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Quarter Century!

17 Oct

On 1990 October 17th, I came to Japan from America. Twenty-five years ago today!
I have been living in Japan longer than I lived in the U.S.

Twenty-five years already! 1990 doesn’t feel like it was all that long ago…but twenty-five before 1990 was 1965 and that was before I was even born! America saw a lot of changes between 1965 and 1990…and Japan has seen many changes since 1990.

I wrote a post on this date last year and told about some of the many changes I’ve seen in Japan since I first arrived.
(Click here to read it.)

In this post, to mark the quarter-century that I’ve been living in Japan, I decided to list (in no particular order) twenty-five reasons that I love living in Tokyo. (Many of them have to do with the fact that Japan is a very safe place to raise children!)

    1. No guns – I dislike guns and see no reason for “common people” to own one. In Japan, only the military, the police and hunters (after passing an extensive testing and screening procedure) legally have guns. The Japanese police are armed, but very rarely draw their weapon…it would be an absolute last resort.So, there aren’t shootings in Japan. I witnessed a deadly shooting at my high school in Florida when I was a teenager…that’s something I never wanted my children to experience.
    2. Low crime rate – Tokyo is a huge, densely-populated metropolitan city…but still has very little crime.
    3. Punctuality – Everything and everyone is on time. Trains, and even city buses, arrive on the scheduled time. Almost 100% of the time.
    4. Convenient – There are so many stores, restaurants, and services in Tokyo! You can get anything you need…without going too far.
    5. Health care – Health insurance in Japan pays for 70% of hospital, clinic, dental and ambulance costs.
    6. School system – I wrote a post about how I feel that Japanese schools are better than American ones.
    7. Prices – Many people have an image that Japan is very expensive. But, in my experience, it’s mostly cheaper than America! Amusement parks, movie tickets, groceries, restaurant meals, haircuts, and on and on are all similarly priced, or even cheaper than, in America! Gasoline is about the only thing priced lower in America.
    8. Restaurants – The restaurants in Japan are well-known for being the best! Everything from fast-food to family restaurants to gourmet establishments all have excellent food and service. There are more Michelin starred restaurants in Tokyo than any other city in the world!
    9. Convenience stores – Japanese convenience stores are great! You can get beer, whiskey, snacks, hot meals, and more 24 hours a day. But also…you can buy postage stamps, concert tickets, mail packages, pay bills, and use an ATM.
    10. Vending machines – Japanese vending machines are everywhere and they sell all kinds of things: hot drinks and cold drinks (such as tea, coffee, water, juice, cola and beer), umbrellas, stamps, snacks, fruit, and much more. They accept payment by coin, ¥1000 bill (about US$10), cell-phone, or IC card. Many have digital displays that show the weather forecast and use facial recognition to recommend a drink.
    11. Kindness -Even in a big city such as Tokyo, you can often see acts of kindness shown to others.
    12. Thoughtfulness – Japanese people are very good at considering other people’s feelings, and that makes living in a densely populated city much easier.
    13. Politeness – Japanese are well-known for their politeness.
    14. Sightseeing – Modern architecture, traditional castles, shrines and temples, and beautiful nature…Japan has a lot to see.
    15. Amusement parks – Japan has all kinds of amusement parks…big, small, water parks, and theme parks. Probably most well-know is Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea…they’re the only Disney parks in the world that aren’t owned by Disney. Rather, they’re owned by a Japanese company and licensed from Disney. Tokyo Disneyland is actually a lot cheaper than Florida’s Disney World!
    16. Service – Service is always top-notch in Japan. Even at fast-food restaurants and convenience stores!
    17. Quality – Even Daiso (Japan’s version of a “dollar store”) sells quality merchandise.
    18. Statues and robotsGundam (both a statue and a “life-size” robot), Statue of Liberty, Godzilla, Hachiko, and so many more. I’ve written many posts, with photos…click here.
    19. Four seasons – I grew up in Florida. There’s no snow, no colorful autumn leaves…basically only one season there. I know many places in the world have four seasons…but many don’t. And in Tokyo, each season is an even 1/4 of the year. And each season in Japan is so unique!
    20. Festivals – There are so many excellent festivals in Japan! I’m a member of a great one! (Click here to see photos).
    21. Museums – Museums of art, Japan’s history, ramen, cartoon characters, beetles, and so many more! They’re all so interesting!
    22. Peaceful and quiet – Tokyo can be noisy, but generally, Japan (even the big cities such as Tokyo) are nice and quiet! Have you ever ridden a train in Japan. Most people don’t talk…and the ones who are talking do so quietly. It’s nice.
    23. No tipping – Not restaurants, not hotels, nor barbers or taxis. Leaving a tip isn’t done in Japan.
    24. Unique areas – Different cities and areas of Japan are unique. But, not only that…even in Tokyo, the different areas are unique. Ginza, Akihabara, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ueno, etc…what do you want to do or buy? There’s a section of Tokyo that’s best for whatever you’re looking for.
    25. Never boring – I have been living in Japan for twenty-five years now…and I still enjoy going out and about.