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.

16 Responses to “Quarter Century!”

  1. Jack August 5, 2017 at 12:29 pm #

    Yes, this. So much this. You know, my wife wants to move back to the States, but she had only lived there for about a year (most of that with me). She never had the pleasure of waking up at 4AM to gunshots or ending up ten grand in debt because of a knee injury… Even as a proud American, I still have reservations about returning.


    • tokyo5 August 6, 2017 at 3:11 pm #

      > my wife wants to move back to the States

      Your wife prefers America to Japan?

      >she had only lived there for about a year

      Did you meet your wife in America?

      >She never had the pleasure of waking up at 4AM to gunshots

      Neither have I! But I did witness a deadly shooting at my high school in Florida when I was 18.

      >I still have reservations about returning.

      I’m not going to move back to America…but not because I dislike America or anything – I’m just more “at home” in Japan now after all these years.


  2. Girish September 22, 2016 at 11:59 pm #

    Each and every point you mentioned here are true. This is what attracted me and made me extend my stay to 3 years from the intended 6 months stay. So far have visited and stayed in places like South Africa, Denmark, Sweden, China and US. But none made me feel at home like Japan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • tokyo5 September 23, 2016 at 8:09 am #

      >extend my stay to 3 years from the intended 6 months

      Six months to three years is a big jump! By the way, six months is an unusual amount of time to stay. Longer than tourist, but shorter than the usual expat time frame.

      >So far have visited and stayed in places like South Africa, Denmark, Sweden, China and US.

      Many countries! Which country are you from? And what part of the U.S. did you visit?

      >none made me feel at home like Japan.

      Me, too. That’s why I stayed!


      • Girish September 23, 2016 at 11:22 pm #

        I was on a company project and my boss asked me whether I am comfortable to extend my work in Japan itself. I ended up staying for 3 years. Could have stayed more, but some pressing personal work got me back to my home country, India.

        I work in a typical IT company in India and various projects lead me to these countries.

        In US, I had been to San Diego for few months and now currently am in Oklahoma from past 2 months


      • tokyo5 September 24, 2016 at 11:34 am #

        Oklahoma? I’ve never been there, but my image is that it’s very rural!


  3. Nurul October 21, 2015 at 7:51 pm #

    Hello! I got to this site from one of your comments on another site. I came here to look for the post on children friendly places to visit while in Tokyo.. but couldn’t find it. I’m going to stay at Sugamo for 4 days & hoping to go to nearby / easily & possibly cheaply accessible places that I could bring my 1.5 year around..


    • tokyo5 October 21, 2015 at 9:11 pm #

      Sugamo? How did you choose that area?

      I often get email from families looking for similar advice. I’m happy to help if I can.

      I wrote a post with a few suggestions … click here to read it.

      If you have more questions, feel free to email me with this contact form.


  4. bmetcheverry October 19, 2015 at 3:34 pm #

    Hahaha, “never tipping” I love that too 🙂
    Happy quarter-century in Japan!


    • tokyo5 October 19, 2015 at 3:51 pm #

      Yeah, I’ve been living in Japan for my entire adult life. So, when we visited Florida in 2004, I wasn’t sure who tip tip or how much.


  5. CrazyChineseFamily October 17, 2015 at 5:46 am #

    Congratulations for this anniversary!
    I guess the no guns thing is a no brainer. So far I only know the USA for this gun insanity, it doesn’t make sense to fight crime with guns but oh well they got a strong lobby it seems.
    Japan does have man things ahead of many many other countries in this world and I do hope to visit there soon :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • tokyo5 October 17, 2015 at 8:16 am #

      Yeah…many people in America, it seems, value owning guns. Personally, I don’t understand why.

      Liked by 1 person

      • CrazyChineseFamily October 17, 2015 at 7:58 pm #

        Hey btw, didnt wanted to sound offensive, had some beer yesterday and this whole thing about weapons leaves me always just speechless, Just dont understand how it is possible in modern world to have such focus on guns.
        Anyways, Japan is the best example how safe life is without guns 🙂


      • tokyo5 October 17, 2015 at 10:43 pm #

        I didn’t find your comment offensive at all. Don’t hesitate to express your opinions in comments on my blog anytime!


  6. mikeladano October 17, 2015 at 12:06 am #

    Congratulations! We have some of these benefits in Canada too — good health care, fewer guns. But you guys have better CDs available! I’m always having to buy on import!


    • tokyo5 October 17, 2015 at 12:16 am #

      Thanks. Please read this post again…I just updated it a bit.


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