1. Japanese Apartments & Elementary School Doors are not Tall-People Friendly
GADONG!! “Sh*t!” That’s the sound of me hitting my head against the fume hood of my stove for the umpteenth time, and this time it was right where the sides of the fume hood come to a nice, sharp corner. After removing the small piece of skin that the corner so neatly peeled off the side of my forehead, I decided to pad my fume hood to protect myself. If you’re 6 feet tall or taller, watch out! There are lots of low doorways (like the sliding doors at my elementary school, the entryway to the shower) just waiting for you to come and take your head smooth off your shoulders.
Solution: Lots of cursing and swearing after I bump my head. Sadly, doors and fume hoods don’t feel/or respond to the punches you dish out (as much as I wish they did). The other solution is just to watch your head at all times, even when you’re walking around all groggy-like after just waking up.
2. Shopping for clothes in Japan is a Fantasy for Me
Is it because my butt’s too big, is it because my legs and arms are too long, is it my sexy rippling muscles? It’s a combination of all of three really (okay, okay, maybe my muscles don’t ripple all that much, and maybe they’re not all that sexy either).
Because I am significantly taller than the average Japanese male, I have an extraordinarily tough time finding any clothes that fit. When I am fortunate enough the find something that’s long enough, like pants for instance, I try them on only to find that pulling the waist of the jeans over the cheeks of my rear end is like trying to slip a full-sized ham into a sock. NOT COOL!
Solution: I usually wait until I go home to visit my family and stock up.
3. Japan Where the Freak is your Free Wi-Fi???
Can anybody tell me why the hell Wi-Fi is such a hard thing to find in one of the most technologically advanced societies in the world?!? I really and truly don’t understand it. Japan is not a huge country, so I would think it would be far easier to set up some kind of reliable Wi-Fi network, that’s easy to access. I though the American franchises might have Wi-Fi, but McDonald’s, Starbucks, all the places have been let downs. The only places I have successfully gotten free Wi-Fi were at Narita Airport, an Internet Cafe, a Mister Donut shop, and K’s Denki (an electronics shop here in Japan). In the U.S. Wi-Fi was so common! I couldn’t believe, still can’t, that Japan has so few places that offer a good, free Wi-Fi connection.I really wonder if this is ever going to change.
Solution: There are these small devices you can buy (for a monthly fee) and carry around that allow you to access the internet from just about anywhere you are.
4. How Much is Key Money, Again? Get Outta Here!
When renting an apartment, one of the suckiest things about it is key money, or Japanese. Apparently, key money is a this rather expensive fee, that is given to a landlord for the privilege of being able to rent an apartment. A friend told me this was a practice that was quite common after the war when housing was a bit scarce. Wherever the practice comes from, it’s really a hassle. For my current apartment, I think I paid almost 240,000 yen in key money, etc.. That’s equates to over $3000 US dollars!!! Never paid that much for an apartment back home.
5. Where For Art Thou, Papa John?
Pizza! Japan needs more good pizza joints!! I know this is me being a little selfish, but that’s why these are my personal gripes. I absolutely love a good steaming slice of pizza, but some of the Japanese pizza chains come up a little short. The main, Japanese pizza chain I’ve become accustomed to is Pizza-La, and it’s not terrible pizza mind you, but it doesn’t compare to pizza I could get back home. The toppings can be rather odd, too. Like the
Another thing about pizza, while we’re on it. Why in the world is pizza so expensive in Japan. One large pizza can cost between 2500 and 3000 yen! Putting into perspective, that’s kind of like paying $25-$35 for ONE pizza. Not good, right?
Solution: I don’t really have a solution for the price thing. Find coupons where ever you can get a hold of them. As far as better tasting pizza goes, I wasn’t the biggest Pizza Hut fan when I was in America, but I have become a big fan, because it’s some of the best pizza I’ve had since I moved here over four years ago.
Solution: Just be prepared to dish out quite a bit of money if you’re moving into a new place. Or, if you search hard enough you can find apartments that don’t require any key money at all. Do your homework.
I’m sure just about anybody you ask will have different things to say about Japan, based on their experiences, but I all in all, I like here. Don’t let my gripes discourage you too much. The good far outweighs the bad. That’s why there are quite a few foreigners whose short excursions to Japan end up becoming extended, sometimes lifelong, stays.
What are your five biggest gripes about living in Japan?
This is my first full winter in my second Japanese apartment and I must say I am a little disappointed....