Japan from a foreigner's POV #2

∼April 2, 2012∼

Continuing this series of random thoughts and info about Japan! ^_^
Again it's just random things I thought like 'wow this is different from back home'.

#1 (surgical) Masks are so popular in Japan

Everywhere you go, you'll see people wearing a white mask which covers their nose and mouth. I already knew a bit about this, but I was told something else besides what I already knew. People are generally very hardworking and when they get sick they simply wear the mask to avoid contaminating people around them. Hardworking Japanese people! They would rather work sick than stay home while being sick (personal opinion: why risk contaminating others? Here's a thought- Stay at home! I know, easier said than done.) Another reason to the masks is the hay fever in Japan. It's also called 'pollen illness' and it's caused by two tree species in Japan. Some Japanese people have it really hard which is why they wear mask to help deal with the pollen. If you think it's only sick people then there must be a lot of sick people in Japan because I see so many people wearing them. Sickness is just one reason while pollen is the second reason. Maybe there is more reasons to these surgical masks?

#2 'Women Only' passenger cars

In railways it can get real crowded especially in rush hours.Generally every train is crowded in rush hours, but express trains to example Shibuya are always crowded. In my station there are signs which states 'Women Only'. At first I thought that men just ignored these signs because I always saw men entering the train whenever I entered a 'Women Only' car, but it's because I take the local trains and not the express ones ^_^ They have these Women Only carriages on the express trains because females has experienced groping (which is called 'chikan' in Japanese) while traveling on trains. Men who gropes females are also called chikan and many females in Japan has experienced it according to a survey. My friend who's from Norway (and not ethnically Japanese) experienced it once and she was confused when it happened. At that time she was still new to Japan so she didn't know what to do, but she warned me about it. You have to be careful especially when you're taking the last train home because it will definitely be crowded as many want to get the last train home thus many people will be pushing up against you and if there so happen to be a chikan it's impossible to know who it is because it's so crowded. If it happens then you need to scream out CHIKAN and people around you will recognize the word and they will immediately stay away from you or back away from you because they don't want to be falsely accused of being a groper. Or you can just throw around some swear words! That would work too!~

#4  Pay by CASH instead of CARD

This is a bit more informative for people planning to travel to Japan. Please don't rely too much on your credit card! Japan is a cash-based society which means that most places don't accept credit cards. In my first week I ran into some problems because I couldn't withdraw money from my bank account and seeing that most restaurants accepts cash-only, it's definitely a problem. If you're going to Japan for traveling, I suggest exchanging as much money as possible otherwise you will need to keep paying the withdrawal fee whenever you withdraw from the ATMs there. Just some handy information I wanted to share, hehe. You would think that the highly advanced Japan would use credit cards, but no.. they like their cash.. They like it so much that in some big stores like UNIQLO they would give you discount for paying with cash instead of card. That should tell you that Japan is still a very much cash-based society. Personally I'm not used to paying cash all the time because I usually just pay by credit card so my wallet is tiny because it's only supposed to hold me cards! Japanese people aren't the same: they like big wallets where you can put all your coins in and you can place your notes neatly in the wallet. That's why I bought a bigger wallet because it seemed like salespeople really disliked my crumbled-up notes LOL. My wallet is very typical one with a square coin holder so you can see all the coins ^_^

#5  Japanese host guys will treat you like a princess and prostitutes at night in Shinjuku

image source: vivianlostinseoul
If you haven't watched the highly recommended documentary called The Great Happiness Space: Tale of an Osaka Love Thief or something like the anime or manga called Ouran High School Host Club, you might know what a host guy. If you have no idea, then it's basically good looking guys YOU/FEMALES pay to have a good time with and they entertain you for a certain amount of time while you just spend money in their club. You spending money in the club = salary for them. It could be some drinking, flirting, talking - just whatever you feel like and you can do that with handsome fellow you choose from a host-menu. I went to Shinjuku which people say can be kind of sleazy. I saw these host guys who weren't really that good looking which might be because they are lowly ranked hosts who has to 'lure' customers into their host club. It's funny how they do it. Shinjuku is a big area and they hunt after girls right in front of the station. They would just follow a girl and then say something and most often they get rejected and they go back to their pack of other hosts. It looks super funny and kind of pathetic too. These host-guys have a very distinct style: feathered big bleached hair, sometimes suit, goes in groups (when they are female-hunting) and looks very blinged. It's a shitty job I heard, but after going to Shinjuku I see that a lot of guys are working as hosts. Girls can be hostess as well and it's basically the same thing, just gender swapped. I just thought it was interesting that it was guys who are doing these things because we're used to females being the ones who has to entertain me. Here it's reversed, but there is probably more females in the sex industry meaning being prostitutes than men being prostitutes/hosts.

BTW. hosts/hostess sometimes sleep with their clients!
I highly recommend the documentary because it's very fascinating and interesting.

Hope you like these little information about Japan!!!  I'm happy that some enjoy reading these Japan-related posts ^___^
Ok. Bye!! xo

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