Why Japan is the Greatest Country in the World
If you’ve been, I’m sure you’d agree that it’s not hard to list why Japan is the greatest. After visiting Tokyo (one of the densest cities on this planet) I figured there must be a reason why all those people live there, right?
My list of reasons for why Japan is among the greatest countries in the world starts off with the best thing that Japan has to offer. It's something they use everyday and has been around for decades. My only question is, why don't we have these back home?
Japanese Style Toilets
When I first got to Tokyo I couldn't wait to try their toilets, or as they call them in Japan “washlets”. Luckily the first one I visited had instructions written in English and little drawings on it to explain the process. When you’re using a toilet in a foreign country that comes with instructions, you know that’s something you’ll end up writing home about. There are varying styles of these modern washlets but most have buttons with different functions laid out on a nearby side panel.
Within a few moments I was transported to an alternate universe where all my dreams and wishes came true. I’ve never used a bidet before but the toilets in Japan have an elaborate built-in device to make sure you’re squeaky clean afterwards. The use of toilet paper here has almost been eradicated in my opinion. Washrooms still have toilet paper but I can’t see why there would be a need for it after using one of their toilets. Whenever Fel and I build our tiny little house, I’m going to make sure it’s got a Japanese toilet.
What makes Japanese karaoke so much better than the karaoke you might find at your local dive bar? You get your own private room. There’s no need to embarrass yourself in front of everyone at the bar and you’ll only end up making a fool of yourself in a small room full of people. When I went to karaoke in Shinjuku, it was just my friend and I in a room no larger than the size of an apartment bathroom.
For a very reasonable price, we were offered all types of music in English and unlimited alcoholic drinks. All we had to do was pick up a phone in our room to order more beer. Some locations have better songs than others but we sang until our throats hurt to Backstreet Boys, Eminem and even Britney Spears.
Once you’ve stepped off the airplane and landed in Japan, it won’t take long for you to come across one of the country’s abundant vending machines. They can be found everywhere and sell more than just pop. Want a warm tea with milk? How about an ice-cold coffee in a can? If you're lucky, you can even get beer and sake from these vending machines too. While most sell various hot and cold drinks, there are rumors of a vending machine that showcases Japan's fetish side. We couldn’t find it but, if we had, we would have been able to buy worn women's panties.
The arcades in Japan are part of a lifestyle for many Japanese men. Instead of heading to the bar after a long day’s work, you can find them in front of an arcade machine where they’ll sit in their suits for a few hours before catching the train home.
There is no messing around when it comes to the service industry in Japan. Whether you're ordering a hamburger at McDonald's or sashimi at a fancy sushi bar, you will be taken care of with the utmost respect. If there isn't already a button to call your server over for more soy sauce, there will be a waiter/waitress standing tall and sharp, staring straight ahead, waiting to attend to a patron’s command.
And after providing such good service, no tip is required. The habit of tipping is rarely seen in Japan and, in some cases, your tip will even be (politely) refused.
Tokyo has a great area of bars called Golden Gai located in the Shinjuku district. With more than 200 bars packed into a few small alleyways, it can be quite overwhelming. We walked past all types of bars including American, rock, jazz and hip-hop. After scouring the jam-packed area, the hardest part is trying to pick just one bar. So let's just say it ended up being a long night…
Trains and Transport
Japan is home to two of the most populated cities in the world (Tokyo and Osaka) and it has one of the most efficient train systems in the world. Several train companies run multiple lines all throughout Japan making it easy to explore the country. It can seem complicated at first but after a few days we were zipping all over Tokyo numerous times per day. And you can’t forget about the bullet trains in Japan that make destinations across the country accessible for all. These high-speed trains reach over 300kms per hour and will have you at your next Japanese city in half the time.
Last but not least is Japanese sushi. Even though I’m not a big fan of seafood, I made sure to try some authentic sushi while in Tokyo. The sushi in Japan is different than what we see in the western world and one main difference is that you hardly ever see sushi rolls to begin with. Instead, the sushi arrives like sashimi, how it's supposed to be. A piece of raw fish, egg, or fish eggs is served on top of a small bundle of rice with a layer of wasabi in between.
We were curious when we saw this extra wasabi layer and one of the chefs explained to us that it helps kill the bacteria in raw fish and also brings out the natural fish flavour. They keep sushi very traditional in Japan using things like real squid and fresh tuna instead of avocado and cream cheese.
I feel like I could go on and on about Japan but some other honourable mentions include: Tokyo Disneyland, Japanese beer and pachinko machines.