Stuff I Really Kind of Like About Japan

February 1, 2012
Ladies and gentlemen, I am back in China!

Okay, so, this is not exactly news. I returned to China over a week and a half ago.

You’re probably wondering where my latest installment of Stuff I Really Kind of Like About My Life in China is, huh? You know the series I started to remind myself of all the stuff I really kind of like about my life in China… besides the dumplings, that is.

You are wondering that, aren’t you?

Well, the truth is I’ve been having trouble feeling the love for China since my return from my trip to Japan.

Mostly because it’s hard to feel the love when you’re freezing cold.

When I returned to my apartment, I discovered the heater was on the fritz and the place had this weird chemically smell to it. It took me a few days of wandering around my apartment sniffing at stuff until I realized what that weird smell was.

It was the smell of cold.

Yep, cold has a smell. And it smells like it will probably kill you in your sleep.

Luckily, the smell is gone now thanks to this lovely candle I bought at the 10 RMB store.

(Yes, I bought it for its name. I felt “After the Winter” sounded like a promise. Like if I lit the candle, it would make all the winter go away. So far this has yet to happen. Stupid 10 RMB candle and its stupid promises!)

Unfortunately, my heater is still not working. And since everybody’s off for the holidays, I can’t get any workmen in my place until mid-February. Until then I’m forced to wear five layers of clothing and carry around a little portable heater everywhere I go — kind of like those girls in Beverly Hills do with their Chihuahuas.

I’m considering buying it a cute little outfit and naming it Heaty McWarmenheiser III. What do you think?

So, yeah, China is not exactly warming the cockles of my heart at the moment. Not that I know where the cockles of my heart are, but I’m sure they’re really cold right now. Especially because I can’t put five layers of socks on them like I can with my feet.

And, well, I think it’s possible I left my heart back in Japan. Or at least a part of my heart – you know, the cockley part.

So rather than waxing on about the wonders of China, I’m going to wax on a bit about the wonders of Japan. At least until I start to feel the love for China again… which I suspect will happen about the same time I’m able to feel sensation in my toes again.

The language

I lived in Japan for a total of four years.

You’d think I’d be pretty good at Japanese, wouldn’t you?

Wow, it’s like you really don’t know me at all.

It’s not that I didn’t try.

Okay, maybe it is that I didn’t try. At least not very hard.

You see, I’m pretty lazy, and I also have really  low expectations for myself. My main language learning goals were to be able to order pizza delivery and to be able to sing a Japanese song at karaoke. Once I achieved that, I pretty much gave up on studying ever again.

Language learning the karaoke way. (Pink pleather cop uniform optional but highly recommended.)

I know I should have learned more Japanese.

But Japanese is hard, people.

I mean, Japanese has three written systems. Three! That always seemed like two too many for me.

And then I moved to China.

Where they have four tones.


Wow, China, way to show up Japan.

I’ve learned embarrassingly little Chinese since moving here a year ago. While I’ve found it’s not that hard to get by in China as the village idiot, it was a pleasure to be back in a country where I kind of almost knew what was going on.

I could ask for directions.

Right, only Japanese at the tourist information center. That's... helpful.

I could read menus instead of using my trusted “Point and grunt and hope that’s not duck neck” method of ordering food that I usually use in China.

Mmm... grilled somethings.

I could even sing along at my friend Reiko’s wedding.

(Insert sound of my lovely singing voice here.)

This was almost as fun as singing at karaoke — except, sadly, no pink pleather cop uniform was provided. I can’t really understand why not. I mean, nothing says “dream wedding” like letting your guests dress up in pleather. Am I right or am I right?

The rules

In my imagination, I am a rule-breaking bad ass.

Of course, in reality, I am nothing of the sort. Mostly because breaking rules requires a backbone, and I don’t really have one of those.

Japan is pretty much the only country in the world where a wimp like me can be a real live, rule-breaking threat to humanity.

There are rules about pretty much everything in Japan. There are even rules about things you wouldn’t think there would be rules about.

There are rules about where to stand on the sidewalk.

And how to act on the train.

And what slippers to wear in the bathroom.

Since my Japanese ability only really covers topics like lunch and the Domino’s delivery menu, I can’t read all the signs telling me what not to do.

So usually I ended up doing whatever it is I’m not supposed to do.

Or not doing whatever it is I was supposed to be doing.

Plus, I tend to be a bit slow on the uptake. Like, it took me two full years to figure out that everyone stands together at the same place on the train platform because that’s where you’re supposed to stand. And not just because everyone just really, really likes each other.

You are supposed to stand here. Unless you are me & you're standing about 2 feet away... because you're a bad ass. And totally clueless.

The cute guys

Let me tell you, there are a lot of attractive men in Japan, and I made it my personal mission to stare at them all. It’s really any wonder I got anywhere in that country as I was so busy gaping at all the hotties and running into poles and forgetting to get off my train and stuff.

I love all the cute hipster boys and the clean-cut guys in their fancy business suits. But I have something of a soft spot in my heart for all the macho, bad boy construction workers.

I imagine this has something to do with my imaginary bad ass alter ego.

I imagine this also has something to do with the big puffy pants the construction workers wear in Japan. I realize puffy pants don’t sound really macho and bad ass, but for some reason these guys totally pull it off.

Japanese construction workers. Too sexy for their pants.

Every time I walked past a construction site, I was the one ogling the workers, not the other way around. I’m sure they were totally flattered by this. In a creeped out kind of way.

Men at work. Is that a jackhammer I hear? Or the sound of my beating heart?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m surrounded by plenty of attractive guys in China, but seeing as I live and work on a college campus, most of these guys are not exactly age appropriate for me.

At least in Japan, I saw plenty of guys who looked about my age.

Or I saw a lot of guys I could at least pretend were about my age in the little fantasy in my head — you know, the one where I’m walking past the construction site and one of the workers stops me to ask me where I’m from and it turns out he speaks perfect English and has always wanted to date a loud-mouthed American lady with a very flawed grasp of the Japanese language and a penchant for pink pleather. (Listen, it hasn’t happened yet, but a girl can dream, can’t she?)

The bathrooms

The toilets of Japan are most definitely a feat of modern engineering. They  come equipped with everything from warm-up seats to bidets to music that starts up as soon as you sit down (to cover up the, ahem, indecent sounds you might be making).

I’ve even heard tell of toilet seats that scan for prostrate cancer.

The doctor will see you now...

After a year of dealing with Chinese toilets, even the garden variety toilets in Japan had me charmed. You see, the toilets in China are not exactly known for their ability to multi-task. Heck, they’re not even known for their ability to complete simple tasks like flushing toilet paper. But, in Japan, not only can you flush toilet paper down the toilets, they insist that you do!

No you MUST flush your toilet paper. We INSIST!

But it wasn’t just the toilets of Japan that had me cooing in wonder; the bathrooms themselves are pretty downright amazing.

They’re usually sparkling clean.

This public restroom had cedar walls and smelled like a sauna. Fahncy.

There’s almost always soap. Sometimes there are even other items available like Q-tips or lotion.

What? No facial scrub?

Compared to visiting a bathroom in China, going to a bathroom in Japan is like going to the spa. Except all that New Agey music is coming from the toilet.

Press the second button from the right for Enya's greatest hits.

The vending machines

Right before my trip to Japan, I bought a new purse that is just a little bit smaller than my old purse. It isn’t quite big enough to hold a bottle of water along with all my other stuff.

If I am going somewhere for the day and suspect that I might at some point get thirsty, I have to lug around my backpack to hold my water bottle.

Or I have to carry around the water bottle in my hand and run the risk of losing it somewhere as I lose pretty much anything that isn’t surgically attached to me.

I know.

My life is just so hard sometimes. How I even cope without the help of hard drugs is really beyond me.

In Japan, I didn’t have to worry about this issue. There are vending machines everywhere in that country, which meant I never had to be my own personal Sherpa.

I could just buy a bottle of water from one of Japan’s millions of vending machines whenever I got thirsty no matter where I might be.

I could be walking on the street:

Or at the temple:

Or, heck, even if I happened to be in the middle of a deserted field:

And, not only do the vending machines sell your typical refreshing cold beverages, they also sell hot beverages.

And alcoholic beverages.

And floral arrangements.

Because, you just never know when you might need a refreshing teddy bear topiary.

And that topiary was totally not going to fit into my purse.

The food

Did you really think I’d get through an entire post without mentioning the food?

Wow. Seriously? Have you met me?

While Japan may be synonymous with sushi, there is so much good food that doesn’t have anything to do with raw fish in that country. In fact, I only had sushi once while I was in Japan because I was too busy stuffing my face full of other stuff.

Like this:

Shrimp tempura & soba noodles in Tokyo

And all of this:

Yuba (tofu skin) & tempura lunch set in Nikko

And that:

Okonomiyaki in Osaka

And maybe a little bit of this:

Green tea cheesecake in Kyoto. Hey, it's made out of green tea. It's authentic!

Okay, so maybe in addition to leaving my heart in Japan, I also left any hope of ever being able to fit back into my pants. But it was totally worth it.

Besides, all that extra weight I gained in Japan, will just help keep me warm in China while I wait for the workmen to show up and fix my heater. I hope they’re cute and wearing puffy pants! (Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?)

Which country warms your heart and why? And, can anyone tell me where the cockles of the heart are? Because I’m pretty sure mine are freezing right now…

I've blathered on long enough! Now it's your turn!

  1. On February 1, 2012 at 5:07 pm ayan said:

    what a quirky toilet seat! haha
    ayan recently posted..georgie. porgie. George Town.

    • On February 2, 2012 at 1:56 am Sally said:

      Oh, that toilet seat was just your average run-of-the-mill toilet seats. There are some that are so fancy I wouldn’t even know what to do with it. One of my favorite activities was to wander around the appliance store and check out all the newfangled toilet seats and try to guess their different functions.

  2. On February 1, 2012 at 5:32 pm Patricia GW said:

    Once I read “…for Enya’s Greatest Hits” I laughed out loud! Now everyone in the office is very suspicious as to how accounting spreadsheets could possibly be so funny (or, their suspicions heightened, perhaps I’m not looking at spreadsheets at all, but rather a very funny blog post about Japan).

    The bathrooms look cleaner than any I’ve ever seen, and the food looks divine. What was inside your okonomiyaki?
    Patricia GW recently posted..Fifth Avenue During the Holidays

    • On February 2, 2012 at 1:55 am Sally said:

      My okonomiyaki was the traditional squid with pork, but you can get pretty much anything in there depending on the restaurant. I really recommend mochi & cheese. So good!

  3. On February 1, 2012 at 5:36 pm Camels & Chocolate said:

    Funny, I JUST wrote about difficulty getting around Japan this morning and have “10 Quirky Things I Love About Japan” scheduled to go next. Great minds and all of that.
    Camels & Chocolate recently posted..Japan: Efficient, but Not Necessarily Easy

    • On February 2, 2012 at 1:53 am Sally said:

      Looking forward to your post! When I lived there, I kind of forgot what the quirky things were so it was always fun to have friends come visit me and be puzzled by stuff I found mundane — like girls dressed up like Little Bo Beep and music-playing toilets. One of the great things about going back was being able to see all that stuff with fresh eyes again. I was taking pictures of everything (including, of course, the toilets).

  4. On February 1, 2012 at 5:37 pm Camels & Chocolate said:

    Also, the food: DUDE. Best I’ve ever had anywhere, and I’m hovering around 85 or so countries these days. I have a whole stash of green tea (and other flavored) Kit-Kats that I’ve been hoarding and too timid to eat so far (I mean, I paid $10 a pop for those bad boys…have to save them for a special occasion, right?!).
    Camels & Chocolate recently posted..Japan: Efficient, but Not Necessarily Easy

    • On February 2, 2012 at 1:54 am Sally said:

      I can’t believe I didn’t buy any weird Kit Kats while I was there. One flavor which I thought was really strange was salted watermelon Kit Kat (for summer only). It was really gross the first time you ate it, but it became oddly addictive. It got to the point that I actually started craving them… and then they stopped selling them. Dang.

  5. On February 1, 2012 at 6:41 pm Hati said:

    stumpled upon your blog and i love your writing!!!! this made me laugh a lot. thank you 🙂

  6. On February 1, 2012 at 6:44 pm Penguinlady said:

    Ah, Japan. I knew 2 phrases when we went, “2 tickets please” and “English menu please.”. We got the biggest smiles for just trying. Of course, we also got weird looks for not knowing how to properly eat noodles and being the only white people in the bath house, but it was still good. And, God I miss those vending machines. I loved this one drink called Aquarius. So yummy!

    • On February 2, 2012 at 1:51 am Sally said:

      Umm, I think that’s 2 more phrases than I knew when I first arrived in Japan 15 years ago. I was a clueless wreck, but people were so freaking nice. I was like, “How am I expected to learn anything if you guys keep on acting so nice to me for being an idiot?”

      • On February 2, 2012 at 2:28 am Penguinlady said:

        Also found it interesting when the homeless people in Ueno Park were yelling out “hello” to us to practice their English, just like all the school kids.

  7. On February 1, 2012 at 7:59 pm Sarah said:

    Japan is the only country in the world where I was excited to visit the bathroom.

    Literally, pee breaks every 10 minutes.

    And this is also a country which plasters Tommy Lee Jones onto the vending machines so really, what’s not to love?
    Sarah recently posted..Getting Scammed in the World’s Oldest City

    • On February 2, 2012 at 1:49 am Sally said:

      I forgot to mention Tommy Lee Jones. He was looking a bit haggard, to be honest, this last trip. It’s possible he needs to hang up his vending machine modeling boots…

  8. On February 1, 2012 at 10:49 pm Andi of My Beautiful Adventures said:

    I really need to get myself back to Japan. I totally agree about the cute Japanese guys. Hot! Oh and how great is it that we’re going to be meeting up in Hong Kong oh so soon???
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..Chicago: Day 2 (Part 2)

    • On February 2, 2012 at 1:46 am Sally said:

      Yay! I’m so excited. But, seriously, I think I’m going to have to invest in some glam outfit or at least a few sequins so I can try to keep up with your glam-ness. 🙂

  9. On February 2, 2012 at 1:52 am James in Phnom Penh said:

    I love Japan. I love staring at all the weirdness. It’s so hard (and totally un-PC) to laugh WITH Japanese shenanigans instead of AT them. I mean, if you’re going to have people dressed in Mentos (the candy) costumes dancing around in the street, that just INVITES laughter, no? But I love everything Japanese. I love that it takes me longer to unwrap beautifully packaged food than to eat it. I love that I sit on the toilet for WAY longer than I need to. I love that a mochi-covered strawberry in red bean costs like $5 but is easily the most delicious thing in the universe. Sigh.
    James in Phnom Penh recently posted..NextGen Hamster iPhones – Where Does It End?

    • On February 2, 2012 at 1:57 am Sally said:

      Omigod. Totally agree on the mochi & strawberry. One big regret about my trip is that I didn’t eat everything I wanted to eat — and that was one of the things I missed. Gah! I’m ready to go back!

  10. On February 2, 2012 at 2:07 am Unisse said:

    Ooooh! I love this post and I really LOVE JAPAN!!

    I mean, I’ve even decided to take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test! *gasp*

    I agree totally about the food and the cute guys. I couldn’t stop eating the food and also couldn’t stop staring at the ikemen in Japan!!

  11. On February 2, 2012 at 4:11 am Ross said:

    I have passed through Japan a number of times on the way to somewhere else. Every time I thought Japan was great and wanted to visit when I could spend more time there but I never knew quite what to do or where to go. Last fall I went to Japan even though I still didn’t know where to go or what to do. I loved every minute there. I have tried to tell everyone how great Japan is but I don’t think I’ve done a very good job of communicating that because they all look at me like I’m just a little weird. But now I can direct them to this post of yours because you have captured so much of what is great about Japan and done it much better than I ever could. Thanks!
    Ross recently posted..Yangshuo Ride Home

    • On February 2, 2012 at 12:33 pm Sally said:

      I’m surprised people think you’re weird for really liking Japan. It seems Japan is so popular nowadays — especially in the States. It was funny the first time I moved to Japan about 15 years ago everyone was like, “Why Japan?” But then when I moved there five years ago everyone was like, “Wow! Japan! That’s so cool. I want to move there!” Especially all the young ‘uns who are into manga and anime.
      And now everyone’s like, “Why China?” I wonder if in 10 years time everyone’s going to want to move here? You never know!

      • On February 3, 2012 at 2:18 am Ross said:

        It’s not that they think I am weird for liking Japan, it’s because I like all the quirky things about Japan. But many of them can’t understand why I would visit a country by myself where I don’t know anyone and don’t speak the language. So I guess I shouldn’t expect them to get it.
        Ross recently posted..Yangshuo Ride Home

        • On February 3, 2012 at 2:03 pm Sally said:

          Well, I definitely get the whole visiting a country by yourself where you don’t know anyone or the language. I do that like all the time! In fact, I figure it’s better that way. So much mystery! 🙂

  12. On February 2, 2012 at 5:01 am Ali said:

    OMG I don’t think I could deal without heat for that long! You need to really quickly make friends with someone who has heat and stay with them for a few weeks.
    Ali recently posted..Hanoi – Chickens and Turtles and Rabbits

    • On February 2, 2012 at 12:29 pm Sally said:

      It’s really not that bad if I point the little heater directly at me… and, you know, wear five layers at all times. I feel it will just make me appreciate spring more… or give me pneumonia. Either one, really. 🙂

  13. On February 2, 2012 at 5:42 am Alex said:

    I totally understand about the heat—mine didn’t come on until nearly December, and even then it’s just hot water flowing through the pipes. It makes about three to five degrees of difference in my house, so bundling up is a must! I miss central heating!

  14. On February 2, 2012 at 10:44 am Selly said:

    Sally, I share feel you pain, it is beyond freezing in Ireland and I’ve seriously considered eloping to somewhere with a warmer climate – if only I could get my work to agree to let me work from some beach in Bali perhaps or a hut in Hawaii. Alas, they aren’t willing to go down that route so I’m doomed to suffer, no matter how high I set the heater! It is TOO COLD!

    • On February 2, 2012 at 12:27 pm Sally said:

      Ooo, hut in Hawaii sounds nice. Maybe I can try to teach my students via distance learning. I think I could really use some distance from them… I’m sure they feel the same way about me! 🙂

  15. On February 2, 2012 at 10:53 am Bula said:

    Well, I met some travel bloggers in Chiang Mai who told me that I would enjoy your website incredibly because we share a similar sense of humour. I also talk about unicorns. And puffy pants. And soap. Do you talk about soap? Glittery soap of love? I’m sure you do. So, in compendium, fellow bloggers were right because I love your site and cheese makes everything better. Will be definitely following this site now.
    Bula recently posted..Korean Porn: A World Like No Other

    • On February 2, 2012 at 12:26 pm Sally said:

      It’s nice to know the fine people of Chiang Mai still remember me. I hope they told you tales of karaoke. 🙂 I just checked out your blog and LOVE it. I can’t wait until I have more time on my hands (aka procrastinating from grading papers) so I can go over & explore it some more. I can’t say I share your enthusiasm for soap (not that I don’t LIKE it, but, umm, yeah) but I do love me some glitter. And, yes, cheese is where it’s at.

      • On February 3, 2012 at 6:15 am Bula said:

        They told me tales of Facebook forum posts that went astray with discussions of unicorns. We had a good laugh. Maybe I’m the only one obsessed with soap. After seven months on the road and being of Pakistani heritage — which comes with the glamorous stereotype of ethnic pungency — I clutch onto soap like there’s no tomorrow. That, and I try to wash the sin away. The latter is much harder. I have become a fast fan of your work here on Unbrave Girl. I am going to be perusing it like a Japanese salaryman looking at tentacle rape porn.
        Bula recently posted..Korean Porn: A World Like No Other

        • On February 3, 2012 at 1:57 pm Sally said:

          Hmm… tentacle porn, huh? I’ll take that as a compliment. 🙂 (And now you probably just increased the odds of my blog coming up during a Google search for “tentacle porn” by about 100 percent.)

  16. On February 2, 2012 at 1:40 pm Andrew - The Unframed World said:

    1) You started posting pictures of food before the food section… you really are hopeless.
    2) Thanks again for allowing me to butcher one of your photos.
    3) You should move back to Japan because this post made me all natsukashii.
    Andrew – The Unframed World recently posted..Photo Upgrade: Unbrave Girl’s Nikko Japan

    • On February 2, 2012 at 10:14 pm Sally said:

      What? I saved all the food for the food section. Are you talking about the vending machine stuff? A teddy bear topiary is not food, you know. 🙂
      The post totally made me natsukashi. And, trust me, the thought about moving back definitely passed through my mind a few times!

  17. On February 2, 2012 at 2:58 pm nicole is the new black said:

    japanese toilets, tempura, temples, vending machines??
    i keep seeing all these post about japan. i want to go already!! my patience is out the window.aaaa
    nicole is the new black recently posted..The Forgotten Art of Travel and A Louis Vuitton Hotel Label Postcard Box Giveaway

  18. On February 2, 2012 at 10:37 pm David said:

    Ms. Sally….I’m luvin’ your luvin’ for, and comparisons between the bestest virtues of China, Japan, and….(hopefully your still burning love for) Thailand.

    One question for you. Do you still dream of / aspire to / continue to….write original movie scripts? An enquiring mind wants to know. 😉



    • On February 2, 2012 at 11:05 pm Sally said:

      I don’t remember ever aspiring to write original movie scripts. I did at one point want to write for television, but I decided during my brief stint as an intern at NBC that maybe I wasn’t cut out for the high pressure life of a television writer… so I settled for something that was a bit less cut throat but equally glamorous — teaching English.
      But, you know, David, I could totally be swayed to give up the glitz and glam of being an ESL teacher should some Hollywood studio need a script written. Why? Do you know a Hollywood studio who happens to be looking for a movie script writer?

      • On February 2, 2012 at 11:49 pm David said:

        Ms. Sally…..drat! I’m sure the fault lies with my memory or my (continued) wishful thinking. Your writing style (fueled by gobs of gaijin glucose goodness!) and “on the ground” experience / perspective is uniquely entertaining.

        I’m not the White Knight Hollywood bigshot that can help. Far from it. I live in Thailand; I have a script idea; I only have one potential (and distant) contact in “the biz” and he’s in television not movies. So that’s my full disclosure / full transparency.

        That said, we (not in the “Royal” sense….but rather, in the aspirational “you and me” sense) could “do this thang”….and our inevitable (my opinion) success would not represent the first time “newbies” have created a first attempt masterpiece (think “Sleepless in Seattle”).

        If you’re ever up for even so much as a wee tiny (bigger than a Hershey’s Kiss…..smaller than a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup?) chat….online or off…..I’d be happy to discuss every detail of my idea.

        Here’s to hoping…..”Still Sanook-ing in the land of Siam”. Ha!



  19. On February 3, 2012 at 4:09 am Allison said:

    New to your blog, and I think this post has hooked me! I’m grinning like an idiot over here- the vending machines, the food… the puffy pants on the construction guys, ha! I lived in Japan for a year from 1999-2000 on the JET Program, and I miss it so much, even over a decade later. What I wouldn’t give for a bowl of 7-11 oden right now!
    Allison recently posted..A Librarian’s Day in the Life

  20. On February 3, 2012 at 10:47 pm Sabrina said:

    I so hear you on the Chinese menus 🙂 Last time I ordered my “safe dish” (I always try to include one because pictures can be misleading), it turned out that that particular restaurant adds yucky fish eggs to their rice noodles…. who does that?! Another restuarant advertised their “fried salted water”. What? I do have to say though that most of the food we did manage to order was delicious 🙂

    I think we might have to convince our family in Guangzhou to meet in Japan next time based on your post here. Sounds like a lot of fun! And clean “Western” (read, non-squat) toilets? Awesome!

    Ok, this is going to be a dumb question… but… I discovered my favorite Japanese food in China…except I kijnd of doubt that it’s Japanese. It’s breaded and fried pork served with a side of rice and a curry sauce that has a whole bunch of veggies inside. It diidn’t strike me as particularly Japanese, but they served it in all the Japanese restaurants in China. Do they even have this dish in Japan?
    Sabrina recently posted..What Do People Eat in China? Braised Pork Belly

    • On February 8, 2012 at 4:04 am Sally said:

      Gah! I hate when they slip in the fish eggs. 🙁
      Oh, and as for the dish you describe, it sounds like katsu-curry (or pork cutlet curry). I’m a big fan myself — the perfect meal for a cold, wintery day. And, yeah, totally not what you would expect from Japan, right? Although usually there aren’t many veggies served with it — usually just a side of pickled vegetables. But maybe that was the Chinese take on it?

  21. On February 4, 2012 at 4:40 pm Vesta Vayne said:

    First off, I wandered over here via your Bloggie Nomination – congrats!

    And second, I need to have that green tea cheesecake. Like, now.

    I’ve never been to Japan, but I’ve heard it’s amazing. Peru is the country that has my heart, I love it there. On the other hand, bathroom breaks in practically any Latin American country are pretty sketchy…very bring your own t..p and lots of handsanitizer-ish. Is it weird that viewing the bathrooms is now on my list of reasons to visit Japan?
    Vesta Vayne recently posted..It’s Cocktail Time – for both of me!

    • On February 8, 2012 at 4:02 am Sally said:

      Thank you, Vesta. Congrats & best of luck on your own Bloggie nomination. It must be the year for cowardly bloggers, huh?
      And, no, I don’t think it’s weird at all to want to go to Japan for the bathrooms. I moved to Brazil based on my love for pao de queijo (cheese bread). So, yeah, any reason will do… 🙂

  22. On February 4, 2012 at 7:49 pm Maria said:

    I think you adore living in the moment and a challenge. If you conquered Japanese, where would the challenge then be?
    Maria recently posted..When a Stranger Calls

    • On February 8, 2012 at 4:00 am Sally said:

      Ha ha! This is true. All the mystery would be gone! Plus, to be honest, I kind of like living in my own little bubble & imagining what other people are talking about rather than actually knowing. I remember the first time I overheard & understood a conversation people were having in Japanese. I was like, “Really? That’s not nearly as interesting as I thought it would be! I want to go back to imagining what you are talking about!”

  23. On February 6, 2012 at 2:34 pm choi kum fook said:

    From the post’s description and illustration,Japan is more advance ahead of China, awesome comparison!Miss Sally, can you list out anything that China might better or suitable to Japan, after four years lived in Japan and properly a year living in China? Arigatou and Sia-Sia!

    • On February 8, 2012 at 3:46 am Sally said:

      That’s a great idea for a post, Mr. Choi. I am still getting to know China, but already there are a lot of things I like about China that are different from Japan. For example, people are a bit more open and easy-going here and not so shy to talk to foreigners even if they don’t speak much English. Which is kind of why I’ve been so slow to learn Chinese because everyone’s so helpful to me even though I don’t speak much Chinese… and, well, because I’m lazy. 🙂

  24. On February 10, 2012 at 10:59 am Kit Whelan said:

    The toilets in Japan are so much fun! Even though they can be confusing, what with the buttons and slippers, it’s endearing. Loved this post!
    Kit Whelan recently posted..Accidentally Crashing A Wedding In Barcelona

  25. On February 13, 2012 at 3:40 pm Athena said:

    You just show us the great stuff of Japan..I really am so excited to visit Japan for their toilet! LOL The signs or very helpful for foreign travelers indeed! The have a signs everywhere! that’s a good thing..It can make living there easy.. And the vending machine is so cool!The only problem there is the language..

  26. On February 20, 2012 at 3:01 pm Valerie Hamer said:

    Hehhe I love the Japanese construction workers outfits too. Ultra sexy. Good to know I am not alone.

  27. On February 21, 2012 at 4:49 pm Ceri said:

    I’ve been seriously thinking of heading to Japan in the next few years to teach. Now you’ve made me want to go even more. 🙂
    Ceri recently posted..Return to Blogging (with a Vlog)

  28. On June 9, 2012 at 7:35 am Daniel McBane said:

    I’ve also spent three years living in Japan and two in China and came away with pretty much the same conclusions. While, I enjoyed my time in China, it really can’t compare to Japan. I preferred Japan in every area but one: cost. But you get what you pay for, so I can’t really complain about that one.
    I do have one objection to your article: the food pictures. I’m starving here and despite having three Japanese restaurants within 5 minutes of my hotel, none of them taste the way they’re supposed to.
    Daniel McBane recently posted..Welcome to Shwebo Mr. ATM

    • On June 10, 2012 at 12:42 pm Sally said:

      It’s funny because I worked with people in Japan who had worked in China prior to coming to Japan, and they felt the opposite — they loved China and just felt Japan couldn’t compare. Maybe it all depends on which country you end up in first? Who knows?


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