I started my journey from Mumbai to Tokyo Narita airport on 14th November 2016. I did not know the Japanese language at all and as I was traveling all alone, I had many doubts in my mind about how I would manage to live in Japan. Here is the list of things I experienced during my first week in Tokyo.
1. Japanese people are extremely helping:
I started my journey with a Japanese airline AHA(all Nippon airlines). All instructions were being announced in Japanese first and English later. While I was busy figuring out why the length of a Japanese version of an announcement is so long and the English one is shorter, we were all prepared for a takeoff. I had a cough at that time and with the take off I could feel extreme pain in my ears. The Japanese air hostess assisted me within a flash. During my entire journey, I don’t remember the time when she wasn’t asking me about my health. Even at the dawn when I could hear a few snoring sounds, she could figure out that I was unable to sleep and she offered me a cup of warm water to feel better. I have traveled with many airlines but never had such a wonderful service.
Whenever in doubt you can ask Japanese people for help because they are extremely trustworthy. Sometimes even if I didn’t ask for a help some people could figure out that I was confused about something and they offered me some help. The way Japanese people try to help you is really fascinating. If they don’t understand what you are confused about, they would literally hunt for a person who knows English.
2. Getting around in Japan:
Google maps are there to help you out. The trains arrive at an exact time that you see on Google maps and this made moving around much easier for me than I initially thought.
All the directions and signs are available in English at the stations and at the airport. Once you have boarded the train, announcements for next station are available in English.
3. Don’t worry about the food:
Every restaurant has a display of menu along with a price. The display food is a replica made with special fiber, and a newcomer like me would easily fail to figure out the difference.
After I entered one of the Japanese restaurants, suddenly all the staff members said something loudly which made me all confused. It took me a couple of visits to figure out that everybody says “welcome” when you enter the restaurant and again everybody wishes you thank you when you are going out of the restaurant, such a nice gesture!
I thought food order would be a nightmare without the knowledge of the language but to my surprise, every menu in a Japanese restaurant has a picture on menu card! I just pointed at the visually appealing menu and I could order easily.
It was fun to press the button on the table to call the staff to take your order. Everything is so futuristic here!
Lastly, about the quality of food, honestly Japanese restaurants kept surprising me with amazing flavors and textures. A true foodie would enjoy any Japanese menu in any of the restaurants for sure!
4. In Japan Your wallet gets full of coins:
The Japanese currency has notes for a value equal to or higher than 1000 Yen. Most of the Indian wallet designs are not suitable to handle so many coins. I bought a Japanese style coin wallet from budget shop Daiso.
5. Japanese vending machines make your life easy:
No need to visit a cafe or a supermarket when you are thirsty. I found vending machines having piping hot coffee, water, juices, and drinks.
I found coin laundry as well which is a great help for a newbie in Japan.
6. In Japan, public toilets are extremely innovative and clean.
One can find a seat warmer, an audio speaker playing sounds of nature, different angles of toilet spray and with different powers and much more.
People take care of a public property as their own belonging. This attitude keeps the public belongings sharp.
There is a lot more to explore. What I am loving the most in Japan is the combination of a cutting-edge technology and cultural preservation. I feel surrounded by extremely advanced yet polite people. I am loving the positive vibe and honest behavior of Tokyo. Living and loving this “just in another world” feeling.