should people really be expected to cut off their conversation when the doors close? Most elevator rides are only a few seconds, so perhaps instead of feeling awkward, those who worry about it can just be glad they’re not stuck on a plane with them or something.
4. Having to be quiet in a movie theater [120 points]
Flickr/secretlondon123 (edited by RocketNews24)
As an American, this seems like a downright travesty. Part of the reason to go to the movies, or even watch movies in the first place, is to have reactions. You want to laugh, scream, cry, all that good stuff; you shouldn’t have to worry about letting a little bit of emotion slip out. Remember people: it’s a movie theater, not a library.
3. Politicians and celebrities accidentally saying the wrong things [131 points]
Politicians and others in the media are often not the most popular people in the world, but that doesn’t mean every single word out of their mouths has to be criticized. It’s important to not judge people by a few Freudian slips here and there, but by the actions they take when it really counts.
2. Having to be quiet on the train [133 points]
With four out of the top six items involving “having to be quiet,” it seems like the participants in this survey are sick and tired of everybody shushing them all the time.
For this one however, I’m sure a lot of people would have a variety of opinions. Visitors from other countries are often brought to tears of joy with how nice and quiet Japanese trains are, but it seems like a lifetime of having to stay quiet can take its toll as well.
Either way, even if you’re a staunch fan of the zipped-lip train, let’s try not to glare at people when they have a short conversation or laugh at something they’re reading.
1. Parents freaking out over small scrapes and bruises on children [185 points]
This one wins by a landslide, with 50 points more than the number two spot. But does it deserve it?
I think a lot of people would agree that it does. While many of the other items on this list are certainly annoying, this one can have serious repercussions down the road when the child grows up. Getting hurt sucks, there’s no argument there, but it’s also a good learning opportunity, and learning from mistakes helps children grow up into mature adults.
Meanwhile, fretting over every little injury can make the child paranoid, spoiled, or even have trouble discerning between things that are actually problems and things that are not. So instead of freaking out over every bump and bruise, perhaps parents can instead help the child put it into perspective instead, giving the advice my kindergarten teacher always told us when we got hurt: “By the time you’re grown up and married, you’re not going to remember this at all.” And believe it or not, she was right.
That’s it for the top 10, but here’s some other honorable mentions that didn’t quite make the cut: people complaining about how personal information is used, and complaints about body odor/bad breath.
While that first one has some legitimacy to it, perhaps the reason why it didn’t make top 10, the other one not making top 10 is a little surprising. Is it because the 200 men who filled out the survey have such impeccable hygiene that no one ever complains about them, or because they smell so bad no one dares to come close enough to them to complain? Seems like this calls for another survey.