100 Things I Love About Japan

I can’t believe this is my 100th blog published. I thought it would be fun to list 100 things I love about Japan…. maybe with a few pictures, here and there.

  1. Food- the food in Japan is insanely good, even from the convenience stores.
  2. Sake (Nihon-shu) – a no brainer for anyone who knows me and Super Sake Boy… true nectar of the Kami -(gods).
  3. People- friendly, polite, and very helpful.
  4. Guesthouse Soi – my home away from home.
  5. Trains (Yamanote, in particular) – always on time, always clean, incredibly convenient and with cute jingles for each station.😊
  6. Culture – rich and steeped in tradition.
  7. Sakura – Japan turns pink in the Spring. Everything from sakura lattes to department store decoration…. cherry blossom is all pervasive.
  8. Shopping – shopping in Japan is way too much fun.
  9. Language – beautiful to look at and to listen to, and satisfying to write and speak.
  10. Kyoto – the most beautiful city I have ever seen.
  11. Kombini- convenience stores…. true convenience. You can buy just about anything and it’s good, food, sake, toiletries, socks…….
  12. Temples- Buddhist temples are beautiful and innumerable.
  13. Pop-culture- the glue between the past and the future…. modern Japanese culture that can be traced back through traditional art forms.
  14. Fashion- you never see anyone on the streets of Japan wearing sweatpants…..
  15. Dr. Yellow- the shinkansen (bullet train) that runs diagnostics and repair on all the bullet train tracks around Japan.
  16. Aesthetic-the WA aesthetic, the simplicity, the beauty, almost everything in Japan is pleasing to the eye.
  17. Pottery- Japanese pottery is awesomely beautiful. The glazes are spectacular, the craftsmanship is next level.
  18. Anime- not just cartoons, Japanese anime is often poignant and always charming.
  19. Architecture- from ancient to modern, I love it all. The old school machiya, the temples, the skyscrapers, the cityscapes.
  20. Tokyo- bustling, busy and bonkers. Tokyo is kind of like a different planet, and always turns on the fun…..
  21. Alleyways- Edo period alleyways, with buildings squished together and lanterns and neon, and amazing smells eminating from each restaurant (which may just be a hole in the wall).
  22. History- from Sengoku samurai (my favourite period) through the Edo bakafu (Tokugawa era) and then to modernisation and the wars, Japanese history is unlike any other. It is seducing in it’s beauty and it’s violence…..
  23. Kawaii- cute is a way of life in Japan.
  24. Manga- grown men reading manga (comic books) on trains is an everyday sight in Japan. Manga is a very popular genre and is read by all ages, not just kids.
  25. Sanrio- the company who bought us Hello Kitty, Gudetama, Little Twin Stars and many more….. a slice of my childhood, directly from the Land of the Rising Sun.
  26. Moss- the Japanese love moss. They make kokedama- moss balls, and they host moss viewing parties.
  27. Soft-cream- soft-serve ice cream, in flavours like matcha (green tea), sweet potato, sake, black sesame, sakura, wasabi, miso……
  28. Matcha- powdered green tea, historically used for ceremony, now used in anything and everything. The slightly bitter, umami taste of matcha can be found in every kind of food you can imagine. And, it’s yummy.
  29. Tori gates- the ubiquitous red gates you can find at every Shinto shrine in Japan. An iconic Japanese structure.
  30. Fuji-san- Mount Fuji, a venerated vision which captivates the national identity.
  31. Shinkansen- bullet trains. BEST EVER way to travel.
  32. Zen- the Buddhist philosophy behind much of Japan’s austere beauty.
  33. Etiquette- there are many social rules in Japan and they are followed by everyone (just about). The impecable manners of the Japanese surprises many visitors, and makes an enormous population in a tiny area a viable situation.
  34. Kimono- exquistely beautiful silks, worn in everyday to day life by many women. A tangible link to Japan’s past.
  35. Seasons- the seasons in Japan are extreme, definite and celebrated. They mark the passing of time in a very beautiful way.
  36. Robots- too cool and very cute. And….. becoming more popular and numerous (especially at hotel check-in counters).
  37. Neon- In Tokyo, the neon is unimaginable until you are standing in it.
  38. Beauty- in everything, and appreciated in a different manner to the West.
  39. Peace- on many levels. Japan is peaceful, on the whole, due to the impeccable manners of most of it’s citizens. It’s temples and shrines are venerated by the people and respected with gracious quietness. It also has a very fundamental understanding of, reverance to and desire to maintain peace after the bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
  40. Geisha/Geiko- a truly unique Japanese icon. Geisha (called geiko in Kyoto) embody the very tradition of historical Japan. The classical arts and social and ceremonial protocols are visible and physically observerable.
  41. Tabi- toe boots and toe socks. Super comfortable and uniquely Japanese.
  42. Cleanliness- everything is clean. Especially the public toilets.
  43. Cosplay- dress ups on steriods….
  44. Hello Kitty- an Ambassodor for the nation.
  45. Toilets- clean, warm, entertaining, discreet and AWESOME.
  46. Vending Machines- the omnipresent vending machines….. selling everything, everywhere…..
  47. Shrines- Shinto Shrines are beautiful and very vermillion….
  48. Hanami- cherry blossom viewing. A national past time which always includes beer, sake and street foods such as yakitori and taoyaki. What is not to like.
  49. School Uniforms- too cute, enough said.
  50. Lanterns- A form of signage, but such a pretty one…..
  51. Cat cafes- often an oasis of peace in a busy city.
  52. Ekiben- train station bento boxes (lunch boxes). Visually stunning, beautifully packaged and pretty yummy.
  53. Retro toys- many toys of the Showa era are instantly recognisable even to non-Japanese or even people who are not into pop culture. Godzilla, Ultraman, Astroboy….
  54. Jizo- tiny stone statues placed to commemorate the death of a baby or child. Very beautiful.
  55. Deer- respected as messengers of the gods, wild deer roam free in many places in Japan. They are most friendly, very cute and like to eat biscuits, or anything else you may have……
  56. Castles- extrodinary feats of architecture and beauty.
  57. Samurai- the warrior class, in historical times, the samurai were governed by many social and cultural rules, while they governed the country. The head of the governing body was called the Shogun.
  58. Oyakodon- literal translation is parent and child. Actual meaning, chicken and egg on rice and one of the best foods I have ever put in my mouth….
  59. Parfait- towering desserts of soft cream, mochi, fruits and cream. An absolutely reasonable replacement for a meal.
  60. Tatami- traditional floor covering made from rice straw, which was, historically a standardised size, and was therefore used as a way of describing measurements of space. The size of a 4 or 6 tatami room can immediately be understood by any Japanese person. It’s comfortable, insulating and NEVER stepped upon with shoes. And, according to Super Sake Boy, it smells wonderful, the smell of Japan.
  61. Safety- I have never, ever felt unsafe in Japan. Even alone, in the dark, on the streets at night, in a strange place.
  62. Gardens- very architectural and often austere and even stony, beautiful gardens with beautiful structures and, in Spring, masses of pink and in Autumn, vistas of reds, yellows and browns.
  63. Cemeteries- very different to Werstern cemetries. The stone monument (haka) is a family grave where ashes are placed in a crypt underneath.
  64. Kyoto Station- like an industrial castle, Kyoto station is awesome and unimaginably enormous.
  65. Hiroshima- the City of Water, the city of beauty, the city recording the darkest hours of human history.
  66. Origami- precise paper folding art….
  67. Kitkat- so many amazing flavours, and so adopted by the Japanese as their own.
  68. Kamon- family crests. Often seen on Japanese fabrics and adorning all kinds of other goods.
  69. Astro Boy- not called Astro in Japan, but The Mighty Atom….
  70. Sugi- Japanese cedar. The best smelling wood ever.
  71. Okonomiyaki- savoury Japanese pancakes, cooked on a grill in front of you and smothered in delicious Otafuku sauce and Kewpie mayo!!!
  72. Beer- Asahi, Sapporo, Kirin, Orion, Ebisu, Hitachino, Niigata, Coedo, Suntory Malts, Echigo, beer, beer, beer ❤️
  73. Daimaru- best departo (department store) ever…. best cakes, best food hall….
  74. Socks- I try to but my socks in Japan. They are cute, cheap and often tabi toe socks.
  75. Kenzo Tange- a Japanese architect famous for many buildings, including one of my favourites, the Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower, affectionately called The Fingerprint, by me.
  76. Gatchapon- coin opperated toy dispensing machines
  77. Stationery- excellent quality at excellent prices and beautiful to use.
  78. Genji Monogatari- the first novel ever written, 1004 AD, by Lady Murasaki in Kyoto.
  79. Ocha- cold, unsweetened green tea, available in all good vending machines.
  80. Bridges- Japanese bridges are often red, often steep and usually very beautiful.
  81. Kusama Yayoi- the Japanese artist famous for her spots and her pumpkins….
  82. Shoji Screens- black lacquer and rice paper room dividing screens. Very Japanese…
  83. Calligraphy- beautiful and taught, diligently, all through school.
  84. Kotatsu- A low table, covered with a blanket with a heater underneath that you sit under in Winter. Heaven.
  85. Mochi- glutinous rice cakes. Sticky and sweet to eat, very fun to make.
  86. Tradition- permeates everything in Japan, where the ultra modern sits side by side with the ancient and so many traditions are still so much a part of everyday life.
  87. Friends- I love my Japanese friends, and my friends in Japan. They’re ace!!
  88. Sushi Train- conveyor belt restaurant. Fun and yummy…..
  89. Kuro Neko and Post Vans- Kuro Neko is a delivery service that has the most awesome delivery vans ever…. the Post vans are also very cute.
  90. Koshihikari Rice- the Emperor of rices….. Koshihikari is the best Japanese rice for eating. Super Sake Boy is a complete rice snob and only buys the imported stuff….
  91. Dogs in clothes- well……….
  92. Manhole Covers- on the streets, are often coloured and usually decorative, and quite often depict a local interest.
  93. Mascots- every Japanese company has a cute mascot, as does every Japanese city….
  94. Japanese Gin- Japanese botanicals. Oh my……
  95. Tanuki- or “racoon dog”. An indiginous animal, thought to bring good luck. You will see tanuki statues outside every business and also many homes. They have enormous testicles 😳
  96. Kei Cars- small Japanese Domestic Market cars, especially designed for the narrow streets, and lack of space in general. With many limits on size, engine displacement, power and other stuff, these very cute cars are being super styled by the Japanese car manufacturers.
  97. Sake Breweries- where the nectar of the kami is made….. Super Sake Boy’s Disney equivalent…. the Best Place on Earth.
  98. Omurice- savoury chicken rice with ketchup, wrapped in omelet. Genius.
  99. Futon- floor bed. Popular in Australia in the 80’s and 90’s for it’s health and postural benefits. Old school, but still cool.
  100. Departo Food Floors- gastronomic Heaven!!!! Everything you could ever wish for, displayed in a most pleasing and welcoming way, that makes you kick yourself for eating elsewhere every time you enter….

15 thoughts on “100 Things I Love About Japan

  1. I have never been to Japan but the people I have known from Japan have all been outstanding in manners and generosity. In my opinion a list of 100 is about ten times too long. I think you have the information for ten posts and if you did lists of ten, you could share something, a memory, a photo, to go with each favorite. In my opinion blogs lend themselves to quick reading and a long list is to much to remember or appreciate. I like your honest writing style and I think you connect with readers because of that honesty and sincerity. Just my thoughts, and I hope you have a wonderful week.

  2. Great stuff, made me feel all nostalgic and I’m still here!!
    In case you want to know, I picked up a typo. Hanabi is fireworks, where as flower-viewing is hanami.

  3. That is one awesome list. If you had broken it up into groups of ten, you could have had ten posts…..I’m just saying. Actually one of the first blogs I read was a woman who wrote 1000 things she loved and hated about Japan (500 each). It was on BlogSpot, but it was great.
    I enjoyed your post and decided to follow it. Good luck and keep writing.

    1. Thanks, Anthony, I could have maybe got to 500 things I like, maybe not that many that I don’t… I will try to find that blog. It sounds very interesting 😊

      1. It was interesting. She has since moved back to the US and stopped blogging, but I really enjoyed reading her posts. If you have trouble finding it, just let me know and I will direct you.

      2. Probably. She had quite a good following and she spend some serious time writing that blog and her Japanese candy review blog.
        She is very personable and will respond to email.

  4. I’ve wanted to go to Japan for many years already. Your list has many things I’m looking forward to seeing and experiencing one day – food most definitely, architecture, alleyways, ceramics, Kyoto, dogs in clothes… what’s not to love. Did you mention Japanese fabric and prints?

  5. Sounds fantastical! Love socks so will have to see if they can be bought online. Great list, good read

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