Unexpected things about Japan – Part 1

So you may have seen something similar to this, but I’d like to share some unexpected things I found out from Japan after moving here.  I’ll write more parts as I think of them.

  1. Tom and Jerry cartoons have voice actors – Weird, huh?  I kinda enjoy it though since you already understand what is happening.  It’s like a really simple Japanese lesson.
  2. People use their emergency blinkers to park anywhere – This still irks me a little, but not so much since I realized that I could do it too.  Basically, since parking is limited in a lot of areas, people will pull over, use their blinkers and hop out to do whatever they need to do.
  3. Japanese kitchens rarely have ovens – If you’re a hobbyist chef like me, this may be a shocker.  The best thing I could get by with is a microwave/toaster oven that I was able to get at a recycle shop.  The only place I’ve seen full-size ovens at were some of the community kitchens where they have cooking classes/clubs.
  4. Amazon.co.jp shopping =/= Amazon.com shopping – When I first got here, I made it a mission to figure out how to use Amazon.co.jp to shop.  Back home, I used Amazon.com not only because of the convenience of online shopping, but because the prices were usually better, paired with Amazon’s great customer service.  Since Amazon has a barcode scanner built into their app, I would frequently check prices online in stores to see if it’s worth buying now or ordering it on the Internet.  In many cases, I’ve found that the prices usually don’t vary that much.  I’m not really sure why this is the case.
  5. Beer in Japan is taxed by its malt content – Malt is the partially broken down starches of the grains used in beer brewing.  It gives beer its alcohol content and body of flavor.  Bitterness and other scents are caused by the addition of hops and spices.  So as you would expect, all-malt beer in Japan, even if it is terribly made, is expensive.  This has pushed breweries to produce a cheap beer called “Happoshu”.  It’s an extremely low malt beer with other grain alcohol mixed in after fermentation is complete.  Sometimes the brewers will get fancy and add some interesting hops to the beers, but in general, they usually have an extremely light, bitter taste with some kind of odd “bite” (maybe it’s the liquor or funky hops).  In short, these beers make a Bud Light taste delicious by comparison.

So I’ll try to make a recurring series of these.  Leave me a comment if you have any questions!

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