Japan Today

Things that foreigners find annoying about life in Japan


When you live in a new environment, it can be very exciting. However, life in a different culture is not exciting all the time. In fact, there can be times when you find certain things annoying.

Here are some examples given by foreign people living in Japan from an article in MADAME RiRi.

– Loud voices coming from megaphones (Man from Vancouver) “There seem to be people’s voices blaring from megaphones or microphones all over Japan such as JR and bars. It is annoying. The words, ‘How was it?’ and ‘Thank you’ stuck in my head and I cannot get them out of my mind.”

– Repeating similar adjectives (Man from Brussels) “‘Oishii’(Tastes nice), ‘Kirei’ (Beautiful), ‘Samui’ (Cold), ‘Atsui’ (Hot), ‘Sugoi’ (Awesome)…If foreign people understand these words’ meaning, they can understand at least 25% of Japanese people’s conversation.”

– BGM at shops (American man) “It always seems so loud and sticks in my mind afterwards.”

– School students on bicycles (American man from Canada) “I often see students commuting to school, lined up across a road, and they don’t pay any attention to cars coming behind them. I get irritated that they seem to think they own the road.”

– Endless waiting for traffic lights, especially when I am in a car (Man from Cambridge, England)

– Cannot read kanji (61-year-old American man) “I cannot read Japanese newspapers or signs with kanji. It’s not Japan’s fault; it’s my fault.”

– Japanese people praise me when I use chopsticks (Westerner living in Vietnam)

– Compliments that my Japanese is good, sounds when customers come into and leave convenience stores, loud BGM at supermarkets and department stores, speeches before election (Woman from Scotland)

– Impersonal life (Chilean woman)

“Bosozoku” motorcycle gangs (Man from the U.S. Midwest) “Motorcycle noise is so loud. At noon, it might be OK, but late at night or early in the morning, it is really annoying.”

– Lack of critical thinking (American man)

– Early morning sun in summer (Canadian man) “It gets light at 4:30 a.m. There must be a better way to optimize sunlight efficiently.”

– I haven’t been to Japan yet (I’m going to, soon), and I am scared that Japanese people will ignore me and that I’ll have some troublesome experiences there. (American woman)

– Poor insulation (Norwegian) “Japanese winters feel 10 degrees colder than Norway. I’m always freezing because the inside of homes is not warm.”

– Crowds (Man from Latvia)

– Japanese people cannot speak other languages well, they wear suits in the hot summer, perverted old men on trains. (Dutch man)

– I’m often the tallest in a crowd of people, and I get stared at when I practice karate (English man)

So there you are. Still, if you find some things troublesome, it means you know Japan better, says MADAME RiRi.


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NOISE - i second that comment. i even third and fourth it. the absolute NOISE that is japan. everywhere and anywhere you go.

25 ( +27 / -4 )

NOISE - i second that comment. i even third and fourth it. the absolute NOISE that is japan. everywhere and anywhere you go.

I agree - for a nation supposedly in harmony with nature, it never ceases to amze me the way Japanese 'create' noise when it isnt needed... I suspect many Japanese are actually uncomfortable with silence

21 ( +22 / -3 )

I get irritated that they seem to think they own the road.”

me too, even pedestrians walk like that..makes me wonder if they are told not to walk to the left or right but in the center only (I'm enquring seriously).

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Probably number 1... as is mentioned in the article. Early morning summer sun. 4:30AM sun is doing me and about 100 million other people no good. I'm figuring maybe 25 million retirees and farmers may not mind. Please implement daylight savings and please require working men and women to, whenever possible, leave work early and enjoy their evenings outdoors... walking, riding, playing sports... being with the kids. I'm American... and the States does have its problems for sure... but one of the best things was leaving work at 5PM and from Spring to Fall.. going out and playing softball and other outdoor activities... all after work. Japan needs to balance work and play/homelife better.

11 ( +15 / -5 )

Repeating similar adjectives (Man from Brussels) Oishii, Kirei, Samui, Atsui, Sugoi...If foreign people understand these words meaning, they can understand at least 25% of Japanese peoples conversation.

What a joke. More likely repeating these adjectives form at least 75% of said foreigner's conversational ability.

Lack of critical thinking (American man)

Please. The irony.

-22 ( +14 / -34 )

I'm gonna have to agree with the noise factor...especially in Kanto!!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The positives far outweigh the negatives. I really don't have a problem with noise but if I had to name one annoying thing then it would have to be the lack of communication and transparency from some Japanese people. You have to ask lots of questions to get the true facts.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

" Loud voices coming from megaphones " (Man from Vancouver)

So true, and I too could do without that.

" Early morning sun in summer " (Canadian man) “It gets light at 4:30 a.m. There must be a better way to optimize sunlight efficiently.”

This person must be from the Toronto area where the sunrises at 5:35am in the summer as everyone else in Canada seems to deal with the sun coming up earlier than that in the summer. In Vancouver the sun pops up at 5:06am however it's already light by 4:30am.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

People really love to complain about things, this topic seems like a black hole that may never end. Almost all the complainment is not justified either I feel.

0 ( +31 / -31 )

The insulation comment is spot-on. For a country that prides itself so much on being "eco," I cannot imagine how much kerosene and electricity are wasted every year to heat and cool homes that are so poorly insulated they might as well be built of cardboard.

38 ( +41 / -4 )

TelPorter please specific--when would you deem a complaint justified?

A Japan-related example would be nice.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

@ Tel Porter: Right... so you agree that everybody sleeping through 2 hours of perfectly good sun isn't a waste or something to complain about? So it was you I saw out at Tama River last summer at 5AM flying your Kite?

2 ( +8 / -6 )

*be more specific

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@Daijoboots Making blanket statements about somebody's nationality are we? Tell an American to their face that they lack critical thinking skills. I'd welcome the opportunity to be that guy.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

– Early morning sun in summer (Canadian man) “It gets light at 4:30 a.m. There must be a better way to optimize sunlight efficiently.”

I agree, both during summer and winter, the only sunlight I get is when I go to work in the morning--it is slightly depressing. I suppose all the neon-signs are trying to make up for it.

I guess I should try some pachinko-therapy?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

"Early morning sun in summer"

Obviously you lived in your basement in Canada. I worked in the oilfields in the middle of Alberta and the sun starts to rise up just after 3am and goes down after 11pm. I still can't get used to it being dark at 7pm here in summer. Now if you state it seems awfully bright here I would agree. My eyes have a difficult time here with the bright sunlight. I hate summers here anyway and don't spend anytime outside except to go to the airport to leave to Canada for the month of August. And yes, it is way too crowded and noisy here. I also want to punch people in the head when they don't stop at the crosswalk for my daughter and I. Drivers in Fukuoka drink a cup of Stupid every morning before they get behind the wheel. Ok, done venting. Now I will have a cup of coffee, a crispy creme doughnut, pretending it is actually from Tim Hortons and settle in to watch the Hockey game on my PC.

12 ( +15 / -4 )

Tel PorterFEB. 20, 2012 - 08:34AM JST People really love to complain about things, this topic seems like a black hole that may never end. Almost all the complainment is not justified either I feel.

I'm with Tel on this one!

2 ( +21 / -19 )

A couple of things I find annoying about life in Japan... First is the usage of the old squat style toilets in so many places. I played American football for years and have a rickety knee which I dislocated a couple of times so trying to use a squat style toilet is an extreme annoyance. I work in a JHS which was built only 4 years ago and yet they have only 1 western style toilet for men in the whole building and its in the special needs hallway.

Second is the cleaning methods of Sapporo (I live in northern part of the city) roadways in winter. It is a disaster trying to walk anywhere as the people who own road frontage don't clean the snow (restaurants, conbini's, stores) and the snow piles up, then a city employee on a small plow will pack down the snow/ice and there you go its ready for you to break a hip (I more worry about my pregnant wife walking then myself).

Finally I find it annoying how many people are constantly in the hospital. I went with my wife for her last baby checkup the other day and as we were waiting in line to check in (we had an appointment) this old dingbat comes riding in on an ambulance and the nurses rush to get her and they ask what is wrong and she just says "Oh I felt I sneezed too often this morning so I thought I should come in to get medicine". What a waste of taxpayers money these people are that can't handle a sneeze or two.

-11 ( +12 / -23 )

Southsakai, without complaining, how would humanity know what to improve and work on?

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Shopping. People screaming at you while you pass in front of their store. Annoys the heck out of me! That's one of the reasons I never go shopping the very first week f the year.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

hey guys (esp @TelPorterFEB and @southsakai) i think that is the question that was asked. Sheesh. if you are happy and you know it clap your hands.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

The thing is... we're living in a foreign country and out of our element. We have to battle language, culture, govt beauracracy, and a very crowded country. Sure Japan is a pretty cool place to live but living in almost any foreign country will have its challenges and can be frustrating at times. Japan Today posed the question and we're answering it. Like the guy from Canada said earlier.... said that, got it off my chest, now I can watch my hocky on my PC. Just a little venting here... we're not out protesting in front of the Diet Building or anything.

11 ( +16 / -5 )

About the noise and constant barrage of announcements. I have stopped asking Japanese friends what that latest announcement was because about 100% of the time the answer was always "What? Oh, I wasn't listening." It's all just noise I've learned to tune out, too. So why do the stores bother?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

In the grand scheme of national happiness though,all pretty darn petty grievances...clap,clap

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

As said, the positives outweigh the negative . List of annoyances:

smokers, there are too many.

Loud shops. Shopstaff with megaphones (f.e.e Yodobashi camera or gyarustores) and repeating announcements.

waste of paper/wood/packaging. While Japan considers itself very ECO friendly there is too much being done on paper, contracts etc. , no plastic recyclable chopsticks, packaging of products is usually bigger than the contents.
12 ( +15 / -3 )

Ok, there are many, many things I love about Japan. And a few that annoy me to no end.

Salarymen who openly cough and sneeze on everyone. Gaman all you want, but I don't want to be sick covery your mouth!!!

Endless shouting - I agree strongly with this. Shops lose my money every sale season because I can't stand the endless shouting. If they would shut up, my friends and I would spend more time shopping and buy a lot more. As it stands we shop at quiet places instead.

TV - I cannot say strongly enough how vaccuous and pointless I think TV is here. Rambling variety shows, dramas acted less convincingly than bad highschool theatre and the endless stream of "Kawaii", "Oisshi" and "Ehhhh" is maddening. Thank goodness for international CATV programming.

Drunks - For a country claiming no signficant alcohol problem I have never seen so many grown adult people falling down drunk in my life. It is shameful behavior to me. Fifty years old, well dressed and puking on the platform. Really?!?

Everything in a Box - The insatiable desire of Japanese to categorize and pigeonhole every single thing in existence is crazy.
26 ( +38 / -12 )

Being unable to enjoy having a meal in the majority of Japanese restaurants and virtually all izakayas because of the cigarette smoke.

20 ( +23 / -5 )

Election time of the year results with people driving around screaming "arigatou gozaimashita" out of a loudspeaker @ 7 o'clock in the morning.

The NHK Mafia collection agents.

Nothing else really bothers me.

16 ( +18 / -2 )

I second the comments about critical thinking and wasting energy. Japan is "eco" in words only.

I just love every single park I've seen so far. I just wish the Japanese wouldn't concrete everything up. Architects also get thumbs up (except for the insulation part, that area really sucks).

1 ( +6 / -5 )

1) Dissembling politicians (not unique to Japan).

2) The time it takes to get anything done in a bank.

3) Lack of insulation. We had a Y17000 gas bill last month just to heat the living room with the underfloor heating and it's still not warm enough, so we often need to use an electric radiator as well. The other rooms are like fridges.

4) Fascists parading around the streets unchallenged.

5) Apathetic attitude of the population to 1 and 4.

20 ( +26 / -6 )

It is precisely this thinking that makes Japan undesirable for foreign investment, for the concentration of capital and jobs in Asia Pacific, for greater global investment and focus.

See Japan's "Our way or no way!" attitude is why Singapore, Hong Kong and soon Manilla will be the dominant benefactors of global jobs moving to Asia. Japan's ongoing intransigence and incapacity to change for the better is why the brightest opportunities end up feeding other economies and not Japan's.

It is also the reason that you best and brightest who think well outside the Japanese box, leave to lend their talent and creativity elsewhere.

But do take comfort in the fact that Japan produces AKB48 and other meaningful services to the world economy.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

pretending it is actually from Tim Hortons and settle in to watch the Hockey game on my PC. Tis true Captcanuck. Shall watch the Oilers and Canucks this morning.

How about the cup of Starbucks stupid and pushing into the elevator before letting people out? Rushing to be the first out of the train only to be the slowest, texting doofus once their foot hits the platform and all the way down the stairs. The 8 square feet at the bottom of the escalator is their favorite meeting place.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Those trucks that drive at a snail's pace through quiet residential neighborhoods, blaring nonsense about collecting your unwanted refrigerator, etc.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Love this topic.

English-speaking foreigners that think they know so much about Japan. That's annoying. Then having to listen to them blab about it... ugh. The "Gaman" attitude sometimes really bugs me, but only when I'm in a crap mood. All the shouting: It's like they sneak up on you in shops and purposely yell to freak you out. We get it "we're welcome". Office monotony. Let's change it up once and a while without a meeting. Spontaneous anyone? Just a little now and then. Toyu. Truck drivers that litter. Especially when they throw their urine-filled PET bottles out. Those fur scarves that young women put on their Kimonos. What a way to ruin a beautiful KImono. Highway tolls. Domestic tourists that don't understand Onsen-manners. 20 somethings that park in Handicapped parking areas.

Venting done for the day.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

What gets me is this;

The endless giving of crap from relatives when the dont wont such things anymore.

Was given another hot-plate the other day from my wifes grandfather as he didnt want it anymore and believed we needed another. I will add it to the collection of the otehr two we have.

To throw things away in this country is my number one problem.


5 ( +7 / -2 )

People just leaving pushbikes all over the place and blocking pavements. Have to walk on the road to get passed

Cyclists going fast on the pavements using mobile phones. The roads are now safer!!

Just too crowded, everywhere, even in the countryside around Tokyo... just too many people

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Forgot this one. The horrible shrill screetching voice that so many Japanese girls put on. It's literally inescapable--on TV, on the street, on the train. I realize that to Japanese men it is the sexiest thing ever, but to me, it's like nails on a blackboard. My favorite is listening to a young gyaru-mama in a store snarling at her unruly child, and then the phone rings and it's the boyfriend--instant helium voice.

14 ( +19 / -5 )

Haha things are getting covered pretty well here!

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Oh my, this is going to be a long list.

I think I would have to start with the remarkable tendency of Japanese people to replace action with ritual.

If you don’t understand something, tilt your head, let your mouth fall open and blink rapidly. That’s as good as actually thinking about something.

If you’re late or busy, wear an anxious expression and take exaggerated bobbing-up-and-down pinsteps with your forearms in front of you at elbow height. That is considered the same thing as hurrying.

If you’re a salesperson, have the correct meishi and sit earnestly at your desk looking at ExCel spreadsheets until it is time to “have a meeting” to “discuss sales”. That is the same thing as selling your product.

If you’re too hot, wave your hand like a fan.

It’s every aspect of daily life. If unsure, perform a ceremonial rite, and under no circumstances rock the boat by actually doing something constructive.

-3 ( +24 / -28 )

I'm also pretty irritated by the astonishing capacity for DoubleThink displayed by many Japanese.

They’ll all sit around nodding sagely at how profoundly their lives are guided by Kizuna, the invisible bonds which hold society together, and then pretend they can’t see a pregnant woman on a train. Forget about standing to offer your seat to those in need (as we were reminded every single commercial break for about a month after 3/11), Kizuna is such an integral moral compass that they won’t even move along the seat slightly so they’re only taking up one space. If you don’t make eye contact, the other person doesn’t exist.

We Japanese like to live in harmony with Nature, they’ll say, and concrete over every scrap of it as far as the eye can see. We’re so harmonious that we’ll start wearing wooly bobble hats and scarves the instant the calendar states it’s Autumn, regardless of what the actual temperature is. It’s a mild day in Winter, but the Chiyoda Line this morning had underseat heaters blazing with such intensity that I had to put my bag down there to stop the smell of burning hair from my legs. Harmony with nature my blinking ringpiece.

We Japanese work very hard – yet need 14 hours a day to complete a day’s work. One thing or the other. You either work hard, in which case you’ll finish your work promptly and efficiently, or you work so slowly that you habitually neglect your family and any form of social activity (other than getting as drunk as humanly possible at the appointed, company-dictated occasions) in order to sit at your desk “making a document” until 11pm every night.

Yet they’re able to believe the party line absolutely, in spite of every scintilla of evidence pointing the opposite way. Truly remarkable. And very, very irritating.

4 ( +30 / -26 )

The good outweighs the bad but I think the blaring political messages around election time are the most annoying! During the day is bearable but early in the morning or late at night .....what about the idea that "we Japanese like quiet" (as I got told by a lady on the subway in Yokohama a few years back in response to my friends young child talking loudly - ironically the child was Japanese but was excited to be talking to me in English!) ???

7 ( +9 / -2 )

hahaha have to agree with you karakaze on the high pitched mickey mouse voice the women do. Drives me nuts. The fact that Japanese men find this attractive should ring alarm bells of parents with young girls, but it doesn't. A society wide attitude adjustment might help get rid of the high number of pedophiles here. The police searched for 5 min for the guy who flashed my daughter and then went back to their police box. Back home the whole neighborhood would have searched every nook and cranny in the area with baseball bats but here it is accepted as normal. Here's an idea, how about pulling off the shelves all the porno manga involving girls in school uniforms? Remove the naked women in the daily newspaper? etc etc Women need to start standing up for themselves and stop trying to please the men. They are capable of being much more than Minnie Mouse.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

The pretended countless hours of work has always bothered me. I work at a Japanese company and am the only American there. Before I was even hired I told them that I would be leaving promptly at 5PM everyday if my work was complete. I'm the first out the door everyday and its been like that for years. I go home and have dinner with my wife and kids everynight. Actually not everyone can do this.... especially at the same time and in Tokyo.... it would be just way too crowded on the trains.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Pay tax, can't vote, so can't change anything. Wasted time at work and all the silly pretence that goes with it. People replying in English when your speaking Japanese. The racism regarding foreigners and rental properties. Close mindedness resulting in the continuation of systems that patently don't work in a modern world.

I love Japan and overwhelmingly have an amazing time, I have worked hard to learn Japanese (I wouldn't class myself above an intermediate though and my JLPT results probably agree) and do my best to adapt to Japanese culture as much as I can and am accepted. However I'm concerned that Japan isn't adapting the world and global economy it exists in, I don't know the answers or assume to know whats best for Japan but blindly defending the status quo doesn't seem to be the way forward.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Things that foreigners find annoying about life in Japan

I find it annoying that people that are guests here constantly complain about things they cannot change as it is not their culture.

-3 ( +27 / -30 )

Girls who dress and act (including raising their voices an octave higher than normal to maddening shrill pitches) like they are about 9 years old. Even when they're over 30.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

@JapanGal I would say just because "I" can't change something doesn't mean it shouldn't, or that just because its they way it has always been done doesn't mean its the best way.

Having things you want to change or improve about your own country or any other country you have a vested interest in doesn't mean you dislike it, it isn't bad to ask for better.

13 ( +17 / -4 )

JapanGalFEB. 20, 2012 - 11:23AM JST Things that foreigners find annoying about life in Japan I find it annoying that people that are guests here constantly complain about things they cannot change as it is not their culture.

Agree 100%. Quick to judge, quick to anger. Slow to understand.

0 ( +24 / -25 )

Living in the country and not watching TV eliminates about 80% of these issues. Although the lack of insulation and early morning summer sun are a universal problem that I hope someone in Japan is looking for a solution to. .. But I am guessing daylight savings is still too difficult to implement here because the general population doesn't see it as a major issue. Also, the early sunsets allow for earlier firework displays.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

One of the things that I find annoying about Japan is the lack of flexibility especially when it comes to restaurants. Why is it such a big problem to give me some extra cheese when I know that they have it and when I even tell them that I would pay for it? But no, it is not on the menu and therefore I cannot have it eventhough they have plenty of it.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

JapanGal - I find it annoying that people that are guests here constantly complain about things they cannot change as it is not their culture.

I don't agree; you say we should not complain because we are guests--I say we provide a unique perspective and it is interesting to hear what we have to say; coming from other eastern, or western countries. On a side note; I am a lot more critical towards my own country than I am towards Japan, trust me, and moreover I would appreciate it if other people stated their issues with my country as to better understand my own background; even though it might now be always easy to hear and accept.

10 ( +16 / -6 )

I hate that in Japan:

Child abduction is common, accepted and used by the Japanese courts to decide sole-custody of children

That parents in Japan have no actual rights to maintain a relationship with their children

That someone else can adopt one's child without one's consent

That the Japanese culture doesn't seem to understand the concept of human rights

That there are zero laws to prevent racist actions - and government entities often are guilty themselves

That concepts such as: uso mo hōben— "lying is also a means to an end” are considered highly acceptable

That the legal system is a facade

That anything inconvenient is ignored

That logic doesn't seem to exist


19 ( +24 / -5 )

Too many damn people everywhere nice or remotely interesting.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

@Patrick McPike AMEN!!

Everything you said is spot on!!!

I'd like to add Fraudulent / False Marriages to that!!

I hate it that personal freedoms such as one's religion or sexual preference are ignored in favor of bureaucracy or so called "Our Culture".

I hate it that everything here is paper based bureaucracy.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

My biggest problem is racism, but not from the Japanese. From the many foreigners living and working in Japan. I hate to see how many Job advertisements specify 'speakers of north American English'. That is blatant racism! America is not the only country that speaks English natively! And, don't give me any crap about accents! The southern American accent drawl is terrible. And, then there are the Texans that can't distinguish between past simple and past participle verbs. "I seen it yesterday!" Give me a break!

As for the Japanese: The most annoying thing for me is the twits that have to push into the train while 50 people are getting off. I don't know how many of them I have shouldered back into the bleachers as I get off the train.

-1 ( +11 / -13 )

Another thing that never stops being annoying is the infantile tantrums people throw whenever you express the opinion that something in Japan could be improved upon. "You're a guest here - leave if you don't like it" they'll instinctively respond, much like the poster above did.

Well, I've got news for you, pet: I'm not a guest. I'm a long-term resident here, who works hard and pays a hell of a lot of tax to a government which is both laughably inept and phenomenally corrupt. I have family and property here. This is my home.

But I did not have my critical faculties thrashed put of me in my formative years, and when I see something is nonsense, I don't pretend it's shoganai. I point out that it is nonsense. Perhaps if more people were to do the same, and demand action, instead of spitting their dummies out like JapanGirl did above, there might be some slim chance that his country can escape the two decades of stagnant decay it's currently hell-bent on dragging out indefinitely.

13 ( +37 / -25 )

My list would include most of the above, so I'll simply add - Misplaced national pride. You know, the misplaced national pride that saw well meant help from international nuclear experts in the days following 3/11 who were told "we can handle this", when quite clearly, they couldn't, and later sought the help of those experts when it was too late, and a lot of damage had already been done.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

The fetishization of food to the extent where most TV shows, poster adverts on trains, and weblogs are cluttered with articles/photos of food. This has also led to the point where "Oishii" has lost all currency.

The ubiquity of food porn here is ridiculous.

19 ( +24 / -5 )

The 1 yen coin!! Evertime I go shopping I end up with pockets full of the useless buggers. things are priced at say 451 yen, 2201 yen, 751 yen and everytime you get four 1 yen coins back, Aaarrrgghhh!! A bulging pocket full of them won't even buy a bar of chocklate

Please, please take them away!!

3 ( +8 / -5 )

> Evertime I go shopping I end up with pockets full of the useless buggers. things are priced at say 451 yen, 2201 yen, 751 yen and everytime you get four 1 yen coins back, Aaarrrgghhh!!

Next time you buy something priced at 451 yen, 2201 yen, 751 yen, use the ¥1s jangling in your pocket to make up the odd ¥1. Then you won't be given 4 ¥1 coins in your change.

7 ( +14 / -6 )

That someone else can adopt one's child without one's consent

Sorry? Little bit more info on this one please. Sounds quite scary.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

still have to agree, it is a useless coin. Just round everything to 5yen.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Bosozoku idiots. Poor traffic light synchronization / timing. The government. TEPCO. Random 6 month reconstruction cycles (our street literally got torn up for nothing and rebuilt 6 months ago. The have started again this past weekend.) that's about all. In summary, pathetic law enforcement and poor government planning/management.

-2 ( +11 / -12 )

@Coughalot - thumbs up thumbs up thumbs UP!!! You have made my day and given me a great laugh. Soooo true!

I could fill a book but just one thing that is getting to me at the moment: when my husband (or anyone else) makes a criticism of MY home country, I take it, consider it, and actually often agree with it. I can see many issues with the UK which are making me feel pretty sad for the future right now. I welcome fresh eyes on the UK - they can spot things we cant.

HOWEVER - should I bring up an issue about Japan that pisses me off with my husband he takes it as a personal insult, gets really angry with me and then finally throws back at me the whole "You dont understand, you are not Japanese" thing. sigh

0 ( +23 / -22 )

There are, of course, many things I love about this country, but I'd like to take a moment to contribute my 2 cents. I hate the so-called "claimers" that ruin the atmosphere for everyone else in the shop / restaurant. I hate university student waiters who are lacking in common sense and manners. I hate the English "education" in public schools; it does more harm than good. I hate how they always ask for you age when you apply for something (what does age have anything to do with me renting a snowboard?) Rant over.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

All been covered already, including the lack of critical thinking, lack of common sense, antiquated ways of doing things when its obvious a better system would simplify things a million times. The continuous clatter of music, and about 3 voices shouting things out in super markets while you are trying to do your shopping. Surely we can shop in peace and quiet CAN'T WE??

Megaphone shouting is everywhere in this country and it seems to not bother the Japanese, it's almost as if they just shut it out and pay it no notice, lucky them.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Ok. my list:

When Japanese folks assume you can't understand Japanese and try to blatantly talk smack about you. I've experienced that on a train when a bunch of Japanese ''mean girls'' were talking about how big my chest is and wondering if they were fake or real. When I answered ''Yes, they're real'' in Japanese, they looked like they rather be in Mars, than be on that train. Okay, that was actually funny :)

When the ''mommy club'' gather together at Starbuck's ,start cackling like a bunch of hens in a hen house and do not control their kids. Can't I enjoy my coffee in peace?

Listening to a 98 pound Japanese girl complain how fat she is. Makes me feel stabby.

Mouf-breathers on a crowded train...you couldn't of brushed your teeth after you ate natto this morning?

Folks who don't fill their SUICA or PASMO cards and crowd the damn ticket gate during rush hour.

-3 ( +13 / -16 )

@atadoi Agree 100%. Quick to judge, quick to anger. Slow to understand.

Perfect. Yo hit the nail on the head.

@Ivan Cough "instead of spitting their dummies out like JapanGirl did above" It might be insulting but not sure as the English usage is rather odd.

However I own property here too and am a permanent resident.

I would like to have JT put out a question such as, "What is it that you find annoying in the country that you come from?" Or, "What do you find that is really cool here that you wish you had in your own country?"


7 ( +19 / -12 )

Spanish eyes:

Folks who don't fill their SUICA or PASMO cards and crowd the damn ticket gate during rush hour. I have seen lots of gaijin do that, and I help them to recharge it.

That is funny though. I always read what is left on mine, and decide to fill it before going on a trip.

5 ( +19 / -14 )


Yeah... easier to push paper than to pull one's head out of the sand.

Japan has the highest suicide rate and lowest birthrate of in industrialized country - yet the government continues to shuffle paper around, scratch it's head, claim that the "unique Japanese way" is great and deny that their culture of detachment has any issues.

Go figure. ;)

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Ted Barrera I agree with you on the reconstruction bull. A perfectly good road, torn up and made hideously ugly with new asphalt to finish up the budget. Use it for something else or send it to Tohoku, they could use that money.

One more thing that annoys me to beyond belief is the way parents raise their kids nowadays which is from

leaving their childs alone in the car while the car is running.

not being strict enough when children bump into people, take a priority seat when theres an old woman.

let their kids play TOO many videogames (too many kids grow up with a DS or PSP)

thats not even half of it.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

The standard of what passes for entertainment never ceases to astound me. For a nation of people who are so keen to profess subtlety and awareness of nuance, they're remarkable easy to entertain. Get a studio full of bright colours and some people shouting in it, and you've got a smash.

Have a little box in the corner of the screen with someone shouting "Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh?" and a "report" which features somebody putting food into their mouth magically becomes a prime-time network television event.

In fact, those little boxes with close-ups of the panel reacting much too intensely to the drivel on the main screen really get on my tit-end. Are the viewers so devoid of wit that they need to have when they should laugh or cry demonstrated to them?

The obvious fakeness of the tears when there's a heartwarming story of a celebrity trying to manage the ordeal of living in another country. Obviously they have to say goodbye to their hosts some time - or they wouldn't have been able to get back to the studio to "present" it. Why does everyone have to mop their tears away and sniff when that predictable conclusion to the story is shown?

The fact that you can make a television career out of being overweight, or having bad teeth, or not wearing socks, or sticking your tongue out just a little bit as you make an asinine observation. Or counting to three, or saying "Goo" or "Gets". Or just shouting all the time.

If you go to a luxury restaurant, and the chef cooks you something, it's a pretty fair bet it's going to taste good. But no food ever tastes so good that you need to SHOUT that it tastes good. And most people here are familiar with the concept of restaurants. Why are we expected to bay like starving morons when you take a film crew into one - every sodding night?

Saying "Eh? and looking at the camera is not the same thing as a joke.

-7 ( +20 / -27 )

@JapanGal: I wish I had my Japanese bathroom / furo style bath in the States. Things about the States I dislike: Theft is probably number 1. Had my car broken into 3 times over the years. I hate seeing a 5 foot tall woman driving around in a massive SUV all by herself. Its just so much of a waste. Or a 5 foot tall guy for that matter. Overall too much waste in the States. Kind of like the excessive packaging in Japan.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

It annoys me that pretty much any kind of food is altered "to better suit the Japanese taste," as though there is a single hive mind shared here when it comes to how you like your food.

It is perfectly all right to tinker with the way people from other countries make their food so that it tastes less spicy, for example. Yet if I, with my non-Japanese palate, put a bit of Tabasco on a bowl of noodles, to make it more enjoyable for me to eat, they look at me like I've started emptying my bladder into it.

-5 ( +21 / -26 )

HOWEVER - should I bring up an issue about Japan that pisses me off with my husband he takes it as a personal insult, gets really angry with me and then finally throws back at me the whole "You dont understand, you are not Japanese" thing. sigh

@Nicky Washida

Perhaps you should sugest to him, that since you aren't Japanese, he might consider the fact that you are actually in a position to be able to be more objective about certain topics. Therefore, you might actually "understand" better. ;)

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Ivan, hit the nail on the head.

Wurthington, would it be okay if the woman or man was 5'6" or 5'10"? What about 6 feet, would that be okay? what's the cut-off?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

@Maitake: I get your point.... does not makes sense but just rangles me.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Ivan Coughanoffalot

It annoys me that pretty much any kind of food is altered "to better suit the Japanese taste," as though there is a single hive mind shared here when it comes to how you like your food.

And then they claim it is much better than the origional. There are many imported foods that the Japanese have killed all in the name of Japanising it and they still claim it better than the origional. Pizza for example YUK!!!

Yet if I, with my non-Japanese palate, put a bit of Tabasco on a bowl of noodles, to make it more enjoyable for me to eat, they look at me like I've started emptying my bladder into it.

Completely agree, l love the looks of horror when you get your meal and then make changes too it. Its hilarious to watch their faces.

-7 ( +8 / -15 )

I'm with Combinibento on this one! Ivan Coughanoffalot, keep 'm coming!! As always I am enjoying Nicky Washida's honest insights too.

I would like to add that for a people as thoughtful and safe-conscious as the Japanese, the irresponsible overcrowding in subways during rush hour is mind-boggling on certain lines. It is unacceptably irresponsible--at some point an accident will happen and many more than necessary people will get injured. It's like putting 10 people in a car that fits 5 at times. I realize it is an difficult-to-circumvent problem, but cramping everybody in the train and shoganai-ing it away is NO solution.

I wonder what kind of embarrassing charade statements will be given out if the above happens.

-5 ( +8 / -13 )

Yagura…thanks. I guess those saying the sitting can also be the dummy themselves.

Wurthington: Right on with the baths! So convenient to sit on one of those stools and do the beauty wash. I like them. Many of my friends and family though found them odd.

Try being a woman Ivan, ordering a beer with a big mug of ice with it. Then again try it as a guy…I bet you will get some very weird looks. Before to flap your gums, gulp, and yell oishiiiiii after your first slug.

5 ( +14 / -9 )

"I’m often the tallest in a crowd of people, and I get stared at when I practice karate (English man)"


2 ( +3 / -1 )

@patrick - totally agree, but you see that response would be logical and rational! Not gonna compute I think, because the standard response is that I don't "get" the "wa" thing that makes Japanese unique so how could I possibly have an educated opinion on something so "unique" and "complex" and clearly beyond the grasp of any non-Yamato?!

But don't get me wrong, I bloody love it here and there are many wonderful things about Japan I would willingly export back to the UK. I'm sure that is the same for many of us otherwise we would simply have given up by now! But there are definitely certain things, many have been mentioned above, that I think Ja

-9 ( +9 / -18 )

...sorry Japan, if it would only open up a bit and take on board, could use tO turn the incredible potential here into a fabulous reality for the benefit of EVERYONE Japanese and foreign.

-12 ( +9 / -21 )


"That someone else can adopt one's child without one's consent" << Sorry? Little bit more info on this one please. Sounds quite scary.

In the Japanese legal system children are effectively treated like property - whichever parent abducts the child first will win complete and absolute sole custody -- the only kind which exists in Japan. Thereafter, the non-abducting parent has no rights; not even the right to see the child - visitation, if granted by the court, is generally limited to a few hours every 4-6 weeks and is unenforceable and therefore completely reliant on the abducting parent to cooperate.

In addition, since they have complete authority over the child, should they remarry their new spouse can adopt your child. You have zero say, and they don't even have to notify.... since you no longer have parental rights.

Simply put, parental rights don't actually exist in Japan - any day that one parent walks out the door with the children could be the last day that the other parent ever sees the children.

This is all of course in violation of international human rights treaties which Japan ratified back in 1994... but hey, you don't think that just because the Japanese constitution says (in article 98) that international treaties are to be respected as law, that that means that the court system will actually follow the law do you?

That is why if you've read any of the nonsense about the "hague treaty" on International child abduction that has been floating around the media a lot lately, it is all a farce. The treaty that Japan already approved in 1994 already says that child abduction (read the UNCRC article 10) is wrong. The treaty also clearly states that rights of the children and parents to maintain a relationship -- all of which Japan has been ignoring it for over 15 years.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Annoying things ? I don't have a solution but I could do without the threat of earthquakes, tsunami, nuke plant accidents, pollen pollution, yellow sand pollution... Any day there is pollen+yellow sand in the air, I am locked in my bunker.

It's all just noise I've learned to tune out, too. So why do the stores bother?

People buy more in noisy stores, in any country. Weird phenomenon. We can't tell why, many experiments have been done (in the US) and that works systematically. And shop managers measure it too. People also eat more, drink more and find the food less tasty in the noise.

If they would shut up, my friends and I would spend more time shopping and buy a lot more. As it stands we shop at quiet places instead.

There are probably 1 or 2% of outliers, but they wouldn't buy much anyway.

15 ( +22 / -7 )

Yet if I, with my non-Japanese palate, put a bit of Tabasco on a bowl of noodles, to make it more enjoyable for me to eat, they look at me like I've started emptying my bladder into it.

Completely agree, l love the looks of horror when you get your meal and then make changes too it. Its hilarious to watch their faces.

Sounds like the time I ate my korokke with the 'wrong' sauce.

I don't think anyone has yet mentioned the hideous squeal of bicycle brakes; or the 'road-rules-for-cyclists-don't-exist' and 'everyone-will-keep-out-of-my-way' attitudes which seem so prevalent among the riders.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Foreign, shmoreign. Parents not having their kids wear seatbelts at the very least or not having them in child seats is not only annoying but a very dangerous and all too often observed problem in this country and everyone should feel this is wrong be they Japanese or otherwise.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

For me, it's often language:

The assumption that people who do not 'look' Japanese do not understand any of the language. Standing in a supermarket check-out queue and becoming aware that the two old women right behind you are having a conversation about your racial characteristics is not pleasant (I turned around; they were embarrassed. It wasn't a tourist area and it wasn't the countryside; it was in a city at 7pm.)

The assumption on the part of kids that I want to be greeted by strangers in the street with the word "haro", and that because I do not look Japanese, then I must be a native-English-speaking foreigner. A non-native-English-speaking foreigner I know once told me how infuriating it is for everyone to both assume that you speak English and attach value only to English.

Finally, the assumption that if you speak English to someone who does not look Japanese, it is acceptable to drop all politeness. This seems to be rooted in the idea that "foreign culture" is always "informal". Strangers occasionally approach me in the street or in shops and address me in English from the outset without any formal language, whereas in Japanese this is unlikely to happen without use of some polite speech. That the most annoying part: that they there exists so much formal language in Japanese but none of it is transferred to English. Example: "Where are you from?" That was it. From a stranger standing next to me. No "excuse me". I said "the moon" in Japanese.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Nicky Washida, does your husband check JT? If so you have a commendable marriage!

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

It annoys me that a lot of Japanese people will announce that Japan has four seasons, with a look of immense pride on their face, like they've got empirical proof that they're a great lover, or their son's been awarded a Nobel Prize.

Firstly, how is it possible for anyone to believe that having seasons is a unique accomplishment? It would be excusable had they lived in a mountain village two hundred years ago, but in 2012, to be ignorant of it getting hot elsewhere in Summer and cold in Winter, with two intervening periods of warmness is really nothing to be proud about.

Secondly, all right, I'll accept they (like many other places) have Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. That's four. Then there's typhoon season. And the Rainy Season. And Cherry-blossom season. And Kafunsho season.

Having at least eight seasons might - might - be unique. But "Japan is the Four Season country of this world."


-5 ( +20 / -25 )

Example: "Where are you from?" That was it. From a stranger standing next to me. No "excuse me".

That person may have plucked up all his courage and tied his brains in knots in order to string together a sentence from what bit of high-school English he retained. And all you could do was slap him down?

Nice way to show how dropping all politeness is something non-Japanese never do.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

@cleo: please re-read my post. It is not appropriate to approach strangers on the basis of their racial appearance and address them in what you assume to be a language they understand, without any polite language to go with it. You would not appreciate random people coming up to you in your own country to ask you random personal questions. Furthermore, I am not here to provide free on-the-spot English lessons for anyone who wants them.

Nice way to show how dropping all politeness is something non-Japanese never do.

When someone opens a conversation at one level, it is appropriate to respond at their level.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )


Yeah, I hear ya. That whole "logic catch-22" problem again.

I think that the world would be a much better place if critical thinking was a multi-year required topic of study in general education the world over.

But then again, ingrained-from-birth-nationalism seems to trump logic in a lot of cases anyhow.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I have never heard a Japanese person explain that Japan has 4 seasons. Not once. Where have I been going wrong? I have encountered most of the other myths, but not this one.

Anyway, it has two seasons - too bloody hot and too bloody cold, with a couple of days of tolerable weather between them. Just joking. Mostly.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

When someone opens a conversation at one level, it is appropriate to respond at their level.

No it isn't. If you have standards you stick to them.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Pretty much agree with everything on here - And Nicky, my husband does the EXACT same thing. How many times have I been told that foreign countries are dangerous, the food is bad, the weather sucks... blah blah blah... Even hint at a criticism and see how quickly people here turn on you and then get angry that you don't think this is lalaland with cotton candy skies and endless sunshine. Bad case of being able to dish it out and not take it.

Cleo, sorry but walking up to someone and asking "Where are you from?" is rude - and blatantly is "us" and "them" mentality. Say excuse me or something, find something else to talk about and THEN ask where I am from but "where are you from?" only is just wrong. And courage? Perhaps they could use Japanese since this is Japan and not assume that all foreigners speak English and no Japanese? I find THAT annoying. Always assumed I don't speak the lingo, I am a guest, I will be leaving...

I will also add in (from the thread last week) the need for this country to always be different, special and unique. If it isn't the unique four seasons, it is the food, the culture and all those crazy things the Japanese do that annoy us.

-7 ( +12 / -19 )

Spanish eyes:

I have seen lots of gaijin do that, and I help them to recharge it.

That is funny though. I always read what is left on mine, and decide to fill it before going on a trip.

I wasn't differentiating between Japanese and foreigners. The article asks things we find annoying living in Japan in general, NOT about Japanese people. Did I say ''Japanese people don't fill their train cards? No, I didn't.

Yes, if more people actually do what you do (charging their cards BEFORE getting on the train, it would make commuting a bit easier.. And the antelope eat the grass, the lions eat the antelope, the antelope becomes part of the grass , such is the circle of life

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

So my response should have been (in English), something like: "Oh, hello. I am from X, since you were kind enough to ask. I like Japan. Well done for approaching a stranger. Say, I think you should use 'Excuse me' next time. Well, it was nice meeting you. Bye!" All while I'm doing my shopping in a non-tourist area (actually one which was known for its Brazilian community, yet they still used English).

That person may have plucked up all his courage and tied his brains in knots in order to string together a sentence from what bit of high-school English he retained. And all you could do was slap him down?

Funny how you think that some could have forgotten most of their English, including common courtesies, yet be able to remember a question like "Where are you from?" and presumably a range of expected answers.

Yes, I should at all times be an ambassador for my country, a representative for "foreigners" and a guest who must watch their words all the time to avoid giving Japanese people - whose actions are, of course, always reasonable - the feeling that foreigners are rude. Rude Japanese people are exempted from reciprocating.

I've just remembered why I stopped posting on here...

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Well said Britling!! Ignorance is bliss...

-9 ( +5 / -14 )

So my response should have been (in English), something like: "Oh, blah blah blah...'

No, but complaining about the other person's rudeness then being equally rude yourself doesn't really cut it, does it?

Yes, I should at all times be an ambassador for my country, a representative for "foreigners" and a guest who must watch their words all the time

Do what you like. My viewpoint is that I represent me, and if I'm rude to a person that reflects badly on me, not on my country of origin or on a bunch of people I have nothing in common with apart from the fact of not having been born in Japan. I don't consider myself a 'guest' here; neither are you, if Japan is your home. No one is suggesting that the actions of Japanese people en bloc (or any other nationality) are uniformly anything; pointing out that you were rude does not imply that the person who spoke to you was not. Simply if you're going to complain about rudeness, check first that you're in a position to do so without getting egg on your face.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Readers, please focus your comments on the topic and not at or about each other.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You what annoys me? People complaining and pointing out faults of others and then turn around and do the EXACT same thing they are complaining about...

-15 ( +6 / -21 )

And yet, Tabasco on pizza and pasta is fine... Furikake is okay on rice... Corn and mayo and curry sauce on pizza... Fruit in sandwiches...

I shall stop now.

-9 ( +6 / -15 )

Lack of initiative as the group mentality is more important. Cyclists. Earthquakes. Molestors on trains and bullies - seems there is a serious lack of punishment.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

gotta love MADAME RiRi :D

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Lack of mental health system Election cars from 7am Lack of pain relief medication after surgery or during childbirth

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The way they always seem so surprised and start having "umai!!!" "oishiiii!!!" orgasms on TV is both bewildering and annoying. If it wasn't good or hideously disgusting, chances are it wouldn't have made it on TV in the first place. So why all the surprise?

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

I'm in the service business and have encountered numerous times resistance to steps that would turn "tolerable service" into "welcoming hospitality." The fear of making a mistake is paralyzing to so many here - to language speakers and neighbors chatting in the parks and company employees and kindergarten students. I'll plunge ahead with what I think is right, take my lumps when I'm mistaken and quite satisfaction when my suggestions are incorporated into policy.

Never take anything personally. The only sane response to a person who has boxed himself in is pity.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I'm from Australia. Including Japan I have spend most of my life travelling to approx over 50 countries, and believe me I have seen it all. Whenever i hear people comparing countries or making comments of any particular country, I usually reply: "every country has the good, the bad, and the ugly". In other words, every country has good points, bad points and the extreme. My point is: don't complain. Rather, learn from your experience, so when you find yourself in any challenging situation you'll know how to react, and not judge other's (as they think about the same way about you). And if someone does something "wrong" (to you) well, its their problem, and not yours. Let knowledge and wisdom rule over ignorance. Just do the right to your fellow man or woman and believe me life will reard you accordingly. It's always nice to give something to someone intsead of always thinking what you can get. Sounds good??? ^^

15 ( +22 / -7 )

Ivan: "It's like a man refusing to look at any woman's knockers other than his mother's becuase they were the first ones offered to him, therefore they must be the best in the world"

Har! Yes, most Japanese I know have never eaten non-Japanese rice.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Receiving monetary gifts from inlaws and being expected to return 50 percent of the cost back to them in the form of department store TOWELS....

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Have had a good Japanese friend, 2 colleagues and a taxi driver tell me that there "is no nutrition in foreign rice".

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@qauecker no! Def not! And neither does MIL so here's a great one to add to the list!

She ran the dishwasher tonight with 5 cups, 2 small plates and a fork in it - and left about 50 dishes, cups, plates and bowls in the sink to then be washed by hand! OMG!!! I have just gotten out of hospital today and already going mad!!! I don't know if this is a Japanese thing tho, or just my MIL??! God bless her for helping I suppose!

-16 ( +6 / -22 )

Coughot you are SO good at this!!! Yes, the 4 season thing! I have lost count of the number of times my MIL has also asked me if we have 4 seasons in the UK and then responded with an incredulous EEERE??!! when I confirm that yes indeed we have a spring, and a summer, and an autumn and then funnily enough a winter! Only to then get "ah! But you don't have a rainy season now, do you?!" to which I always answer actually yes, all year round! Give up lady! You cannot beat the UK in a pissing- down competition! ;)

-10 ( +12 / -22 )

Including Japan I have spend most of my life travelling to approx over 50 countries,

Since you have spent so much time traveling, you probably really haven't stopped to smell the roses and get to know a place fully. As in, live there and take the rose tinted glasses off. Great that you feel the way you do but don't belittle the people who live full-time in another language/culture than their own when asked what they find annoying about their new home. New place is perfect, no place is the same and I am sure JT posters could fill a page like this on things they find annoying when they return to their native country.

As a Canadian, do have of you have any idea how annoying the maple thing is? Canada is ALL about maple syrup to the Japanese and they then turn around and start telling you about maple trees and how they are unique to Japan. Um.... at least ours produce syrup??

Goes back to my gripe about them always having to be different, always having to be unique, always having to compare themselves to some other country - be it the leaves, the cherry blossoms (what you have them in GAIKOKU????!! EEEEEEEEHHHH?!), the four seasons, their short legs, them being the only ones in the world that take their shoes off in the house, the raw fish, the rice, the snow, the early sun, the humidity, their robots, visiting graves, family bonds (cue KIZUNA!!!!!)... I could go on and on about how the "unique" things here that are NOT unique. It honestly does my head in - more so when I usually know more about the topic than most Japanese - because some poor sod who actually does believe this is a Japan only thing and has spent his whole adult life studying about this unique thing will bore me to tears when I get seated next to him/her at an enkai, a wedding...

-8 ( +11 / -19 )

You can't go outside with the baby for the first month after birth. Apparently because it's too risky with air pollution, dirt etc. But open the window in the apartment (surely most people do that at least once a month?) and it's the same bloody air!!!

-11 ( +10 / -21 )

Nicky, I think it's not so much the same bloody air as the germs carried by people outside. I remember when my first was born, MiL was in charge and she insisted that when Mr cleo came home from work he had to take off his outdoor clothes and shower before he could be allowed in the same room as the baby. After a month he was allowed to just wash his hands instead of showering, but he still had to change his clothes. What miffed him most was that she would clean the washing machine before washing nappies (this was back in the days of cloth nappies) and then wash his shirts.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I agree with many of the comments..like the shops making too much noise and the sun coming up and being wasted in the early mornings.

But it's getting annoying reading that Japan is supposedly "eco" as if it is not a fact. Just because some things japanese do are not ecologically friendly, please, do not deny the facts. The facts are at a per capita level and also related to GDP Japan is by far the most ecologically friendly nation in the developed world. 1.5 times more efficient than the EU and over 2x more efficient than USA, Canada and Australia.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

As a minority from the US its also pretty funny seeing some of the comments here, seems like white people freak out about being a minority in another country..and dont realize they do the same BS in their home country...like completely destroying other nationalities food to suit their tastes, constantly asking me where I am from (and when I say I am born in the US they ask me "NO, where are you really from?" As a minority in both the US and Japan, I can pretty much say my life as a minority in Japan was pretty much alot better than it is in the "multicultural" US. Everyone was polite and doesn't have that stupid "attitude" that you encounter in the US from grocery stores to banks.

8 ( +17 / -9 )

A nation of 130 million people whining that their illegally unpaid "service over-time" working hours are "taihen", but collectively do bugger all to improve the situation for themselves.

Bosses who know their staff are working these dreadful hours, but are quite happy to sit back and let their staff do it, seemingly without conscience. Bosses not seeming to understand that an exhausted employee is of little use to productivity anyway.

That for Japanese, a words like "Kyujitsu" & "Yasumi" seem to belong in the same group of words as "Tengoku, Jigoku, Kappa, etc". i.e. they have a word for something even though it doesn't actually exist.

The fact that the labour standards agency is only open during office hours, which is exactly the time the people it should be helping are chained to their desks, that they will only take up a case when the plaintiff is the employee themselves, and that whatever they "recommend" to the employer is (as far as I have been led to believe) non-binding legally.

About as useful as a paper raincoat.

11 ( +12 / -1 )


You can't go outside with the baby for the first month after birth. Apparently because it's too risky with air pollution, dirt etc. But open the window in the apartment (surely most people do that at least once a month?) and it's the same bloody air!!!

That's a Chinese medicine thing - my wife said that is what she will do once she conceives

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Japanese people coughing all over you/the open buffet style food areas in the supermarket.

Shockingly bad/lazy driving.

Flags for shops placed at roadsides/entranceways, blocking your view of oncoming traffic/pedestrians.

Extremely poor phasing of traffic lights meaning too many drivers continue through red lights so as not to be stuck at that set for 2-3 minutes (though of course, they still get stuck at the next set 50 metres ahead anyway the numbskulls)

"Case by case" is meaningless in any kind of bureaucratic interaction.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

That whole one leg rolled up thing.gets me going every time.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The phenomenon of "style over substance" that seems to pervade most aspects of Japanese culture; not what it is, but how it appears to be is what counts.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

So was the guy (who was complaining about the early morning sun) living in Hokkaido? Even if DST was implemented, the sun would STILL be up at 5:30 where he is. According to my handy Google Earth Sun simulator, Hokkaido only has about 7 hours of darkness in the middle of Summer. That means Joe Complainer is ether going to bed while the Sun is still up, or getting up after the Sun has risen no matter WHAT the clocks say. Deal with it.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

The facts are at a per capita level and also related to GDP Japan is by far the most ecologically friendly nation in the developed world. 1.5 times more efficient than the EU and over 2x more efficient than USA, Canada and Australia.

As is the case with ANY "facts", numbers can be manipulated any which way you want them to be. "1.5 times more efficient" at WHAT, exactly? In the terms of this "fact", what does being efficient mean? I can say I'm 2.5 times more efficient at sniffing out bogus stats than you are, but without referencing actual study data, you have no idea what I mean by that statement.

Even how the results are reported can be nebulous. Three different, respected news organizations reported recently on a survey that supposedly stated that:

"Birth-control is widely used even by Catholics: 98 percent of American Catholic women have used contraception in their lifetimes."

This was false. After it was looked into, what SHOULD have been reported was that:

"Data shows that 98 percent of sexually experienced women of child-bearing age and who identify themselves as Catholic have used a method of contraception other than natural family planning at some point in their lives."

These well-respected news organizations (the one I quoted above was the Washington Post newspaper) in the interest of brevity took a result that applied to a much smaller cross-section of Catholic women and inadvertently applied it to ALL Catholic women.

To the Post's credit, it was their writer who writes the "Fact Checker" column who revealed this. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/the-claim-that-98-percent-of-catholic-women-use-contraception-a-media-foul/2012/02/16/gIQAkPeqIR_blog.html

In short, just because it's in the paper or on the TV news doesn't make it accurate. Always research on your own before repeating a "statistic" and include references when possible.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

I would also suggest checking out this clever animation done by a Japanese graphic artist: Japan-The Strange Country (Japanese translated ver.) http://vimeo.com/9873910

Unfortunately, he seems to have taking down the English version.
0 ( +0 / -0 )


The root of Japanese culture is based an "US and Them" mentality. The Japanese culture teaches that Japanese are unique and uniquely special and have a uniquely, unique culture and a country with a uniquely, unique climate with unique four uniquely, special seasons which is unique to everywhere else in the world (basically they need to get out more); and everyone NOT-Japanese is not as unique and is less special.

No matter how much you assimilate, master the language, bow at the correct angle for the particular occasion, can catch flies with chopsticks, eat natto, whatever... you can never "be Japanese" and therefore are always an outsider. Even foreigners (esp non-asian) who become Japanese citizens are still viewed as outsiders.

I would suggest that in Japan, Shintoism and Buddhism are not the religions of the land -- they are merely ingrained rituals passed down through time. The real religion of Japan is BEING JAPANESE.

In the typical Japanese mindset, one cannot separate ethnicity from national citizenship; nor dozens of other categories. This is also why when you critique the country, you are told you are "bashing" the Japanese. I don't have an issue with the Japanese people, their ethnicity, their bloodline, their DNA, or whatever - my two boys are half Japanese. I have many friends who are Japanese.

What I DO have issue with the is the mindlessly blind aspects of the "Japanese Establishment": the mind-numbing bureaucracy; the cultural need to turn a blind eye to anything potentially negative about the country (you can't fix what you refuse to see); the desire to deny that their views of human rights are misguided (to put it in the nicest possible light - the UN called Japan deaf re: human rights); the refusal to even consider that having the highest suicide rate and lowest birthrate of any industrialized country might call for a rethinking of some aspect of their societal views. etc.

Japan wants to receive the benefits of International trade and commerce. Japan wants to benefit from the skills that foreigners can bring to the table. They want to be able to leverage international treaties (while generally not honoring the treaties themselves). And Japan also wants to be able to treat foreigners as indefinite outsiders and, if we are very lucky, second class citizens.

If the Japanese come to someplace like America, the UK, Australia, etc. They are treated fairly, protected equally under those countries laws, etc. But the same does not hold true for foreigners in Japan.

Heck, the Japanese Supreme Court has even ruled that only Japanese are allowed human rights protections in Japan. Japan doesn't even have any laws to protect against racism -- Because they don't think it is wrong! They think that discrimination is perfectly okay - as long as it's discrimination BY them, not TOWARDS them.

People who still don't realize this, are the ones in denial... or still walking around with their blinders on.

I'm sorry, relationships are about give and take - and Japan still needs to balance the books on their end; and I don't mean in the Olympus-balancing-books way that Japan typically tries to get away with.

I gripe, because I love Japan and I like the Japanese people as individuals (the group think is an issue) - and I don't want to see the country continue down it's blind path of self-destruction.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

Things that strike me (sorry if they have been covered);

the deep desire for Japan as a country to be unique in the world (with the implication being better), while at the same time individual Japanese DON'T desire to be unique at all.

Navel gazing. THere are myriad TV shows and newspaper articles which ask just these kinds of questions: "what do foreigners think of Japan?". Seems insecure to me. I can't remember seeing the same kind of thing back home- a CBS or CBC show interviewing foreign people asking "what do you think of Canada/USA".
7 ( +10 / -3 )

Something told me this question would get over 100 replies in less than 24 hours. Shall we try to double that? For those like myself living in the city, I also would say noise while in shopping areas could be the most annoying thing about Japan. The loud repetitive "Irasshaimase!" yelled to no one in particular, the use of megaphones (which should be banned) to amply the insanity (ABC Mart and Matsumoto Kyoshi are some of the worst culprits). The thing that really gets me, is when you ask these staff a question about their merchandise you often get blank looks or an unhelpful attitude.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The thing that bothers me the most (besides the government and TEPCO) is the school system. Teachers here have far too many responsibilites but aren't really given the power they need. They can't really discipline students. They can't throw the trouble-makers out of the class and they can't even suspend students if they break a kids nose or punch a teacher (both happened at my school recently)

They are expected to teach amazing classes while some students can completely hijack the class and nothing can be done. Because of this, classes aren't being taught efficiantly. Students don't learn like they should and instead have to go to jukus to learn what should have been already taught.

Teachers also have to do finances, clubs and so many other things that they don't always have time to focus on preparing classes which should be one of their main priorities.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

**JapanGal - I find it annoying that people that are guests here constantly complain about things they cannot change as it is not their culture.

You may have a point for residents who have been here a short time, but remember that working people living and working in a foreign country have a stake in the society they live in. A largely single-culture society means a single set of ideas and values. New ideas come from the differing perspectives of other cultures, and I believe that foreigners can see solutions to problems that Japanese people can't... When you work with Japanese, eat Japanese food, and do Japanese things (shopping and going to Izukaya's) - whose culture is it anyways? Where do you place the large number of foreign residents who are married to Japanese nationals, and indeed some who have marriages from such marriages?

Culture is not something owned. It is something shared. Culture is also not something that is static. Culture has always changed - quite significantly in Japan. As you can see, people don't wear Edo style clothes or wear swords at their waists. Geisha is an institution almost extinct. Culture changes. All "guests" to a new country are a part of society and therefore are a part of the culture that surrounds them. As (largely) English teachers, we are in the role of exchanging our cultural beliefs, ideas, values and experiences - and in some way we are contributing and gradually shaping Japanese society.

I think you will find Western influence on housework in Japan. Many younger Japanese husbands these days are contributing more to housework than their fathers or grandfathers. Perhaps foreigners are frustrated that these kinds of changes do not happen more quickly - a factor perhaps related to our small numbers and lack of community in Japan.

Without question, there has got to be a better way for government to operate in this country. I have lived in Canada and the US for several years, I see greater level of transparency and accountability. Believe me - I see a lot of decision making I disagree with, but borrowing from these varied experiences I see "boar" headed politicians in Japan who neither offer transparency nor offer accountability. Japan should still be in a state of emergency ... yet life goes on like yesterday (3/11) never happened ... I am disturbed by the culture of the media here in that it isn't (or probably can't be) openly critical. There is a serious issue of a lack of freedom and independence of the press here in comparison with what is permitted in the US and Canada.

-2 ( +10 / -12 )

Japanese will happily spend, what? 60,000 yen upwards on a Brand bag, but won't cough up 2,000 yen for some lights for their bicycle; or even those that do, then often don't lay out 100 yen for when the set of batteries that came with the lights run out, and, come to think of it, not even 100 yen for some oil for their chain... Priorities are all wrong.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@Andrew - that may be loosely true but actually the origins lie in - surprise surprise - religion. And what makes it all the more irritating is that no Japanese I have ever spoken to except one (who pointed me in the right direction) even KNOW this yet they all follow the custom religiously!!!

In a nutshell after you deliver the baby you are considered "dirty" for a month (for various gory reasons I wont go into if you ever actually want to become a father!) and therefore you are not allowed into a temple until one month later - which is where the mi-o-mairi thing comes in. AFTER that, you are allowed out with the baby.

We used to have a similar thing in the west known as "being churched" but as modern times and knowledge took over the custom was waylaid - unlike here it would seem. But it is lost in the mists of time now, and Japanese will give you any reason under the sun for it, from needing to rest (true to a point!) to pollution, bacteria, bright lights, noise, or simply people not wanting to set eyes on a just-birthed mother (yep! even had that one!) Your wife may even be told she is not allowed to read or watch TV for a month!

Frankly it is all utter bollocks, but mothers, mothers in law and grandmothers here have huge power over new mothers and they will "advise". As you can probably imagine, my MIL was not able to influence me on this one!

-12 ( +8 / -20 )

@Patrick - you are SO right. There are two types of griping foreigner here - the ones who are just generally peed off with it all (and lets be honest I think most of us fluctuate in and out of that box on a weekly (daily?!) basis. But then there are those of us here for the duration. We really CARE about this place, and we can see the vast potential it has - not to become "westernised" but to become a happier, fairer place for all - not just for us but for the Japanese themselves. I get infuriated sometimes just standing by watching Japanese get screwed over by their own government and each other!

But it seems sometimes if you even have an opinion on anything less than perfct about Japan you are a "Japan basher". It is not about that. If there was a thread here on things that irritate me about the UK you would ot be able to keep me off it! Its about wanting to improve things for yourself and everyone around you. Now some of those things may not be agreed upon, but there cant be many people surely who wouldnt welcome more transparency and less noise here?!

-9 ( +11 / -19 )


I think you are totally on point.

But since Japan tends to co-op anything good into being "Japanese" and anything bad into being "Not Japanese", I think that they tend to lose perspective regarding the contributions that foreigners have continually made to Japan and the Japanese culture.

I mean, the very fabric of the current level of democracy in Japanese society was a western import. And the limitations and attacks on it are due to the residual authoritarian ghosts of the countries cultural past.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@ Jpan Gal: yes, some of the views here are no more than pet peeves, but you can't deny that there are some serious issues at hand. All things negative seem to be ignored in Japan: very high suicide rate, molesters on trains, human rights, bullying to name a few. Is this part of Japanese culture? The sad thing is, I think so. Still, if Disney Land builds a new attraction then all of the bad things will go away... Thanks to Patrick McPike and Tim Fox for their truth. Agree 100%.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

One of the more interesting things I've seen is that some of our comments are being read and translated into Japanese by bloggers. But what they're translating is the interesting part... mainly good things we're saying are being translated. Typical.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Paying huge amounts in citizen tax each year, but not having suffrage to have my say on how my money is spent; and to add insult to injury, being labelled by some (I'm looking at you JapanGal) as a "guest". Guests don't pay tax dear...

A certain prefecture I live in having the highest rate of drink driving and the highest rating for "warui manner" in driving for the 7 years I've been here, and the police (particularly the Chief of police) here being too feckless to actually be embarrassed about it and start to tackle the problems.

Spending a good portion of my class trying to banish Katakana born bad pronunciation of English from my school age students, only for them to go to school the next day have have it drilled back into them. This illustrates my point http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOj-DweFdzk

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Wurthington - which blogs?

-9 ( +4 / -13 )


Exactly. We all have to be willing to recognize issue is we are to have any hope of fixing them. People pointing out legitimate issues is not bashing - it is trying to raise awareness so that we can work together to fix it.

Currently my number one issue with Japan is the societal blindness to human rights issues. Japan seems to think that human rights abuses only occur in other countries; they tend to ignore the major issues in their own backyard. Case in point - the child abduction issue; which is completely insane. "Let's abuse and emotionally damage the next generation, because it's too inconvenient (or shameful) to admit that our bureaucracies are broken and our legal system is ineffective". Other countries are trying to get father's to play more active roles in the lives of their children... Japan is seemingly trying to remove the fathers completely.

In any case, whether someone likes it or not, the world has become a rather small place and is getting smaller and smaller every year. And major countries like Japan, and both your native country and mine, have a more prominent place in the world than other countries. With that prominence comes both benefits - and responsibility.

And like you, I have a much longer list of issues with my native country - esp. as I hold to a much higher standard.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@ Ivan: Go to Google Search and type your Japan Today name... see if any of the results come up in Japanese. I've seen a couple of mine translated.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I'll apologise in advance for yet another driving related one, but...

The ridiculously large number of people who seem to think that reading a manga/book/watching TV on the satnav is more important than keeping their attention focussed on the road in front of them, which is usually coupled with the "if it wasn't anything there a moment ago, then there can't possibly be anything there now" brigade who just pull out in front of you without checking - this includes those taking their mamacharis out of the endless lines of bicycles along a busy thoroughfare - that's it, just pull your bike out right in front of me because you didn't even bother to look if there was someone right behind you.

People riding at you on the wrong side of the road and expecting you to go around them.

Someone said it before, but it needs saying again - Screaming brakes

Old men/women on the bus using their keitais who can't seem to figure where the manner mode button is, and so all you can hear is a 5 minute aural barrage of beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep as they are texting.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@ Ivan: Your Japan Today comment regarding Japan's Railway / Subway system was translated into Japanese.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I used to drive quite a bit in Japan but recently have not.... but Kaminarioyaji's comment reminded me of something: Japanese drivers often would just stop in the road to check directions or something while traffic backed up behind them. Or they would stop the car on on a curved road whereby those coming around the curve would suddenly find them sitting there. Always stop your car on a straightaway... its just a lot safer. And whenever you do stop always try to find a parking lot off of the road so you don't stall traffic. It is just common courtesy to do such things.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

One of the more interesting things I've seen is that some of our comments are being read and translated into Japanese by bloggers.

There are a number of bloggers translating those comments from JT and talking about who says what. JT is one of the websites recommended for HS/college English and social studies classes. They discuss what foreigners are thinking about Japan and some certain topics and so on.

[sample blogs]



2 ( +4 / -2 )

People muttering things at me if I cross the pedestrian crossing on red even if the next car is 1.5 light years away.

Beers with three inches of foam on them

The incredibly slow walking pace that people adopt when in places like Shibuya

3 abreast obasans in the narrow streets around Azabu

10 month pregnancies (doesn't really annoy me but it is mighty strange. As it was explained to me between periods woman are technically pregnant).
3 ( +6 / -3 )

I can't help but wonder why the vast majority of second hand goods, particularly electrical items, clothing, high quality bicycles, motorbikes, etc are priced at about 10% less than what they cost new. No incentive to buy at all.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

About the pregnancy question-


-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Wurthington - I can only find links back to JT. Which subway post is quoted? I've made several, you'll be surprised to learn...

-9 ( +5 / -14 )

@ Ivan: Here is the Link: http://goyaku.blog45.fc2.com/?mode=m&no=425

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Willful blindness to the incredible amount of human rights issues left in an industrialized country like Japan.

Wasting energy on inventing excuses as to why Japanese are not to be blamed for absolutely anything they do wrong.

The prevalent misguided thinking that the good things still left in Japan could be credited to people still alive.

The miserable productivity of Japanese workforce.

These things wouldn't annoy unless I was paying taxes to Japan. And because of the strict education requirements to us much needed foreign workforce, paying a lot more taxes than most Japanese.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

My biggest peeve is motor scooters going to and from work in the morning. They have no regard for any traffic laws whatsoever.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Foreigner or not, the radio in Japan leaves tons to be desired.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The impermeable web of wires and cables everywhere. Can't they go underground? Ooooh, its so annoying.

2 ( +2 / -0 )


Foreigner or not, the radio in Japan leaves tons to be desired.

Completely agree, between Japanese radio and tv. I feel dumber by the minute when subjected to it, thankfully the internet is there to rescue us from the mind numbing effects

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I would also suggest checking out this clever animation done by a Japanese graphic artist: Japan-The Strange Country (Japanese translated ver.) http://vimeo.com/9873910

Unfortunately, he seems to have taking down the English version.


The impermeable web of wires and cables everywhere. Can't they go underground?

Since Japan has a lot of earthquakes, it'd be easier to constantly check and fix wires above ground than underground.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What about ambulances in a hurry to get to the ER, chanting through megaphones, apologizing and asking for consideration, while driving ... 40 km/h tops. I'm sure the guy operating the megaphone in the passenger seat has more important things to do?

Hope I'll never have a heart-attack here... or anywhere else for that matter.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Blatant and shameless double standards.

As a foreigner, you do something positive/commendable like show kindness toward an elderly person, pick up a piece of trash. Often, the automatic reaction of Japanese people is to exclaim, "you just like a Japanese!" They act as if it were the greatest of compliments to bestow on a non-Japanese person.

Look what happens if you put the shoe on the other foot, though. Tell a Japanese person who has done something praiseworthy that they are just like a {insert your nationality here}, and suddenly it becomes an insult.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I am also surprised nobody mentioned smoking in restaurants yet! Even though in generally smokers here behave quite well, this should be BANNED!

4 ( +5 / -1 )


Completely agree, between Japanese radio and tv. I feel dumber by the minute when subjected to it, thankfully the internet is there to rescue us from the mind numbing effects

I hear that. Be it TV or radio, it basically seems like as long as the 'entertainers' are having a good time, then that is enough. Of course, at least with TV, you sometimes get something nice to look at and they actually have news reports that last longer than five minutes. Radio, on the other hand, can be so mind-numbing I often wonder if it is a brainwashing tool.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"you just like a Japanese!"

Come on, the English is not nearly that good, is it?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I wonder if the guy in the article talking about being tall and practicing karate was practicing in public. In that case I would probably stare too.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If you have complaints then that means you shouldn't even be living there. I lived there for 4 months and I enjoyed everyday I was there.

-11 ( +3 / -15 )


If you have complaints then that means you shouldn't even be living there. I lived there for 4 months and I enjoyed everyday I was there.

Ah so we are not allowed to have an opinion on what we like and dislike about an issue. Guess you will fit in well here they like the silent types that have no opinion.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@Disillusioned Jobs ads looking for people of a certain nationality aren't racist. Nationalities are not races. It pains me to have clear this up. People are so quick to make claims of racism so much that they are used when they do not apply and not used enough when they actually matter. Please don't cheapen the term.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Panboo, where else would I live? Comparatively, I'm very happy about living in here. That of course does not preclude it can't be even better.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Cletus agree 100% Many of those that negative rep people here have never lived here or have come only for short stints. I have complaints but the good far outweighs the bad.

@panboo I have lived here for 15 years and there is plenty to complain about, there is plenty to be happy about too. 4 months really isn't a lot of time to make a judgement.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Thing is PANBO, 4 months is a buzz. I did 9 years in Japan and your life changes over that period. Thus there are some things that do start to annoy which in that whirlwind four months you do not notice. I gues in your short visit you never were denied entrance to a bar because you were not japanese. Or had a neighbour complain abot the way you put out the rubbish (these things can of course happen anywhere). The first two years I was in Japan my head was just in a whirl and I wondered why people used to complain on JT. But in time, the fog clears and you start to realise what life is like in Japan.

For me, the biggest eye opener was at last understanding what "subtle racisim" truley meant.Perhaps in your four months you never had to experience snotty nosed drunks with exploding sneezes on packed trains. Or the frustration of rules at the beach/park/tourist spot. Always follow the rules regardless of how insane they are.

All in all I loved my time in Japan. I miss it andd the many friends I made. But I would not do another nine years there. Well maybe not in Tokyo. Possibly in the south - wife is from Kagoshima.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I was thinking about the Nationality racism thing too.... just because they want someone with an American or British accent is not racism. It is the equivalent of letting the buyer chose what he or she wants and that is it.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Come on, the English is not nearly that good, is it?

Thumbs downer. It was a joke. Chillax.

If you have complaints then that means you shouldn't even be living there. I lived there for 4 months and I enjoyed everyday I was there.


Wow, 4 months. I hope you have written a book about your experiences. I am sure it will provide valuable knowledge about the intricacies of Japan. However, I think if a person pays taxes in a country, they should at least be able to comment about things that annoy them in Japan in an internet discussion about things that annoy them in Japan.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

It's sad that there are over 170 comments and counting on this thread, and only 46 comments on this one : http://www.japantoday.com/category/have-your-say/view/what-are-some-of-the-things-you-like-most-about-living-in-japan What's annoying about life in Japan? My friends who won't stop complaining about the differences they've noticed in Japan.

7 ( +17 / -10 )

My big sister hates about Japan!!! How japanese women can have a child and pop bag into shape again

Actually I think that is a bit of jealousy, he he!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

But, THE most annoying thing is all the gaijins (tons here) who say "I love Japan, BUT......" Come off it. Liars.

-9 ( +2 / -12 )

Another little hate of mine is how the train in the morning is like a sardine can. Just when you think it must be full in push another 20 people. Last week my packet of crisps burst with the force and went all over the place. No one says excuse me as they push you out the door even if you don't want to leave the train, but hey, I'm getting used to it now and actually quite funny now

Also don't like how I get some horrified looks as I eat a burger in the train when I am starving. lol I guess I have to do some more work on the japanese cultural thing and learn the do's and don'ts

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@ Almostshat: Its more like a Love / Hate relationship. When I'm here.... often I'm not happy about many things but when I'm living elsewhere I wish I were back in Japan. BUT guess what Almo... I've got the exact same feeling about living in the USA, which is where I'm from.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's sad that there are over 170 comments and counting on this thread, and only 46 comments on this one

No it is not.

However, the reasons for it are quite sad.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

One of the more interesting things I've seen is that some of our comments are being read and translated into Japanese by bloggers. But what they're translating is the interesting part... mainly good things we're saying are being translated. Typical.

That explains the randomness of the thumbs down then. When read this thread yesterday I was up to eight for one post and now it is like -13. Again, they can dish it out but can take it. Proving my point nicely...

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

What's interesting is that most gaijin all say the same kinds of things, so there IS a consensus, and Japanese would do well to listen. Loved Ivan's contribution, and Nicky, I relate so well to the spouse taking things personally. You wouldn't believe how carefully I choose my words if I want to get across that there is something about Japan that isn't completely perfect. And even then it doesn't work. (I married a super Japanese Japanese).

But I would say that my biggest difficulty in Japan comes down to this for me.

Seeing or hearing about the way things are in Japan and asking "Why?", or suggesting that it doesn't have to be done that way, and being met with silence, disbelief, or being told that the said thing HAS to be done like that because Japan is like that.........and then ....on month, or one year, or 10, 20 years later, see the Japanese change everything because some guru on a TV, or someone trying to make money said they could and seeing everyone going eeeeeeeeeeeee and being astounded at his wisdom then embarking on a a cultural revolution. - then me pulling my hair out saying "I TOLD YOU THIS YEARS AGO!!!!!!"

sorry for that ridiculous sentence, and the screaming.

Seriously, the amount of things that are said to not be able to be changed because it's japan, but then later get changed is incredible.

These days I just tell my wife that I am about to prophesy...and say how in 5 or 10 years Japan will do something in a certain way.

So don't give up folks, it just takes time. And things are changing faster.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

"If you don’t understand something, tilt your head, let your mouth fall open and blink rapidly."

Ivan, I loved that. I even did it a few times and remembered the times I've seen it.

Okay, here's what I hate about TV. The ridiculous use of BGM - esp during serious news. Lost count of the times when I've said to my wife that the BGM is really weird. Or the times when they use the sinister music for they bad guy/girl (who hasn't been proven guilty yet). Crazily enough, my wife never notices it - so it's no wonder how easily influenced people can be by the media.

And how I wish that just tell you information without drawing it out by asking a question than getting dozens of talento to say what they think. Sometimes there's good info given out on TV, but it takes 30 mins, and 4 smap commercials to get what would otherwise take 3 minutes.

I dreamed of the day when I could understand Japanese TV, and when through a short period where I loved it because I could understand more and more. Now, I think....so this was it?

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

I hate it when young beautiful girls here in Japan, with their really, really short skirts tease you at the train station, then when they start walking up the stairs, they hide their cute little butts with their school books!

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

What annoys me about life in Japan?

Gaijin with nothing good to say!

– Lack of critical thinking (American man)

Well that is true. I am not going to accuse Americans of being perfect or having all the answers thanks to doing more critical thinking. And Japanese have done surprisingly well despite this lack of critical thinking. Oh, well, I guess that means that critical thinking is not everything. But I do believe Japan needs more of it. Just so long as they don't end up with nothing good to say!

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

No rivers. Concrete. No trees in cities. Concrete. No benches to sit on. Concrete. No hand dryers. Concrete. No parks. Concrete.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I am sat here with my girlfriend. She is the kind of girl who goes to young girls high fashion shops, which are all crammed into the same building (ie, 109 in Shibuya / Arche in Omiya). We are sat here translating all your comments and she is agreeing with most of them.

Her addition for you, to prove that it is not just foreigners who find things ridiculous is this;

She went into one shop to have a look around, in Arche Omiya, walked out the shop, and the staff all waved goodbye. She walked literally 3 metres over to another shop, had a look around and decided to go back to the previous shop. The staff all shouted 'Okaeri!!!!!'.

She was thinking 'shut it, spacks'.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

No rivers. Concrete. No trees in cities. Concrete. No benches to sit on. Concrete. No hand dryers. Concrete. No parks. Concrete.

Come on, mate. We need something more concrete from you!:)

1 ( +2 / -1 )

One thing I find annoying in Japan is the "reverse" discrimination that I see on the street of big Japanese cities. In the sticks, you see another non-Japanese and you say hello to each other or at least acknowledge each other. In the big cities, people will actively try not to acknowledge each other, or is it just a "Nagoya" thing?

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Come on, mod, be fair. Why am I no longer allowed to post on this thread, when so many others agree with me and say I was spot on? Give the people what they want!

-9 ( +9 / -19 )

Great comments, Ivan! Very insightful. More input, please.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

I agree with bosozoku,but the rest,well just deal with it.HK is even louder,starting at 5am. I actually cannot deal with the woman who act like morons.The toes pointed in when they walk,to be cute ? The insipid giggling ,when they are barracudas in reality. They all want a gaijin man,but go berserk if they see a countryman with a gaijin woman.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I will be new to Japan this summer. Have been living in the middle east (Arabian Gulf) for the past several years. Some of the complaints here seem incredibly petty (the worst you can say is that women have high-pitched voices?? wow, what a trauma -- sheesh). Lack of daylight savings time? Other seem huge (the corruption). Looking forward to finding this all out for myself!

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Scooter riders per se

Selfish, inconsiderate smokers.

Being followed around a shop at a "discreet" distance by clothes shop staff, ready to be jumped on with "information" about the different sizes and colours available, and what trousers would "match" whatever it is you're looking at, the very moment you check the price tag.

The "Eigyou smile"; normally they wouldn't give you the time of day, but enter their shop, and suddenly you're their new best friend.

2 ( +3 / -1 )


0 ( +1 / -1 )

All you ExPats crack me up... If you don't like Japan than why are you living there? You all sound like it is a grueling daunting task to live there and have to deal with Japanese culture... Now I have spent about a month of my life tehre visiting my wife's family from the States but I loved every second of it because I appreciate the differences in culture... Perhaps after a few years, I would get tired of it as well but the positives of Japan clearly outweigh the negatives... I can't speak for other nations but for all you Americans out there complaining about living in Japan, think of the alternative... We are in an election year here in the States and all we have are overdone rich white men on the television spewing lies one after another every second of the day... We have religious groups hawking their rhetoric on how ALL should live like a dor to door salesman... And we work long hours and have to pay for everything like the $350 I fork over every month for healthcare and then get charged another $700 to be told I have allergies... Just got done paying my student loans off with a $50K wire transfer that took me years to save for a degree in Biology/Chemistry and guess what I work in Finance. My education was a complete waste of time, just aske the trader next to me who spent $5K at Community College... My point is no place is perfect but one should always be respectful for the country they are a guest in... My take anyway... However, with thats said, I do find some of these to be quite funny because I recognize it from my visiting and also the idiosyncracies of my wife...

-1 ( +15 / -14 )

Early morning sun in summer (Canadian man) “It gets light at 4:30 a.m. There must be a better way to optimize sunlight efficiently.”

Should try living where I did for a few years. Northern Finland above the arctic circle when during the summer months the sun doesn't set for 70 straight days.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

What I am finding hilarious is the the people who have never even BEEN here, or been here 1 month, or even 4 months, thinking that people are being petty and after years and years of being here have no right to an opinion! Try being here 10, 20, 30 years and then see how you feel! Its a totally different ball game when you are living in as opposed to visiting a society.

And tmarie - you are SO right! Can dish it out but cant take it. It seems the truth about the whole month-after-birth thing has touched more than a few raw nerves! Ouch! The truth hurts!

-11 ( +10 / -21 )

To the people who are surprised people are posting about annoying things in a discussion about annoying things, why are you surprised? The internet seems to have been invented for people to rant about this and that. This is certainly not the first discussion to include it. Just because people find one thing annoying does not mean that they find everything annoying.

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

Jesus, people here are sensetive! If it´s all that bad just go back to your perfect home country!

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

If it´s all that bad just go back to your perfect home country!

My eyes must be going bad. Could you please point out someone suggesting 'Japan's all bad'? Thanks a bunch.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

My point is no place is perfect but one should always be respectful for the country they are a guest in...

10, 20 30 years...talk about 'guests' overstaying their welcomes, huh?

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

Nothing annoying comes to mind. Japan is kind to Americans.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Now I have spent about a month of my life tehre visiting my wife's family from the States but I loved every second of it

DoubleHelix, that's a fair point. I had a whale of a time here for the first month. And the second. In fact everywhere I've been on holiday, or visiting friends, I've had a cracking time.

I think where we differ, though is the theme of the thread: "...life in Japan". When you stop being on holiday here, and get past the honeymoon period, you're involved in your real life. I'm sure there are everyday inconveniences or irritations for you in the States. Like anyone who respects free speech, you'll say something when you feel things could do with improvement.

That's what a lot of us are doing here. I've been here well over 15 years, and have discovered plenty of things which irritate me. Lots of things I like, and lots of things that really wind me up. We don't hate Japan. I come from Manchester in the North of England - Jesus, if you want to see a decaying kharzi, that's the place to go. Compared to my home town, Tokyo's a fantastic place.

But it isn't perfect. Nowhere is. And when we're asked what we find annoying, it's fair to point out the faults. I'm not here on holiday, I'm going through my life, in my chosen home, trying to make it as satisfactory as I can for myself and my family. What's wrong with that?

Start a thread called "What do foreigners find annoying about their own home town", and I've got a list as long as my arm. But this thread's about what we find annoying here. It really is unreasonable to have a go at us for answering the question with opinions built on long experience.

-2 ( +12 / -14 )

It really is unreasonable to have a go at us for answering the question with opinions built on long experience.


-1 ( +7 / -8 )

I've been using recent stories from Japan Today in my adult class. My students find them interesting and we have a laugh at most things. The comments are usually better though! I think I am going to spend the month of August in Canada this year. By the way, there is a group on FB called Canadians in Japan for anyone that wants to join.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Apart from Akihabara a general lack of electrical/electronics shops and when I find any electronics its all 100 volts and useless anywhere else in the world!!

Go to ay shopping centre and its just 100s of shops with, food, handbags, dresses, shoes, makeup, etc etc.. worse than anywhere I have seen.. Great for girls shopping, When I go with my girlfriend its an expensive nightmare.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The belief that you can transform something from “utterly humdrum” into “jaw-droppingly astounding” by use of the magic incantation “Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee?” I’m not joking here – the wife had the TV on this morning, and there was a cookery segment (what a surprise). The expert took the lid off a pan to demonstrate what was inside, and received the required shriek of astonishment when the mystery was revealed. It was a cabbage, boiling in water. Now this isn’t some Heston Blumenthal-style innovation, like bacon ice cream. It’s a cabbage, boiling in water. How is it humanly possible to be surprised at that? Who decided that is network television material? Why couldn’t the goggle-eyed neophyte of a presenter identify the smell of boiling cabbage before the pan lid came off?

It also really winds me up when people spend hundreds of thousands of yen on a dog which is smaller than a roast chicken. They buy this dog, not out of the desire for companionship, or to protect their property - both of which functions a dog-sized dog can fulfill like nothing else - but so they can put ribbons on its ears, dress it up like Minnie Mouse and carry it around the park in a blanket, hoping and longing for the moment when somebody will squeak the magic word "kawaii" about it. There's a woman in my apartment who does this. She's got a yappy little shivering chihuahua/papillon cross and she's always wandering about - often with matching clothes on to those she's swaddled her dog in - with her lickle cutey baby in her arms. In two years, I've never seen that dog's feet on the ground. But every time, someone will go through the ritual of noticing it, making the incantation of "kawaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!" and the owner will do that out-of-breath surprise response as though she hadn't spent the last hour choosing the dog's outfit and getting the ribbons straight. And who these dogs think they're scaring when they start yipping I will never know. I have performed larger and more intimidating bowel movements.

The total subservience to political overlords. Anyone remember Tokyo Governor Ishihara’s initial reaction to the catastrophe of March 11th last year? It was this: “The identity of the Japanese people is selfishness. The Japanese people must take advantage of this tsunami as means of washing away their selfish greed. I really do think this is divine punishment.” (http://otakuwhonewsradio.blogspot.com/2011/03/tokyo-head-tsunami-is-divine.html)

Now if any politician from a Western country who referred to a national catastrophe in such deranged, insensitive terms, he would be forced to tender his resignation and make a groveling apology before his tea went cold. Can you imagine the outrage there would be here if a foreign public figure said this about Japan’s tragedy? There would be people burning flags outside Embassies. Yet, within weeks, Ishihara was re-elected by a massive majority. “Oh, we kind of expect him to say crazy things”, I was told, as if he’d made a joke. “He has leadership”. “He is charisma leader”. No he doesn’t, no he isn’t. He’s simply the feudal lord of this city, and it doesn’t occur to people that they’re paying his salary and giving him free rein to pillage the public coffers whenever he sees fit. What happened to the ShinGinko Tokyo capital? Where did the billions go for his failed Olympic bid a few years back? Why does he get to stay in hotels more luxurious than those the Emperor uses when he goes on his overseas junkets? Why does a city governor need to go on overseas junkets at all, in a straitened economy? How dare he say that about 3/11?

He does it because he can. He’s the overlord, answerable to no-one, and we are simply an indentured open safe.

The hive mind assertion that the worst thing you can do on a train is to put make-up on, because it shows a lack of consideration for other passengers, but it’s perfectly all right to pretend you can’t see people having to stand up because you’ve parked you arse over two seats and don’t have the common courtesy to move over a little and let them sit down.

People who are scared of everything all the time. In the situation above, few would ever dream of very politely asking Two-arse Tanaka to shove up a little, “because maybe he might get angry”. I can’t go home before nine o’clock because maybe someone will see me leave before them and think I’m not a hard worker. Why is it the done thing to expect all the people around you to be completely unreasonable all the time?

The way people think it isn’t rude to say, to my English face, “English food is not delicious, of course”. I would never dream of saying to a Japanese that O-den makes me retch. A particular kind of food might not be to my taste – but that’s just to my taste. I’m aware that people like different things and you can’t make blanket statements that a particular kind of food is intrinsically unpleasant. De gustibus non est disputandum. Unless you’re Japanese, speaking to an Englishman, at which point it’s not just fair to insult one of the foundations of his culture, it’s hysterical and the Englishman should feel obliged to agree. Then they get all sensitive and shocked when we moon them for rank insolence.

Shoganai. The beaten, hopeless refrain when you’re too timid to try to improve things. “Nothing can be done” is not the same thing as “I am too terrified to try”

Katakana. Either learn a new word, or use a Japanese word. Don’t take a foreign word and twist it so it sounds vaguely Japanese, add an O to the end (Buradd-O Pitt-O) or take it off if there’s one already there (Marlon Brand). In particular, don’t add a syllable to the end and then stress it as though it’s the key to understanding it. “And-DO she-YEE went-TO to-WOO the-E shop-PU-UU” You made that sound up. You heard the real word and it wasn’t Japanese enough for you, so you bent it into something else. Don’t imagine it’s English, or clear to anyone other than a Japanese. And if that’s the case, just speak Japanese and save a bit of time.

And that, folks, will do me for now. I feel a lot better for getting that off my chest. I’ll repeat, I don’t want to leave, I like it here and I have chosen it for my home. But you notice when things could be better in your home, and when somebody asks me what annoys me, I’ll tell you, and thank you for asking.

Ivan out. Let the thumbs-downing begin!

7 ( +31 / -25 )


Good stuff! One thumbs up to offset the thumbs downs.

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

Ben - many thanks, but I don't think one thumbs-up will cut it. I'm down to minus seven for asking about blogs.

-6 ( +9 / -15 )

@Ivan Fantastic posts and like others, I completely agree and can relate to the points you brought up.

Lots of thumbs down will be coming my way but that's 'sho ga nai' I guess. Like other long time foreign residents of Japan, let me also say that the positives of living here vastly outweigh the negatives (otherwise we wouldn't still be here). I can make a book about the things i can't stand about living back in the U.S. But, I'm here now, and there are glaring problems with this country that are only getting worse. Let me be on topic though and address the things that really annoy me.

Japan is a country of and run by children (cartoon advertisements, cartoon warning signs, cartoon keep out signs. Hand-built, miraculously designed contraptions that move like a child's toy to ensure that even a brain dead dog could understand the news segment they are trying to explain - to grown adults watching the news no less. You end up making comments about how and who made that paper mache / construction paper contraption instead of what its trying to show you.

Anime which used to feature incredibly unique characters/stories/universes praised by many the world over now replaced with an alarmingly high amount of middle or high school aged guy miraculously living in the same house with five or six, 3-year old looking toddlers with omni-visible panties (possibly robotic) and almost "getting lucky".

Openly sneezing all over you on the train, old men doing that "teeth-sucking/tongue clicking" sound, dudes on my train to work loudly sucking the snot back up into their brain multiple times, over and over instead of blowing it out before boarding the train like a normal person would. The non-use of breath mints and/or the idea that a mask automatically makes your breath smell like Moroccan rose (protip: it doesn't, especially after wearing the thing for a full day)

Japanese TV: Let's feature another segment about the family living in the tiny apartment in tokyo-to taking in a nearly fully grown kangaroo to live with them for a week. Let's not explain the reason why though. Let's feature the kangaroo openly upset and stressed given the situation its in and let's maximize the uncomfort for the viewer. But its OK! Let's make sure to feature the obligatory "walk the kangaroo to the local park and zoom in on the reactions of those seeing a kangaroo being walked around"

Japanese TV - The sequel: Picture in picture of celebrity watching what you are watching, even though not a single Japanese person can explain to you why this is here in the first place (this is how it was, so this is how it should be)? Check. An awesome program like "Before/After" where they show a run-down house being remodeled and the family's joyous reaction at the end? Yes! But make sure you tack in the obligatory "intermission" segment with the "talents" telling you what they thought of the house/the remodel etc. etc. WTF?
7 ( +14 / -7 )

Shinjuku - oh bravo, sir. Some excellent observations. I have the feeling there's more where they came from? Keep them coming, please!

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

A few more came to mind before I retire for today. Let me re-iterate my point in my original post above, I love this country and the countless things it does right! These annoyances of mine are probably just me being me, which is a rant in itself :-)

Masks -- everywhere, all the time. People who are not sick (wearing masks), old people (wearing masks), the couple who came into Starbucks (wearing matching masks), your boss, the annoying girl you work on the same project with (both wearing masks) the train operator, the fresh-out-of-college corporate uniform suit wearing office lady, the old hunched over woman with the purse bag full of 30 pounds of god knows what, the woman carrying (not walking, mind you) her dog (all wearing masks!!). Its turning into a nationwide fetish that no one will own up to or talk about.

Changing channels only to find that every single station, at all times of the day, every day of the week, features a TV studio/back drop that looks like it was designed by a couple of 2-year olds, Willy Wonka and a dude who just snorted crushed Ritalin cut with catnip and all they had to work with was reflective rainbow tape ala the 1980's, pinwheels, a deer head, mickey mouse gloves and a slowly rotating globe/sphere of sorts.

The little chime at the end of every pharmaceutical commercial. Not a brand jingle mind you, but a one or two note chime. You know what I'm talking about. Again, one company did it, so now they all do it.

Beating messages/notices/warnings into your head, constantly, all the time. Case 1: The advertisements on the windows of JR or basically any railway or subway line in the Tokyo metro area that, in small font on the very bottom of the ad, re-iterate, fetishistically, word for word, the standard announcement of "do not use your cell phone in the no cell phone area. Please set to manner mode and refrain from talking on the phone etc.". Why does this need to be written on a window ad in minuscule 6 point font when its announced every stop audibly, written in bold blue letters on a white background on stickers on either side of the door and written on the O-rings themselves (not to mention other places)?

This was mentioned before, but let me take it a step further. Barking and yelling at you to "have a look around" and "please come into the store" even though I'm already in the store shopping (and the only one in the store altogether in some cases). This is why Starbucks employees say "konnichiwa" instead of "irrashaimase". Try this social experiment one day. Within the same day, take a look at the clientele of Doutor or Excelsior Cafe and then go look at the clientele of Starbucks. Night and Day. Positive progression in Japan vs. hanging on to old, outdated and detrimental values.

Cab drivers asking YOU how to get to your destination. You reply, as one would expect "omaka sei shimasu" and then they resort to the air through teeth while they passive aggressively fumble with the GPS.
3 ( +10 / -7 )

@ wipeout

That's one way to look at it! (I actually prefer Caribou Coffee to Starbucks back in the States. Like to support the underdog.) I just don't like the sliding doors of Doutor/Excelsior opening up to greet me with the stares of solemn, chain-smoking salarymen and a depressed atmosphere accentuated with a permanent haze of recycled cigarette smoke.

Therefore, I have no choice but to go to Starbucks.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

My little list :

-The avoidance of conflict at all cost. I'm an easy going person, I certainly don't look for conflict. But I like to clarify things for better communication, or better relationship. In a couple, I think it's even more important. I gradually started to walk on eggs with my japanese mate, choose super-carefully my words and the tone in which I say them, otherwise any even small tiny issue is perceived as an attack. It baffles me. In fact, it seems like I should only show content all the time. The danger is that, without knowing how the other feels truly, two mates can grow apart, and become like roommates.

-The "shoganai" attitude really gets me too. It starts to feel to me like a lack of passion for life.

-The whole "Valentine day" farce where female co-workers offer chocolate to their male co-workers. Makes absolutely no sense to me, unless they have affairs, but that's another issue....

-The feeling that the family is something of a lesser value. It's embarassing and perceived as rude to talk nicely about the wife, or to even mention her.

-The so-very-often recurring praise of the superior japanese character (implying that whoever is foreign isn't kind, doesn't work well, is lazy, is dishonest, is out of wack, might be big but is soft under the belt(!), etc).

-Discontent hidden with a mask-like smile (the one that's pinched in the corners)...

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Otherwise I agree with a lot that's been said.

I really enjoyed Ivan and Shinjuku's comments, and can relate to Nicky's comments too....

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Hybrid - I'm with you on the Valentine's Day thing. I get blanked walking down a narrow corridor one day, then simpering and chocolates the next, then blanked again when there isn't a cultural duty to be civil.

One woman I know spent 25,000 yen on chocs and stayed up until 3 am writing the card for each one. She said it will maybe make communication more smooth in her office. Christ, I thought, how bad is it in there?

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Patrick...hear, hear. Those little mini-screens get on my tit-end, too. Don't they think the viewer could figure out for himself when to laugh?

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

"tourists who don't understand onsen manners"

This reminds me of the movie Mr. Baseball. Newbie to Japan Tom Selleck gets into the team locker room bathtub without washing his body first outside the bathtub, and proceeds to take out a bar of soap, to the gasps of the Japanese players. Japan veteran Dennis Haysbert ( 24's President Palmer ) says, "First you wash, then you bathe." Then one of the Japanese players adds, "It's like jerking off before sex." Ha ha!

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Ivan - I joined Ben in giving your hilarious 3:22pm post a thumbs up! You're still 6 down though, ha ha!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The totally needless and hugely wasteful act of supposedly sealing a bag with tape when you buy something from any shop posher than a convenience store or supermarket.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Nicky WashidaFeb. 22, 2012 - 08:44AM JST

What I am finding hilarious is the the people who have never even BEEN here, or been here 1 month, or even 4 months, thinking that people are being petty and after years and years of being here have no right to an opinion! Try being here 10, 20, 30 years and then see how you feel! Its a totally different ball game when you are living in as opposed to visiting a society.

And tmarie - you are SO right! Can dish it out but cant take it. It seems the truth about the whole month-after-birth thing has touched more than a few raw nerves! Ouch! The truth hurts!

@ Nicky, I am assuming you are referencing my post here... Well my friend you are right and I never claimed that I was an expert on Japan and have only visited there 3 times for roughly a little over a month... And i believe i even referenced that living there for over a period of time is much different. However with that said, you are making it like I know nothing... If life in Japan is so dross and so terrible, why don't you leave? Give me a break and quit you're whining... Nobody is forcing you to stay there and if you truly think it is such a terrible place, than why don't you return home to where you are originally from... I just do not get it! Of course every society is going to have its annoying habits or traditions within its culture but you make it like living in Japan is like living in hell...

0 ( +11 / -11 )


Please re-read the title of this thread; we are being given carte blanche to air our annoyances and vent some spleen. Nicky is not suggesting you know nothing, I think you're reading a little too much into her comment; but those of us who are living here, with the constant minutiae of everyday life here, need to get some things off our chest sometimes. I sometimes do it with my girlfriend, but I realise that she's not there to be my "punchbag" if you'll excuse the rather poor metaphor, so I, and I'm sure many others on this thread with Japanese partners/spouses are using this rather rare opportunity to blow off some much needed steam. It's healthy for both mind and society (especially society if the cause of all these recent stabbings here is unreleased, pent up anger and frustration.) Most people on this thread will have come to Japan as adults, so will be used to certain things being done in a way that they think is "good"; when they get here and find some of those "good" things are done not as well here, or just completely different, their home country's culturally ingrained view can be difficult to change. On the other hand, some things from their own country are done better in Japan.

As we have stayed here this long, would you agree that it suggests that on balance, we think that living here is better than our native countries? Nowhere is perfect, and opinions, as we know, are like... well, you get my drift, hence between all the JT regulars and sometime posters, yes, this is a long thread of whinging (some of it, like Ivan's posts, pretty bloody amusing if you have lived here), and here's the rub - there's absolutely nothing wrong with it.

0 ( +9 / -9 )


I completely understand what you are saying and agree with some of these comments in which I have witnessed while visiting there are truly funny... But it seems like every article I read (not just this one which like you said is designed to rant) seems to have a negative connotation to it... For instance, I just read people ranting about AKB48 giving $16M to victims of last years natural and unnatural catastrophes... Saying that its not genuine or its a marketing scheme created by the management... Who cares were the money comes from, really? But there are other articles too that contain threads with really harsh comments. Perhaps I am just reading into this too much? Perhaps this is how the site is? I don't know, I only started looking at it yesterday to get some insight on what life is like there in case my wife and I decide to move to Japan to be closer to her family... No place is perfect but a lot of these comments about what happens in Japan are frankly quite scary due to all the pessimism... Again, perhaps I am just reading too much into this...

6 ( +11 / -5 )

How about the weather report in news programming? Seems to me they always have 2 people doing it. One with the actual knowledge of what is happening, standing before the large map with her want - you know, the wand with the nerf orb on the end? And for some godforsaken reason, there is actually another person standing to the left of the map, with absolutely no knowledge whatsoever. She stands there saying, Eeeeh? Sodesuka... Naruhodo.... What the ¤%&/# is she doing there? Do Japanese actually need to watch someone "get it" in order to get it themselves? Come to think of it, most programming features a duo - one with knowledge and one that's a moron. Think of sports programming. One is the "announcer" who is apparently only there to get enlightened by the ex-athlete co-announcer. It's like that in sumo, baseball, tennis, anything. Why is this dead weight so necessary?

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

@Doublehelix - kaminarioyaji pretty much said it all but yes - you are reading way too much into my comments - or just picking out the bits that suit your argument.

I have said on many other threads things I love about Japan. I have NEVER said Japan is dross and terrible. Making things up, much??! But things you like about JApan is not the question on this thread. The question is what annoys us. Hence the answers. Dont like it, dont wanna hear it, I suggest you just dont read it. I think I also said above that on my home country there is a list as long as my arm of things I am not happy about there.

I never said you claimed to be an expert. You are as entitled to an opinion as anyone. I said it makes me laugh that people with little experience of the country are belittling the opinions of people who ARE experts and HAVE been here a long time. But no, I was not just referring to your post - a few others too.

Its entirely up to you. There are people who have been here many many years. You can choose to take what you read here and chew it over in making your decision, or come see for yourself. But please dont make up things I have said and please dont selectively choose bits of posts that suit you to the disregard of anything else. It makes it impossible to have a reasoned discussion.

Finally - dont presume to know that peoples circumstances mean they can just pick up and leave. Many cant, not without never seeing their children again. But thats a separate topic.

-2 ( +11 / -13 )

@doublehelix - one thing I would add - this site and the comments on it will provide you with a wealth of information on what it is REALLY like here. There are bitter and twisted foreigners, happy foreigners, and the great majority of us who fluctuate between the two on a weekly/daily/hourly basis. Like anywhere else, the ability to live here depends a lot on your job, your family life, your ability to adapt, your social networkds and your sense of humour! TBH whatever Japan throws at you if you have those things in place, you will have a wonderful time. So use it as part of your DM process - it really will give you the reality of things.

I apologise if I have come across as negative. There are many wonderful things about Japan, (baths, polilteness, cleanliness, safety, mountains and beaches, even the "challenges") and the mists of the last week are clearing for me now, but I have just gotten out of hospital on some really heavy drugs and I have been a bit fogged up of late hooked up to an IV and unable to move - enough to make anyone feel miserable ;) 1

-1 ( +10 / -12 )

For me, the biggest thing is me constantly suppressing my urge to yell "GTF out of my way people!"

People, usually but not always old women, will just stop and stand anywhere, without any perception of where it is and how they are blocking people around them from moving. Stopping right in a doorway to have a chat, stopping right outside the ticket barrier to have a chat, stopping on a narrow pavement to have a chat. Even when shopping, standing admiring a particularly beautiful daikon, with their trolley right across the aisle blocking other shoppers.

7 ( +12 / -6 )


Like I said before, everyone has a different opinion/take on things. My bugbear is "drivers" (what with me being a motorcyclist), but I have some friends who look at me blankly whenever I mention some of annoyances at drivers, as those friends don't see the same things I do as a problem. So, what I am saying is, if you ever did come here, you may not find all of the above listed things annoying, but you will find SOME things annoying, as you would anywhere; home countries included. A complaint about cynical marketing for pop band? Again, you could transfer that to any developed country.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Foreigners cannot and will not change this culture. We may dent it or cause it to stir but then it is worse for the new foreigners coming to Japan. We are strangers in a strange land. I personally like it...with the noise, without the noise...what this country DOES need is less infanticide. It saddens me to see parents killing or torturing their siblings. Other than that, it is a safe place to live and enjoy life to the fullest.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Nicky -- Please take care and get well soon! Try to think of pleasant memories while you heal. I totally agree with your assessments 100%. I've been here for over 15 years and what most have said here rings totally true for me.

To those who can't understand why we just don't "pack up and leave" if we don't like it here: you will only understand if you give it a good 10years yourself.

I almost wish I could go back to the mindset I had when I first got off the plane. Those first few honeymoon years in Japan were great! Everything looked new and interesting. So many people I meet even casually looked to be interested in me and so friendly and inviting. Back then, work was bountiful - job offers kept flowing in weekly. Most people had extra cash, and we never gave a second thought to going out and dropping a quick 10,000yen on drinks and food on even a Tuesday. Even the cab drivers looked happy. All of the negative/racist rhetoric was a distant echo -- a mere faded backdrop against the positive chorus of new, smiling faces welcoming me.

Then, slowly, my premium guest status began to wane. I seemed to be wearing out my welcome. Those warm, welcoming faces brought out the bill for their past efforts -- "You didn't think you were really one of us, did you?" Our friendship reached a point where we should be taking it to the next level -- a step deeper.

No go. This introductory welcome was the maximum. Oh no! What did I say wrong? What did I do to offend them? I thought we had more between us? No. I did nothing wrong -- as more years passed, I saw they have never experienced that kind of depth with someone outside their clique. They haven't been given a script on how to behave in a new type of friendship. No one taught them how, so they are afraid to proceed.

Some people posted above about this fear. It's annoying, but there is a reason for it. Way back when these adults were still schoolchildren, perhaps in elementary grade 4, they were psychologically beaten down by their friends for daring to do something different than the group. I see it happen all the time among my students. Fourth graders trembling for fear of ostracism. Repeat that over and over throughout a sensitive adolescence, and voila! You have timid adults.

This timidity creates ridiculous cultural oddities like people write about in this thread. The face of the TV talent in the corner of the screen, watching what the people at home watch -- affirming that, "Yes, you are allowed to be sad about this. Yes, you have permission to be outraged at this segment." People need that social affirmation/permission, otherwise those traumatic feelings of ostracism will come welling up once again.

I find TV in Japan to be highly annoying. I find the shallowness of business and social relationships -- again, based on fear -- to be aggravating.

Translate THAT, you sad, sorry bloggers, and give me all the thumbs-down you want!

1 ( +16 / -15 )

Thank you horrified! Just got to be patient. Not my strong point!

I agree with everything you say about relationships here. The first few months are like a honeymoon, everything new and exciting. For about the first year I was blown away by the friendliness, kindness, interest in me. Felt like a rock star at times! People even wanted their pictures taken with me! Wow!!! But then, as you say, relationships go beyond the superficial "pet" foreigner and something changes. An iron curtain goes down and suddenly you are left wondering what you did or didn't do wrong.

Your analysis of the possible root of it all sounds very likely. Right now in my daughters 2nd grade class it is all vive la difference, but I am seeing signs of change in that.

I think the best way I have learned to deal with it over the years is to have no expectations at all. Then there are no disappointments anymore. I have my close circle of gaijin girlfriends who are wonderful, and the guys too. I would welcome any opportunity to get closer to my Japanese friends, but for the most part things are kept very "light". It is not for lack of trying, or wanting to adjust, and I try to be careful not to lump everyone into "all Japanese" because it is simply not true. But in my experience to date, whilst there are those that are friendly, those that are meh, and those that have even been openly hostile, there has always been a barrier there to what would define as the true nature of friendship and the barrier is definitely not from me.

I'm confused by people's emotional reactions to things too. When I was suddenly taken into hospital last week, people who have called me their soul mate in the past I have not heard a word from, while others who I thought were just passi acquaintances made the effort to come visit me. My best friend here (a Canadian) simply surmised it as "take whatever you would do in a situation and then do the exact opposite."

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

what i hate? impossible to get a seat in fastfood/family restaurants where 80% of the patrons are just there to study with only a cup of coffee...

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I am a long time reader and first time poster. I just had to chime-in on this post. (My opinions are mainly based on differences from my own country and are more observations than annoyances. Over time in a country, you get used to the differences and learn to accept them. Except Japanese T.V. and J-pop)

-The comment about the dog as a 'kawaii' symbol and not a pet is spot on, the mother-in-law has one. When it died, she replaced it with an identical dog. She has a dresser full of dog clothes that cost more than everything I own.

-Nobody has mentioned the use of the nnnnnn when agreeing with someone. After living here so long, I catch myself doing it as well. A guy next to me in the office yells these nnnnnn's into his phone all day, drives me crazy. Nnnnn, nnn, nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!

-People touching my child! I know my daughter is the most beautiful thing to ever walk this planet (oyabaka) and hard not to touch, but come on, who does that?

-Japanese Television. I was so happy for 2 years without a T.V. until a few months ago the wife borrowed the mother-in-law's small T.V. Now the house is again filled with the sound of Ehhhhhhhhh.... and fake laughter.

-Yankee Boys. Many where I am living. I don't understand for the life of me how someone could possibly think a bronze colored Mullet looks cool. Who came up with this?

-Complete lack of knowledge on history, illustrated perfectly yesterday thanks to the Nagoya mayor.

-Adults as children, sign's everywhere. Going down the stairs at the office there are signs for; no hands in pockets, no walking side by side, slippery, no running, no using your phone, etc... Today in the cafeteria, there was a sign on proper chopstick use. Most likely directed at me being the only gaijin.

-People who are very nice and friendly when you are alone together then completely ignore you when they are with other people. I feel like a gaijin ghost.

-People rushing everywhere. I see 70 year old men running to our factory cafeteria. Why? They have plenty of food and seats.

-Not blowing their noses, instead, choosing to snort all day long. Arrrggghhhh!!!!

I could go on but will stop there. This has proven to be a therapeutic release since the wife won't listen to me. Thanks JT.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Seems to be something wrong with the thumbs up/down system. The last couple of times the effect was wrong. I clicked on 'good' but the positive numbers went down! (Yes, I'm completely sure I clicked on 'good', not on 'bad'.)

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

I predict this thread will never die, there's always something to complain about, ha ha!

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Here are some from me;

-Every building looks like a prison. No care goes into design; it is all basic functionality or beauty. -Rubbish doctors -Total lack of a decent sense of humour with most people I meet; back in England I would often find myself having a laugh with complete strangers at something bizarre and silly. Never happens here -Not enough young hippy kids to keep the suits in check. Everything is so regimented; even the Mum's in the local elementary school all wear the same sodding coat. -People don't open the windows anywhere. Always closed, with some kind of air processing going on, no matter what the time of year. Seems they are scared to just let the outside world in. -Banging around in my office is seen of a sign that a person is working. Trust me mate, it isn't. -Shuffling is acceptable. Pick your feet up! -Bad breath -Salarimen staring, glaring, judging despite being basically a walking toadmen themselves. -Nobody has a shower in the morning! Disgusting! They have a bath / shower at night, then sleep for 6-8 hours in a sweaty bed, put their clothes on and go to work. Rank!!


Thing is though, even before I arrived in Japan, I didn't really expect them to behave correctly, so none of this is a surprise. Just disappointing confirmation, I guess.

-1 ( +10 / -11 )

Because they are SO boring, the only thing they have to fill their tiny lives is obsessing and exchanging platitudes about the utterly banal.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Because they are SO boring, the only thing they have to fill their tiny lives is obsessing and exchanging platitudes about the utterly banal.

Sounds like a normal night out down the pub back in England (minus the mindless violence).

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Haha, I totally agree!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

-The looks from people. This guy pulled out his camera phone and started taping me one time. I couldn't believe it. I was too shocked to react!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Even if one could put up with the mind-numbing boredom of living among children and the affront of being treated as a second-class citizen despite your best efforts at assimilation, there is the environment to consider. Several posters above mentioned the visual horror of endless concrete and power lines. You can spend your life looking and you will find precious few vistas in Japan that are not thoroughly marred by human activity. There are no pastoral or wild vistas like you will find in Europe, North America, New Zealand, Australia etc. Only deep in the heart of the Japan Alps and a few other mountain ranges will you find anything that is not totally disfigured by concrete, clear cutting, industrial sugi farming, power lines, dams, concrete retaining walls and hideous buildings.

Then, of course, there is the noise. From morning to night, you are assaulted by noise in Japan: politicians, bosozoku, recycling trucks, advertisements and announcements of every sort. If you live in certain parts of Kanto or Kansai, you may have some sort of amplified sound playing in your vicinity all day, every day from 8am to 9pm. And it is all legal. Do you really think the politicians will ever ban this, when it is their favorite means of campaigning? Never going to happen. There just comes a time in your life when you have to ask yourself: Do I want to spend the rest of my life with that as a constant soundtrack?

Even if you are single or married without children, you should get out. But, if you have got children who are part Japanese, I would say it is downright irresponsible and even cruel to remain in Japan. Sure, you might think to yourself: I am taking them abroad and I am making sure they learn English, they will be fine. But do not fool yourself: your input into their development is way less than you think. Even if they go to international school, they are being socialized in Japan. Just try to think into the future. Imagine them in one of those group hiring sessions for a big company. Imagine them being forced through the awful meat grinder of the Japanese corporate world. But, most importantly, imagine them submitting to the group mind and being denied the ability to think freely and truly enjoy the fruits of an open and well-developed mind. Being denied the joy of true individuality.

So many posters above noted some truly annoying things about Japan. I am speaking to you guys now. You know in your heart of hearts that you are kidding yourself. If you find these things annoying, it is because they are. But, you keep telling yourself that this is the only place I can make money and that there is nothing for me if I go home now. And you hope like hell that someone you can keep your kids from becoming like the victims you see emerging from the Japanese educational system. But, deep inside, you know you are sacrificing their future because you are afraid to step out of the easy routine of teaching English in Japan.

I say, stop trying to make the best of a bad situation. As Japan ages and stagnates, it is only going to get worse. Reactionary and fascist politicians will become more common, not less. Foreigners will get blamed for everything wrong with the country. Your own jobs will start disappearing as the country gets poorer and the student population declines. I suggest you do what I did. Leave Japan. Sure, it might take some time to get established in another country (either your home country or a more open country with a brighter future than Japan), but in the long term you will be glad you left. And, the lives of your children will be so much better. If what I have written above does not convince you, just imagine being an old person in Japan. Imagine waking up on your 70th birthday to the sound of another election truck and knowing that you are too old to go anywhere and that sound is the sound you are going to hear for the rest of your days. Get out now while you still can!

-3 ( +12 / -13 )

Here's the first part of my post (sorry for the reverse order).

I hate to rain on your parade, but I have to tell you all the hard truth (and believe me, it took me a long time to come to all these realizations and even longer to act on them). The fact is, Japan is never going to accept foreigners. Foreigners, particularly Western foreigners, should stop trying to be accepted or to change Japan. My advice to Western foreigners, especially those with half-Japanese children, is to leave Japan. Trust me, I am not trying trolling here. I am telling you what I think, what I chose to do, and how it has made my life much better. In order to stick to the theme of this thread, I will keep my explanation centered on what is annoying about Japan.

First, as MacArthur so famously said: Japan is a nation of children. At first, this might seem almost touching or cute. And, I suspect that the childish innocence displayed by the Japanese is one reason why people love Japan so much when they are fresh off the boat. The fact is, the Japanese, even when they are adults, may be physically mature, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually, they are children. The reasons for this would take a while to explain, but suffice it to say that they are essentially treated like children all through their lives, while at the same time, they are forbidden from the sort of free thinking that goes into creating a meaningful adult identity, and, on top of this, they generally have extremely limited worldly experience.

If you think honestly about this, you will see what I mean. Consider the infantile reaction that Japanese have to any form of criticism, however constructive. It is taken as an attack on the whole being. And, think about how it feels to interact with most Japanese: after a certain amount of time in Japan, you will know exactly what they are going to say, and even what words they will use to say it. When you talk with them, you feel like you are sort of humoring a slightly precocious child. It might be pleasant. The conversation might be long. But, you will not come away with any insights or have your mind expanded the way it might be when talking to a real adult in other parts of the world. The only exceptions are the very old, who have some real life experience, or returnees from abroad, who were snapped out of the groupthink mindset.

And, of course, more than the boredom that comes from living among people who are essentially children, it is the tyranny of the groupthink that is truly annoying. It is not that particular thoughts are forbidden in Japan: it is dissent of any kind that is forbidden. The indoctrination into the groupthink starts at a very young age and continues right through their lives. Along with this indoctrination comes the whole package of brainwashing and propaganda: the myth of Japanese uniqueness, the cult of victimization, and the directive to focus on the differences rather than the similarities with other cultures. Needless to say, this lifelong brainwashing and squashing of dissent handily serves the purposes of the powers that be: the useless geezers in Kasumigaseki, the top guys of the various keiretsu, the very wealthy and the various local bosses who divvy up the bounty that flows from the ministries.

Needless to say, a country with a population of children who have been intellectually neutered, governed by regressive and highly conservative old men is not likely to be a comfortable place for any halfway sensitive Westerner. And, please do not kid yourself that Japan will become more open in the future. The fact is, Japan reached a high point of internationalization and openness sometime in the late eighties or early nineties. Since then, it has been going backwards and morphing into a more conservative and closed place. Textbooks are being purged of even the vaguest mention of wartime atrocities, fewer young people are going abroad to study, attitudes toward immigration are becoming increasingly negative. I mean, the capital city of the country just re-elected a famously racist Ishihara Shintaro. That is the capital city, not some tiny backwater in Tottori! And it was not a tight race. If you think Japan is going to increase immigration and start truly embracing foreigners, frankly, you are out to lunch. If second- and third-generation Korean residents are still treated as outsiders and looked down upon, just why do you expect them to start treating you as an equal?

3 ( +14 / -11 )

Other Foreigners. Hahah Just messing

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Shinjuku i love the

Cab drivers asking YOU how to get to your destination. You reply, as one would expect "omaka sei shimasu" and then they resort to the air through teeth while they passive aggressively fumble with the GPS.

It makes me wanna ask them..... well if I am gonna do your job for you, are you gonna pay me the fare?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@JapanGal "I find it annoying that people that are guests here constantly complain about things they cannot change as it is not their culture."

Excuse me? I think my hatiest thing about people in this country is that there are too many like you who don't believe that we are part of it.

It's my country, too, no matter what I look like.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Just been reminded... Ichiro Ozawa.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@Frank Rizzo

I commend you on your brutal honesty and I am sure many, me included, have similar feelings. If it were not for my child, I wouldn't mind staying in Japan longer. I am actually going back to Canada for the exact reasons you mentioned; nature, school system, political frustrations, future economic outlook, as well as a few you did not mention such as health care, bullying, and friendships.

Although I love Japan, I just can't see myself raising my child in this environment. My wife is an only child, so you can imagine how her parents are reacting. I am the white devil for sure.

Anyway, back to my bear cave.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Work's the only thing for me:

Lack of career jobs. Low incomes. Poor work conditions.

This is why I moved back to Australia. I love the noise + energy in general around Japan! Never had any issues with people, culture or lifestyle.

Put it this way... in Japan I made $4000 a month. WHAT A JOKE!! No chance of any real promotion, no career and no savings for my retirement. I'd work 14 hours a day. I also didn't get more than 2 consecutive weeks of holidays in more than 6 years. I was burned out after that...

In Australia I make 3 times that amount, have 2 months worth of holidays a year (AT LEAST!!!), get 15.4% EXTRA put into a retirement fund and work 9-5. I have promotion prospects all the time and look... quite frankly a career, not just a job.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Frank, sorry to hear that and I'd like to know what you've experienced to come to those conclusions. I am half-Japanese, grew up here, and I think I turned out fine. My wife is Japanese and she doesn't take my criticisms of Japan personally. Sure, we have debates but she often agrees with me. On the other hand, when I was living in The States the mother of my then-girlfriend asked me questions about the differences in Japan. I was talking about the food when I mentioned that fresh produce, especially fruits, are really expensive but often taste better than what I have in America. Well, that certainly pissed her off and she went off into a rant about how American food is much better (she's never been out of the country). My point is you really can't over-generalize and some things you mention are true about all countries.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

@ mrkobayashi, so true. It's like that with any country. It really depends ho patriotic and ignorant the other individual about different locations. Some people just live in bubbles. Oh well.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Being female in Japan. I'm always looked down on and my opinions are discarded! If you're married and get insurance, it's through your husband...and as a spouse you are treated as a dependent.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I'm always looked down on and my opinions are discarded! If you're married and get insurance, it's through your husband...and as a spouse you are treated as a dependent.

People look down on me and discard my opinions at their peril. I'm married and have insurance in my own name. Also credit cards in my own name. You are only treated as a dependent (=a tax allowance and/or company allowance?) if you earn less than 1.3 million yen pa.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Married Japanese women, who want abortions, also are dependent on their husband's decision.....

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"Friendships" are somewhat distant and weak in the big cities, whether you are Japanese or foreigner.

Though when it comes to foreigners, Japanese tend to group together and conveniently "forgot" you......

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I am from Arizona, but lived in Okinawa for over a year. I had no complaints living there and I learned to converse on my 3rd month of living there. Foreigners who live in Japan need not complain. They have a choice to leave or stay. Many Americans in the States always say," when in America, speak in English." Well, when in Japan, speak Nihongo.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Foreigners who live in Japan need not complain. They have a choice to leave or stay. Many Americans in the States always say," when in America, speak in English." Well, when in Japan, speak Nihongo.

Read the thread. It has very little to do with being able to speak the language. And many foreigners DONT have a choice to leave or stay. And Okinawa is hardly the same as Tokyo.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Here is a thought. Many of the things that annoy foreigners also annoy Japanese. Take noise. I read somewhere that one of the biggest complaints police here get is about noise.

There is one form of noise that I am happy to say I've not heard for at least a decade. That's the advertising airplane that circles an area while blaring out barely understandable messages with high powered loud speakers. I suspect enough people got sick of this to kill it.

These days I can walk anywhere and not hear, "Gaijin da," "Harro," "This is pen," and similar rubbish. That used to get on my nerves more than anything else, except people blowing smoke in my face and shoving me on trains and elevators. Nowadays I only occasionally have someone yell at me from a block away, " Where are you from?!"

Anyway, I know Japanese people hate being shoved and the general rudeness you find on trains. There are lots of posters up about it and subways cars somewhere--maybe Tokyo--are being outfitted with seats that make it impossible for people to sit with their legs spread.

My biggest gripe about Japan is smoking in restaurants and other public places and getting burned by some idiot's cigarette on a public street. There is a quiet anti-smoking campaign going on in Japan that I never thought would happen. Where I live train platforms are smoke free, many restaurants ban smoking, parts of the city ban smoking on the streets and the most popular coffee shops are not nicotine inundated traditional kisoten but Starbucks, which ban smoking inside.

The exclusion of foreigners is real in this country. Even as a permanent resident you are treated like a potential terrorist when you reenter Japan, never mind that the biggest acts of terrorism in living memory were done by Japanese. It is at its very worst when it is economic. Academic apartheid is one example.

Exclusion is a Japanese disease and in that regard Japanese people can be brutal with one another, perhaps worse than they generally are with foreigners (at least Westerners).

Thanks to an extremely happy marriage to an intelligent Japanese person I've been spared a lot of that. I am surrounded by a supporting and loving Japanese family, great japanese friends and goodJapanese colleagues. But I am aware that this is exceptional.

As far as being in an interracial marriage goes I've experiences few problems in Japan. But then I live in a fairly liberal part of the country.

Okay, something that bugs me is the dreadful state of housing in Japan. A house here is not an investment. It is more like a car that loses value over time, unless the land has gone up in price.

Another thing that more than irritates me but actually scares me is the total lack of crisis management by government and private institutions. I saw in during the Awaji-Hanshin earthquake in 1995 and again in Tohoku last year.

One more gripe. A lot of Japanese are lousy drivers, whether in cars or on motorcycles or bicycles. After being sideswiped and nearly creamed outright I've become next to paranoid about bicycle riders of late. I feel like walking around with a sign that says "Moving space is different from stationary space, like your living room."

6 ( +7 / -1 )

@Nicky Washida....." – Japanese people cannot speak other languages well, they wear suits in the hot summer, perverted old men on trains. (Dutch man)." Granted that this came from a Dutch person, I have seen many Americans who make fun of Japanese people because they find it hard to speak in English. They don't have to speak in English, they are in Japan, so speak Nihongo. And when did I mention that Okinawa = Tokyo? The title says Japan, not just Tokyo, right?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Oh, im sorry soondalo, I didnt realise you were referring to one comment on the entire news feed when you posted that. My point is that you cannot take your one experience of a year in Okinawa and apply it to every foreigner in every situation all over the country. Many DONT have the choice to leave.Many are NOT here just for a year. I totally agree with you though, if you are living in Japan you should try to learn to speak Japanese. But some people simply find it harder to learn languages than others. Coming from a Dutchman I am not surprised. The Dutch are an amazing nation who put the rest of Europe to shame with their linguistic skills. Every Dutch I have met speaks at least English, Dutch and one or two other languages, usually German or Flemish.

Im also sorry you have witnessed Americans making fun of Japanese who cant speak English. Obviously you have been hanging out with the wrong people. I have never in 10 years witnessed anything like that. Have witnessed the reverse though. I was ripped into regularly when I first came here by my husbands (no longer) friend because my Japanese wasnt fluent after 3 months.Another friends wife regularly laughs at me now because my Japanese isnt at native level. But if you met her you wouldnt need to be a psychologist to figure out where her insecurities are coming from.

@kabukilover - you are right. I have read mot of this thread to my husband and he has laughed till the tears run down his face (mostly from Coughanoffalot!) and nodded and most of the comments.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Nicky Washida - I have read most of this thread to my husband and he has laughed till the tears run down his face

Inspired by this thread I went out to find a similar discussion were foreigners were reflecting on their annoyances with my native country. I reacted just as Nicky's husband, I spent 30 minutes laughing with tears rolling over my cheeks non-stop. The posts were spot on 99% of the time--unfortunately! :-).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I can relate to so many of these things. But are Japanese in Japan really that different to Japanaese in the UK? They seem pretty welcoming, friendly and nice. But I can see how annoying it can get, I guess it's down to getting used to a different culture. Be tolerant of them and give them another chance :)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I love Japan. I think the Japanese who are offended by this article are missing the point. We are asked to write down things that annoyed us about Japan. Most of what was written was in fun.

If you asked the same people to write what annoyed them about their home countries, they would have written more. If you asked us to write what we think is better about Japan about their own countries they would have written.

I love japan. And Japanese. I spend more time with Japanese than gaijin, and am married to Japanese and my kids are proud Japanese. They have Japanese names, speak Japanese, wave the Hinomaru during the soccer, and I tell them to be quiet when Kimigayo is sung.

No need to get upset about gaijin talking about the funny or annoying things about japan. You might just learn something.

If you asked me to write the things that annoy me about my kids or wife I could come up with some things. But I would die for them, and love them to pieces.

I could tell you what annoys me about LIFE and being a man. But, I'm not ready to check out yet, and I wouldn't be a woman for anything!

Some people need to lighten up.

PS, I could write an essay about what annoys me about me! But, I'm not ready to jump off a bridge yet.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

One more thing that annoys me about Japan. The way right-wingers come to English websites like this, and click the "don't like" thingy whenever anything is said that is anything less than absolutely glowingly positive about Japan.

Just kidding - it's your country! :)

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@ Nicky Washida....It's all good. No need to apologize. I am sorry to if I misled you in the way I wrote my comments.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Many years ago I was at a friends home, an American husband and Japanese wife. While the husband was out of the room the wife told me a story about some Japanese acquaintances that had shown her husband and her around a local shrine. She said that behind her husbands back, the Japanese had been complaining about having to guide this stupid gaijin around. She said to me, "The reality is, that Japanese don't consider foreigners human" I was shocked to hear that, but in a way relieved because it explained a lot of things.

After that dinner I went home and saw my Japanese girlfriend and told her that story. Her response, "Oh yeah, that's true." I was dumfounded because I had said similar things to her many times and she had always denied it. But when it came from a Japanese persons mouth, she agreed immediately. I have told this story many times over the years. Universally the response from Japanese has been yes it is true. The response from foreigners has been denial or to say I am racist. If you want to do an experiment, tell one Japanese person that you heard that Japanese don't think foreigners are human. Tell them you heard it from a Japanese friend. See how they respond.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

@ HaileG: You could be right... I'm American and married to a great Japanese gal for over 25 years. Although I think I would have picked up on the "stupid" foreigner thing by now... but who knows... maybe I'm just too stupid to realize it. Either way, I'm pretty "dumb and happy".

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It is a well known fact that New Yorkers do not complain, they make observations...

My years of persistent "observations" have gone on to help shape this place where I live. It's like water falling on the same rock. Water has no nationality.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I wouldn't be particularly nice to foreigners who wanted to work in my country then blast it for everything they dislike. I like living in Japan and will continue to do so. I guess I never expected Japanese culture to be prefect, nor do I look down on people for being different. I have found in my many travels to different countries that you mostly get out of your experience what you put in to it. I saw native English speakers in Germany complaining about the exact same kind of crap. Seen it in Korea as well. Going to a country and expecting them to cater to you is very futile.

10 ( +17 / -7 )

Long list! 1) BANK MACHINES: English instructions for a few things, but not for everything. Is there a limit or something? Would really appreciate full English instructions for bank transfers and overseas money sending. And for ALL buttons.

2) No English from my (Sumida) ku office about medical appointments.

I still manage with both things, but have to bother a lot of Japanese, who are pretty sporting about helping me.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

It is interestng to know, especially for a person like me coming from a very noisy country India, that Japanese are noisy. I always believed Japanese to be well disciplined and mindful about others inconveniences. Of course, knowing these shortcomings is not going to reduce my love for them even a bit. Pratik Panchal.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

– Repeating similar adjectives (Man from Brussels) “‘Oishii’(Tastes nice), ‘Kirei’ (Beautiful), ‘Samui’ (Cold), ‘Atsui’ (Hot), ‘Sugoi’ (Awesome)…If foreign people understand these words’ meaning, they can understand at least 25% of Japanese people’s conversation.”

In English, we use "Nice" constantly. It really got to my Japanese wife when we moved overseas. So it works both ways.

0 ( +2 / -2 )


I assume you are living in or regularly visiting Japan. May I suggest you learn to read the local language more because I find your attitude astounding.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Japanese also hate those traditional squat toilets. The building in which my volunteer japanese lessons are held has a toilet room with two traditional toilets and one modern (not bidet). Guess which one Japanese people go straight to. Other things to hate the way some shops are always selling in a rip-off way, our local fruit and vegetable shop doesn't list quantity details (e.g. 1 item) of what they sell on their specials flyer, another tiny bread shop doesn't list the consumption tax on its prices and restaurants often don't list all their charges including the often annoying service charge % addon for some restaurants (some of those have useless overservicing).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Very petty grievances given what you have to put up with in US (Western Society). Going to War for pure greed/without justice. Worst racial crimes of World History (African Slaves, Complete genocide of many races (primary Native North and South Americans). Financial institutions that are the worse of criminals in World History. Such as backing (financing) both sides of WWI, WWII, Vietnam, War in Middle East, etc ... Corporate greed. Corrupt gov't. Worst health care in the world for a nation of our status. Everyone lies to each other by default and only tell truth to strangers. No sense of teamwork or community. Everyone behind a computer slaving away for the 1%. 99% unhappy in America.

At least in Japan, they have honest to goodness pride in their country and are honest people. Cannot say that of Americans/Europeans (on average). Caucasian society is just good at starting Wars, that's it, end of story. This is how the future generations of those still alive will write History.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

What bug me are these:

noise, endless announcements, suck back the snot into the brain, insane bureaucracy, Apathy and gaman attitude, Conformity, Barbaric education system, Inhuman working condition, Lack of consciousness for protection of environment, Lack of critical thinking

4 ( +5 / -1 )

noise, endless announcements, suck back the snot into the brain, insane bureaucracy, Apathy and gaman attitude, Conformity, Barbaric education system, Inhuman working condition, Lack of consciousness for protection of environment, Lack of critical thinking

Wow, someone's unhappy! Time to leave the UK, morimori and come to Japan instead!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Bravo to Frank Rizzo! Greatest passage!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Okay is an example of how foreigners' griping does raise the general conscience in Japan. "Gaijin" not seldom used in the mainstream media and by educated people. There was an prolonged outcry by non-Japanese against this word as being discriminatory. Yes, there was public chafing. But in the end "Gaijin" ended up on the back burner. Now you are called "gaikokujin." I don't know how much of an improvement this is, but as this is Japan it is the thought that counts.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Things I find annoying about life in Japan. I think it is counter-productive to write a tit for tat list of every annoying thing about Japanese culture. Let me assure you Japanese readers/bloggers, there are many. Every culture/country has its idiosyncrasies and ways of doing things that foreigners might find weird or illogical. However, this fact is especially pronounced in Japan, as its culture is not unlike a religion- only that it, Japanese culture, has all of the dogma of a religion without spiritual belief attached to it. Now to be clear, not everything about Japanese culture is illogical. Many things have sound basis to it, it’s simply that there are many other things that seem to contradict logic, and when those are questioned, explanations are more often than not, unsatisfactory. One thing, that is extremely important to Westerners is to understand why something is done. “Why” is a very important question to us. This question seems to matter very little or not at all here. Consequently, “it’s Japan,” “it’s Japanese culture,” or my favorite, “you’re not Japanese, so you wouldn’t understand” are not satisfactory explanations for doing things that seem wholly illogical. How is this kind of behavior any different than a very religious person performing his/her rituals or espousing beliefs that might seem to contradict reason. We have a word for the kind of religious person who follows his or her religion without question: fundamentalist. If the Japanese can’t give foreigners a decent answer that has a logical basis for some method or ritual, which happens all the time in Japan, foreigners think the method under discussion should be seriously looked at or questioned. When that method is not questioned at all by the Japanese, foreigners are often dumbfounded, puzzled and sometimes frustrated. I think this is nowhere demonstrated better, than by Japanese fashion. I live in Yamagata, where it can be quite cold in the winter. This winter has been especially brutal as we have had an unprecedented amount of snow. Yet despite all this, I cannot count the amount of times I have seen young women wear mini-skirts or even shorts! It is below zero outside, yet they are wearing shorts! I have asked many of my own students, “why do you wear shorts or mini-skirts in the winter?” Without fail, they have all replied, “it’s fashion” as if that were reason enough. They wear and buy these clothes without even thinking about how illogical it is to wear them when it’s freezing. The media has told them “it’s cute,” and they collectively say, “okay.” Well, as a man, I would like to say to all the young Japanese women “thank you,” for providing me with such eye-candy at all times. But as a human, I would like to say “ARE YOU CRAZY!!?? It’s cold out! Put some clothes on for Pete’s sake!”

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I started reading fenris777's post and was wondering what on earth it could be about Japan that was so very different and incomprehensible, so weird and illogical, so terrible and beyond normal understanding that it could be likened to a fundamentalist religion, that makes us all so dumbfounded, puzzled and sometimes frustrated. Then I get to the last paragraph, and his bugbear is .... fashion. duh. I lived through the first mini-skirt craze in London, when we were all wearing mini mini minis in all weathers. Putting fashion before function is nothing unique to Japan.

His post has left me feeling dumbfounded, puzzled and frustrated.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@fenris, I'm from Ireland and girls wearing miniskirts and skimpy clothing is a common site even in winter. You're going to use that as your example of Japan being 'fundamentalist'?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

You could add in stiletto heels, or collar-and-tie in summer. Just as hard to understand, just as much not only-in-Japan.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

You could add in stiletto heels, or collar-and-tie in summer. Just as hard to understand, just as much not only-in-Japan.

Exactly. Going by fenris's example, then it's clear the Japanese aren't the only ones in thrall to this kind of 'fundamentalism'. And anyway, fenris, if people want to dress like that, why should it be a bad thing? If they want to look a certain way, they're not going to let a bit of rain or cold get in their way, and all the more power to them for that ;)

I've noticed it's the American students here who overwhelmingly wear the sports gear stuff during winter, I'm sure alot of my fellow native students wonder why these Americans have decided to forsake fashion because it's cold outside. Oh wait, it's because Americans aren't that stylish anyway... oops.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Most of the complaints about Japan are moot as it is that countries style or way. None of that bothered me at all...the only thing that really grossed me out was the backwoods attitude towards second hand smoke. The best food I have ever tasted has to be swallowed with a puff of someones stink stick hanging out of their mouth. Just outrageous for a first world nation.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Inability to debate. Especially the older generation, many of whom will never listen to your opinions, especially if you're young and female, and try to order you to believe things and do things a certain way. I'm so happy not to be staying anymore with an arrogant man-of-the-house, I'm living in my own territory from now on.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Success is not celebrated very much, and people tend to dwell on the negative points. Go to any end of year company meeting and hear this in Japan.

Graduation feels more like a funeral than a celebration. More solemnity and choreographed ceremony than joy, and more tears than smiles.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Clerks following you around in clothing stores, telling you you can try things on if you want!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

In general I am with jdowe3838@yahoo.com. Quite a lot of the above "annoyances" relate to the Western attitude towards language. Westerners identify with their self narrative and the monologue they have with themselves. Hence 1) Loud noises (Nakashima, 1999), especially linguistic noises (announcements, "welcome" etc) are very difficult for Westerners to cope with since it disturbs their self speech, or"selfing" (McAdams, 2006). Japanese do not think in language (Kim, 2002). 2) Not giving reasons (, i.e. some words) for things, or doing or not doing things without a (linguistic) reason pisses Westerners off since they live by their reasons. God forbid that anyone should attempt to point out the obvious fact that something is done simply because a tradition because this does not give a reason for the merit of something, even though so many things (such as driving on the right) are justifiable only only the basis of tradition. Demanding reasons is also fundamentalism. 3) Non semantic utterances ("eee," "nnn" high pitched voices) and facial expressions (e.g. the boxes showing the faces on TV) upset Westerners who can't or don't want to read these communications because they want meaning to be in a linguistic form. 4) Lack of a certain linguistic focused attitude towards individual problem solving (aka "critical thinking"), group problem solving (i.e. debate), politics (speeches are politics), and wit (god forbid that anything but repartee be funny). 5) Lies, are of course beyond the Cretan pale. How could lies be good? It would be paradoxical!

The smoke thing is also not independent of a different attitude towards language. We are aware of the harm of smoking from statistical facts since the harm is largely unseen. On the other hand, smoking keeps people thin, and Japanese people reflect upon their lives visually judging their health by appearances, which is something that fat Westerners often fail to do.

Kim, H. (2002). We talk, therefore we think? A cultural analysis of the effect of talking on thinking. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. http://www.psych.ucsb.edu/labs/kim/Site/Publications_files/Kim_2002.pdf McAdams, D. P. (2006). The role of narrative in personality psychology today. Narrative Inquiry, 16(1), 11–18. Nakashima 中島義道. (1999). うるさい日本の私[Urusai Nihon no Watashi, Loud Japanese that I am]. 新潮社.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

How about when i speak japanese they reply in English even though i might NOT actually speak English. Oh and English harassment,it is rather unwanted and it is really inappropriate. Oh and the head tilt when something doesn't compute.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

NOise! Hummm! May be good for an exciting visit! But is there any escape?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

After reading all this, I feel like I've rediscovered Japan all over again. A lot of the more serious life difficulties (kids, spouse, office) aren't part of my happy little life here. If this is the level and subjects of complaints, I've picked a great place to live. ....Even if the banks only translate half their screens...never figured out why they didn't finish the job. And yeah, Reformed....I have been studying the language for a long time. An entire pageful of medical stuff is still a big challenge. Guess you must be pretty fluent, yourself.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Did not have time to read every comment, but one of my biggest concerns are the women who need to put their makeup on while riding the trains. I guess it is something I will always feel is wrong. Most will reply they do not have enough time at home. Rubbish! I guess I could also add people who sneeze and do not cover their mouth when sneezing. Maybe it is something not taught at home.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yes Sneezing is a common in Japan, without covering with handkerchief or tissue, what a bad manners. Eyelashes extensions and high pitch tone for the girls.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Talk about annoying! I use to have this Japanese coworker who always wore a mask and when he wanted to sneeze, drew down the mask from his face and just achooo out his flu virus. Sometimes almost in my face. Then I have to hold my breath and run the risk of collasping. I think some people take these posts too seriously. This is just about expressing one's feelings about something. It was asked to be done. I think this also serves to show up the different personality in people. I for one am glad I do not know some of the people who responed here. Too uptight. Loosen up. Let people talk. It's there right. No need to run them 'home'. I'm guessing that if you had asked some Japanese what they found annoying about Japan you would get some interesting responses. Well..hmmm...better to ask the kids. They say the darnest most honest things. One more thing that annoys me.....they call me kawaii...call the dog kawaii....call a pair of shoes kawaii...call a car kawaii not to mention other things. Point..call me kawaii..ok....good....no problem. But for my sake find another word to describe the other things. Like neat shoes...cool hat...adorable puppy. Get the picture?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Instead of making Japan speak other languages you should learn to speak Japanese better.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Did you say you should speak **japan better? LOL

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Cleo I think it's not so much the same bloody air as the germs carried by people outside. I remember when my first was born, MiL was in charge and she insisted that when Mr cleo came home from work he had to take off his outdoor clothes and shower before he could be allowed in the same room as the baby. After a month he was allowed to just wash his hands instead of showering, but he still had to change his clothes. What miffed him most was that she would clean the washing machine before washing nappies (this was back in the days of cloth nappies) and then wash his shirts.

...and that's why babies in Japan have no chance to build up their resistance to illnesses

1 ( +1 / -0 )

that's why babies in Japan have no chance to build up their resistance to illnesses

It didn't seem to do mine any harm.....

0 ( +0 / -0 )


I'm glad to hear it however, you must have noticed how many Japanese of all ages have allergies?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

After 40 years here ... maybe I should not even touch this subject, but hey ... things have changed. I use to have hair on my head ... LOL ... Here is quick list of things that have always been not my cup of tea and not in any particular order . . .!

Woman putting make-up on the train, noise coming from ear phones in a crowded train or not crowded, the Japanese word 'da kedo' ..... and leaving me hanging for more, the endless building or refurbishing of homes around me, trucks blaring their message offering to take one's appliances on any quiet Sunday, early morning newspaper delivery men on their noisy bikes, even with drapes, my room becoming light at 4:30 a.m., the humidity of summer, baseball games being cut off before the game is finished, people from NHK knocking on our door demanding us to pay for their channel, the difficulty of becoming truly close to someone as the wall to do that has many walls, bicycle riders zooming past me on the sidewalk, taxi prices and now bus prices ... well, all prices in general (the yen was once 320 yen to a dollar), travel agents who do not offer longer trips without raising their prices, earthquakes - as we all wait for the big one in the Tokyo/Yokohama area, Sound up during TV commercials, noisy high heels/ or those 'flapper' shoes - noise level escalated walking up or down an escalator, garlic smell on people on crowded trains, the inability by many to stifle a sneeze as in most cases a hand is not used, the over use of the Japanese word 'sumimasen', and .... I am thinking ... the click or sound that happens when a person constantly opens or closes one's cell phone seemingly seconds apart from their last look.

This is just a list of some off the top of my head. I can also make a long list of the positives of living in Japan. Maybe someone will write about that soon. Have a good day .. the weather is beautiful!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

oh lord the squat style toilets, fine in someones own home if they choose it, but in public places? The majority of men in Japan seem incapable of getting their doings in the hole, I have been known to coat the entire cubicle floor to avoid the sheer mass of excrement splattered everywhere... and my God the noise everywhere! lol... "lack of critical thinking" actually this is a very sensible comment, the Japanese have incredible tunnel vision, stepping out without checking their surroundings, I love the Japanese and them -thats why im here- but my God they could do with some lessons in critical thinking, number one, if you need to cut across infront of the escalator or a door etc, leave some space so those disembarking/coming through have room...

as to the sneeze yes, pleaseplease Japanese men use your hand... and please dont stick your finger up your nose in public, atleast save it for home if you wont use a tissue

"driving on the left just because its a tradition" sorry are their merits to driving on the Right? Most of the world drove on the Left, just because most of Europe changed its choice and the US goes on the Right doesnt make it right. Thats like arguing that being Right hand is better than Left. Research points to driving on the left being safer. Theres one reason.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"the squat style toilets"

Those aren't toilets, those are holes in the floor. Incredibly, they are still installing them in some new buildings.

From Mr. Baseball -

Tom Selleck, looking at a Japanese-style "toilet" for the first time: Hey Max!

Max: Yeah, what?

Selleck: I need someone to tell me how to take a crap.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This article is a joke given that most western media companies will never ask what irritates foreigners in their countries.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The gov't !

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I am annoyed by the fact that the taxi drivers dont know anywhere....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

question should be "what foreigners dont find annoying about Japan"

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

There is one ultimate root to every major problem I find annoying in Japan: the group mindset.

Everything from xenophobia, racism, intolerance towards difference, and insane workaholism/horrible treatment of workers could be avoided if we changed our cultural values towards individual worth, instead of group conformity(also called "Wa", which ironically means "harmony").

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I've never been to Japan, but I wish I could spend there at least some years. I love to take off my shoes and leave them at the entrace. Keeps the house cleaner, but some people argue that looks bad. I find squat toilets cleaner, since you do not have to seat on them (actually I ALWAYS squat since I'm never at home).

The only thing that would worry me a lot is to see a cockroach on my tatami!!! (I hate them!!) and eating raw fish because of parasites, raw fish does not taste bad but makes me worry about parasites... :/

For the rest, I see too many foreigners complaining. Japan is Japan, if you want them to be like you...it wouldn't be Japan. From my part, I find annoying from other Mexicans that they are too noisy....parties at midnight with loud music...seems that some peoples do not care if others want go early to bed! They also laugh and make noise at buses...ANNOYING! especially when returning from study or work, completely worn out and have to withstand those guys/girls... And most of them do not follow traffic rules... I want to move to Japan!!!!!

If you complain too much about Japan, then better go home ;)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

When deep fried fish is called Tempura, its the best food in the world; when deep fried fish is called fish and chips, its the worst... haha!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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