- Because some people have trouble differentiating between L and R,
never get into a conversation about elections.
- Favorite pizza toppings include corn, potatoes, seaweed, mayonnaise
and squid. Pizza Hut's newest item is "Curry Seafood Pizza,"
which also has broccoli on it. See the Japanese
- Taxi drivers (in Tokyo, at least) don't know where anything is. You
have to tell them to go to a famous landmark and steer them from there.
It's best to have a map if you don't know where the place is either. Addresses
are useless. Most streets don't have names.
- When you call to order your mayonnaise with seaweed pizza, they punch
your telephone number into a computer to get your address (if you have
ordered from them before) including directions. My house: "You're
on the third floor, above the Asahi Shoe Shop, the door on the right. Is
- No one ever knows the name of a shop or restaurant. They usually tell
you its location instead: "Across from the post office," or "The
third door from the flower shop." Restaurants and shops will fax you
a map if you call in advance.
- Trains are always on time. On the extremely rare occasion that you
are late for work due to a delay, you must bring your supervisor a note
from the train station manager explaining why.
- The Japanese word for brown is cha-iro (tea-colored) but Japanese
tea is green.
- Newspapers take one day off a month for a "press holiday"
and don't put out any newspapers. Unfortunately, they all choose the same
day, so there are no newspapers at all that day!
- A survey showed that Japanese spend on average 15 minutes reading the
newspaper a day. The most popular section is the TV listings.
- There are seasonal beers here. Recent names include: "Cherry Blossoms
are Blooming," "Spring Has Arrived!," "Gift from the
Earth and Water," and "Free Time Beer." [I am NOT making
- People live in houses with no insulation, some with no bath, but almost
everyone has a cellular telephone.
- Pocket beepers (the rage until cell phones...) come in shapes like
fish and stars.
- Young Japanese women don't know how to wear kimonos, so they take classes
- TV commercials use fluffy pink bunnies (and other similar cute animals)
to sell everything from photocopy machines to toilet bowl cleaner to life
- People don't buy magazines here, they just stand in the bookshop reading
them until they get bored and leave.
- Grown men still read comic books. Including ones with names like "Young
Boy" and "Jump!"
- McDonald's just introduced a breakfast item call "FrankBurger."
You figure it out.
- Cats say "nyan," dogs say "wan," and pigs say "bu."
- Japanese salarymen in some companies spend a good deal of their day
reading the newspaper or sleeping on their desks.
- It's okay to come into work with a hangover if you've been out drinking
with your colleagues. No one expects you to do any work after a big night
out. Have a nap instead.
- Dark alleyways and parks have signs that say "Watch out for perverts."
- Serious crime is so rare in Japan that every single murder makes headline
news on TV and in the newspapers.
- All-you-can-eat restaurants are called "viking" because people
can't say the word "smorgasbord."
- They use the word "puchi" (from French petit) to mean small.
A new item is called "Big Puchi" Pudding. Figure that one out.
- McDonald's is so crowded that the staff use walkie-talkies to guide
customers to free tables. Hand motions are similar to those used by airport
ground crew signalling planes where to park.
Cherry Blossoms Poster