customs

Beaver logs, Christmas dinner, and other crazy stuff foreigners bring to Japan in their suitcases

These days in Japan, you can get almost anything. Nonetheless, there are still some things that remain either hard to find or  unavailable at all. We asked our RocketNews24 English writers, as well as a bevy of tourists and expats, what things they’ve made a point to bring into Japan in their suitcases.

If you’re headed to Japan either for a vacation or for a longer stay, you’ll want to take a peek at what items you may want to bring with you. It’s helpful to know, for example, that if you plan on sleeping on a queen size bed in Japan, you should be prepared to bring your own linen because Japan only sells bedding sets up to a double. If it’s Skittles candy you’re addicted to, bring a stash of that too. But some people have more extravagant tastes than others, so you’ll surely find yourself saying, “You brought WHAT in your suitcase??” a few times.

Join us for some head-scratching after the jump!

Read More

Five things you need to know about Obon–one of Japan’s biggest holidays 【Videos & more】

If the idea of your loved ones leaving this earth never to return again seems unfair, then you should consider the Japanese view of the afterlife. While nothing can change death itself, it is comforting to know that in Japan there is a special time of the year when the souls of the dead come back to visit the living. This is called Bon (or Obon using the honorific “o”) a holiday period from August 12-16 (exact dates may vary depending upon location), a time when the entire country takes a break to celebrate the “festival of the dead.” It’s a lively few days when the living and the dead can once again unite to eat together, drink together and share good times.

The Bon tradition gives the country some of the unique dances that Japan is so famous for. Tokushima’s Bon dance, called Awa Odori, for example, draws over one million tourists every year. Traditional Bon entertainment is so lively, colorful and intriguing that a Bon dance is a must-see on every traveler’s itinerary.

Today we’ll introduce you to a five things you should know about Obon. Needless to say, it’s a very exciting time to be in Japan as a tourist!

Read More

Confessions of a gaijin: 12 things we do that we’d never admit to Japanese people

In Japan almost everyone hangs out their laundry to dry rather than using costly, energy-guzzling clothes dryers. Foreigners have no problems complying, but one quickly learns that underwear is special–you don’t hang it out with the rest of your clothes where others might see it (or try to see it). The “smallies” are to be hung up inside. When you think about it, it does make sense. But other things are harder for foreigners to get used to and yet others just don’t make sense at all to us so are harder to incorporate into our lifestyles here.

Pooling responses from expats living here in Japan and the RocketNews24 staff, today we’re sharing the most common things that we just can’t quite embrace like the Japanese do, no matter how hard we try. Join us after the jump as we reveal the secret life of gaijin…but shhhh, don’t tell anyone!

Read More

10 Japanese quirks we could live without

As much as we at RocketNews24 love living in Japan, and have learned many life lessons here, we can’t deny that there are some things about the country that simply drive us crazy! It turns out some of these points are universally dreaded by foreigners living here–little quirky things that we just can’t really get used to no matter how long we’ve been in the country.

These are not things that are any big deal overall, but if you’re already having a “bad Japan day” where nothing is really going right, or you’re missing your family, food and cat back home, then encountering  just one of these things can be enough to push you over the edge.

After pooling some common quirky Japanese things we “love to hate,” now allow us to get a few of these things off our hairy chests!

Read More

Who has better manners? Blogger lists three things foreigners do that impress even the Japanese

One of the first things you notice when you visit Japan is how nice and polite everyone seems to be. Shop staff bow to you, people greet you in the hotel lobby, even the guy at the combini sprints across the store to open up the second register when there’s more than one person waiting to be served.

But spend any prolonged amount of time here and you’ll realise that there are plenty of rude people here too (just like in the rest of the world…). And there are even a few niceties we in the west generally perform as a matter of habit that just aren’t part of the Japanese way of doing things.

So just how are Westerners unintentionally schooling the Japanese in manners?

Read More

Japanese people share their family mottos, from “Eat first, think later” to “New Year, new pants”

Kakun (家訓) literally means “family precept”, and refers to the principles that an individual Japanese family lives by.

These might consist of a list of rules for children to follow – run-of-the-mill stuff like “treat others as you would like to be treated”, “don’t tell lies”, and “respect your elders” – or, a family’s kakun might be a single defining motto that applies to all family life. Kakun might be written on parchment and framed on the wall; or it might just be a phrase your mother (or father!) yells at you when you forget to put your socks in the wash again.

Japanese site Naver Matome recently put together a collection of Japanese Twitter users’ interesting and unusual family mottos. Here’s our pick of the bunch!

Read More

10 things foreign tourists do that annoy Chinese people

With it being the season of Chinese New Year, there are many tourists both leaving China for other lands and many people heading into China to enjoy the festivities. Perhaps that’s why the Chinese Communist Party’s People’s Daily newspaper chose now to release an infographic on their website highlighting various incidents of rude behavior done by foreign tourists in China.

They broke it down in an easy-to-follow top-10 list of things foreigners were spotted doing around the country so we can all learn what not to do when visiting.

Read More

10 weird and funny things Japanese people do

Not so long ago, a friend of mine from the UK came to visit me here in Japan. After showing him around town and making sure to take him to all of the most popular tourist spots, he remarked that quite a few of the subtle behaviours Japanese people exhibit seemed, while in no way offensive, remarkably different to those of our own countrymen. As we worked through a couple of the more unusual customs and behaviours that my friend had noticed, it struck me that at some point during my eight years of living here I had come to accept the everyday quirks of the people around me as entirely normal and not in the slightest bit odd.

Last year, we discussed the 10 things that we love and the 10 things we just can’t stomach about Japan, but today we at RocketNews24 felt it was time to present you with a list of random but genuine observations, from the peculiar to the downright endearing, about the Japanese people themselves. Enjoy!

Read More

42 reasons why we love riding the rails in Japan

Coming from abroad to live in Japan, there’s a lot to love–and there’s a lot to be frustrated about as well. One thing that nearly everyone loves about Japan though is the trains! With many of us coming from rural areas where you either drive or walk, being able to hop on a train pretty much any time anywhere can sometimes feel nearly miraculous. Tired? Distracted? Had too much to drink? Raining? None of that matters, because you’re on a train!

And we’re not the only ones who think so either. Today we’ve compiled a list of foreign residents’ favorite things about trains in Japan. Check them out and see if your favorites made the list!

Read More

Taboo behavior abroad according to Japanese travelers

Traveling can be dangerous business and when making the journey to another country you should always learn the do’s and don’ts to avoid unnecessary trouble or international incidents. That’s why website Naver Matome rounded up a bunch of random things that visitors to other countries should avoid doing to stay safe and enjoy their time there. Let’s take a look at the list, bearing in mind that although these rules are regarding other countries, they certainly provide some insight to how things are in Japan too.

We’ll make this world tour going West to East starting with…

Read More

Radical Japanese Company Advertises Jobs Online: “We do not employ smokers”

As public perception of smoking becomes increasingly negative, and with the number of smoking areas in restaurants and cafes in Japan becoming fewer and fewer each year, it’s fair to say that those little white sticks that once brought so much pleasure to so many are perhaps on their way out.

As people find themselves becoming more and more irritated by cigarette smoke as they walk though crowded streets, and residents grow sick of sweeping up discarded cigarette butts in their neighbourhoods, smoking anywhere outside of specially designated kitsuen (smoking) zones has become a punishable offence in many urban areas of Japan.

The times, they are a-changing.

But even with so many turning their backs of tobacco and labelling it as un-cool, few could have predicted that a company as large as Hoshino Resorts would actively advertise the fact that they no longer accept job applications from smokers.

Read More

North Korean Souvenirs Unwelcome in Japan, Travelers Must Throw Everything Away

Our correspondent who travelled to North Korea recently met with an unwelcome reception at Narita airport as he returned via Beijing.  “Customs officials, without any idea it was about to happen, spent about 10 minutes going through my things” he described. “It’s a sketchy country, so I guess they have to do these things, but still – it’s disappointing.”

The result of the search was that he had to give up every single souvenir he got in North Korea.

Read More

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 20,885 other followers