It is almost time for me to go back to the states. After having lived in Japan for almost three years, it is crazy to think that I only have a short time left here. I have been doing a lot of reflecting and feel the urge to make a few lists. Firstly, I want to share the things I miss from back home. The obvious answer is family and friends, but for this list, I want to concentrate on material-like things.
- Dryers! I may have gotten used to air / sun drying my clothes, but there’s just something about the way clothes smell and feel after coming out of the dryer. I miss the warmth and the scent of dryer sheets. Also, it’s so much faster and more convenient because you don’t have to worry about the weather. I am excited to return to a country that uses dryer regularly.
- American food portions! Do I have to explain this? You get more bang for your buck and if you don’t eat a lot, you technically get two meals if you ask for a takeout box. By the way, takeout boxes are not a thing in Japan which is a huge pity. In addition, Japanese cups are way too small. I want to go to a restaurant and see a big glass of water. Is that too much to ask?
- Diversity in food! I miss being able to eat all types of food from different parts of the world easily. Diversity is probably the best thing about LA, and I miss it so much. Sometimes, I just want food that isn’t Japanese. Yeah, there’s Chinese food and Indian food in Japan, but let’s be real, it tastes like Japanese food.
- This is super random, but I guess I am still talking about food. So, let me just get this off my chest: I am super duper excited to eat in-n-out, drink boba, and get real Cheetos.
- No smoking in restaurants! I feel as if most Western countries have adopted this no smoking in public places policy. I miss it. As someone who does not smoke and does not like smelling smoke, eating out in Japan can be a hassle even if you sit in the non-smoking section. Seriously, sometimes the non-smoking and smoking section just means opposite sides of the restaurant. Don’t they realize that means nothing?
- Paper towels! There is little to none paper towels in Japan which makes me sad. Sometimes they have hand dryers, but let’s be real, do they really dry your hands? Restrooms in schools have no paper towels or hand dryers. They expect you to bring and use your own hand towel. Why do I have to carry a hand towel around? I tried, and it feels like I am carrying wet germs with me. The few times I see hand towels inside a restroom, I have a mini happy moment on the inside. I feel weird admitting that seeing paper towels inside a restroom makes me happy…
- Space! This seems like an obvious one. Japan is an extremely dense country especially out in the big cities. I miss spacious roads and rooms. In the countryside, cars going both ways have to share a road that looks like it should only be one way with bicyclists and pedestrians. I don’t even know how it works, but it usually does. Luckily, people drive slowly in Japan, so accidents aren’t as major like on a California highway.
Bonus) Menus! This is one that my JET friend mentioned. In Japan, for some weird reason, each table gets one menu. Therefore, one menu is usually shared by two to four people. It was hilarious seeing my friend who went back to California to visit, getting excited over everyone getting their own menus. It wasn’t a big deal to me, but I guess it bugs some.
There is some other stuff, but this is my list for now. Here are the six plus one things I miss about my home country while living in Japan.