Life From Japan: 3 “Misconceptions” About Japan


I often get asked questions about what living in Japan is like.

Of course, there are the serious questions, but those are no fun, so let’s talk about the silly ones!

1. Do people eat sushi/hibachi/[insert stereotypically Japanese food] all the time?

Actually, I’m not sure what hibachi is — I don’t think I’ve ever eaten it in Japan or in the US.
I keep meaning to ask someone, but, well, that hasn’t happened.

As for sushi, not all the time, but it would be a lie to say that I haven’t gone to a conveyor belt sushi restaurant this past week.

Many families I’ve visited eat things like miso soup, white rice, tofu, vegetable dishes, or some sort of fish on the regular.

My less-healthy (read: single and living on their own) friends regularly eat riceballs/onigiri or obento/lunch boxes with fried stuff in it. Delicious.

2. Whenever there is an emotional moment, do cherry blossoms float around in the breeze?

Um, no.

Wait, hold on.

Case study 1: Cherry blossom photo from one of the last days of tennis club in my old town.

Yes, I miss everyone. And, yes, I may have gotten some pollen or sunscreen in my eye when saying goodbye, but that’s completely different from crying, okay?

Case study 2: Sakura on the day I renewed my visa.

This was one of the very last days I was in my old area before I moved to Tokyo. Maybe visa-renewing isn’t one of the most emotional moments ever, but it signified a big change.

Whether or not I teared up in the immigration office is a secret among me, the immigration officers, and the waiting room full of people.

Conclusion to “Do cherry blossoms petals fall during emotional moments?”: Probably.

3. Has Godzilla attacked Tokyo yet?

That’s silly.

Or is it?

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Basically a get together of geniuses. Or something like that.

6 thoughts on “Life From Japan: 3 “Misconceptions” About Japan

  1. One of the interesting things I found about sushi in Japan was that it could cost anywhere from 100 yen at some grocery store to a small fortune at a restaurant. Since it’s everywhere and you can get it any time, that probably explains why people don’t eat it every day.

    • Yes, it’s so so cheap in supermarkets and restaurants — particularly at chain revolving sushi bars.

      My theory is that sushi is a little bit difficult and expensive to make at home, so it is only saved for sort of special occassions. Miso, noodles, rice, etc. are much cheaper at the supermarket than sushi.

      This is making me hungry…

  2. Lynn, have you gone to the electric city that is Akihabara? its my top 1 in my top 10 places to visit in Japan right next to the school that was based on the school in K-On!. Also i’ve read that being unique in Japan is a want so are there people you see there with weird haircuts and in cosplay? do they stroll around in public and no one seems to be bothered?

    • Hi Gisei!

      I live so-so close to Akihabara, so I bicycled there not too long ago. The streets are closed off to cars on Sunday, so it is like a pedestrian’s paradise.

      Where is the school that K-On! is based on?

      Actually, outside of Tokyo (and maybe other big cities), it is somewhat rare to see people with unusual haircuts. Also, I mostly only see cosplayers on weekends. If you go to Harajuku and around there, you’ll almost definitely see at least one person in costume if it is Saturday or Sunday. When I lived outside of Tokyo, it was interesting to see cosplayers returning from Tokyo to their homes outside of Tokyo on Sunday evening.

      • The school is called Toyosato shougakkou I think… so i’m guessing its in the place called toyosato.

        Anyway wow! i can imagine it already, people everywhere… maid cafes, cosplayers on the street, there is never a dull moment there isn’t it? not too long now and i’ll get to go there myself right after college. I’m taking up Digital Animation course in high hopes i get to be a part of the Anime Community in Japan… just sharing ^_^

        • Good luck to you!

          Yep, Akihabara is pretty fun to walk around. Lots of maids giving out flyers on the street for their cafes and particularly captivating are the bright lights at night. Seeing them really makes you think, “Wow, it really is the electric city.”

          Then again, the tons of electronics shops there would probably make you think that, too.

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