20 Things Everyone Who Leaves Japan Misses

20 Things Everyone Who Leaves Japan Misses

There's no place like the Land of the Rising Sun.
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Living in Japan is one the craziest, fun, and interesting experiences ever. Leaving Japan, on the other hand, is a whole different story. Once you've been surrounded by the constant bustle of Tokyo, the quaint countryside, and the always friendly natives, it's hard to leave. It's only until after leaving, that most people start to realize some of the best things about this beautiful country that they so dearly miss, and here are a few of them.

1. The great public transportation.

Getting around Japan, especially the greater Tokyo area, is a piece of cake with the punctual public transit. The easy-to-use, accessible trains are definitely one of the things everyone misses after leaving Japan.

2. Convenient stores having decent food.

Japanese convenient stores have a wide selection of fresh snacks, meals, and drinks to be enjoyed by all, even sumo wrestlers. In fact, it's usually one of the first things you miss once you leave. "Really, the only thing the gas stations in America have are slurpies?"

3. Cherry blossoms.

'Nough said.

4. Outstanding customer service, even without tipping.

Japanese hospitality is ridiculously courteous, and the politeness spreads into every aspect of society, especially customer service. Staff are always respectful and helpful, which is definitely something most miss when they leave Japan.

5. The delicious food.

Japanese food is diverse and delicious. Beef bowls, friend rice, sushi, curry, and "karage" (fried chicken) are a few of the yummy meals people crave when they're gone.

6. Cool toilets that make noises, heat up, and do just about everything else.

There's nothing worse than having to sit on a cold toilet seat in the middle of winter. The feeling of a warm seat or the possibility of a nice bidet spray is something that everyone misses after moving out of Japan.

7. Cleanliness.

For having little to no public trash cans, Japan is extremely clean. It's fabulous to be on the public transit and not have to worry about getting sick from just sitting on the germy seat.

8. Low crime rates and a greater sense of personal safety.

Japan has one of the lowest crimes rates in the world -- so safe that children can ride the train alone to school by age six, and sometimes even younger. You miss the sense of security you get from being in Japan that you don't quite feel in other places.

9. Drivers being super polite, despite the crazy traffic.

If you've ever driven or ridden in a car in Japan then you know how crazy the small roads can get -- congested with bicycles, pedestrians and mopeds. Despite all the chaos, the drivers are surprisingly calm and polite, even pausing to let gas station attendants lead cars back onto the road. Horns and flashers are often used as signs of gratitude rather than anger, and people even bow to say thanks while driving. Once you leave you may begin to wish that people everywhere drove so nicely (but you probably won't miss the traffic).

10. Not having to worry about daylight savings.

Once you get over the sun rising so early, it's nice to not have to worry about being late to work by one hour. "Do you fall forward or fall back?" Chances are once you've left Japan, you'll wish you were back, not having to ask yourself such questions.

11. Being able to use a Pasmo card at most places you go.

A "Pasmo" is a card that you fill with money to pay for public transit. Unlike some other similar cards that only work in one city, Pasmo is special in that it works throughout Japan -- and on more than just trains and buses. Most people who leave Japan find themselves wishing they could just tap a card on the vending machine, rather than having to get out cash to pay for a little snack or drink.

12. The architecture.

Whether it be the old Shinto and Buddhist temples of Kyoto or the modern skyscrapers of Yokohama, Japan has some of the world's most beautiful, diverse and innovative architecture. It is sure to leave you missing it when you're gone.

13. The appreciation and celebration of nature.

The Japanese love their seasons (and it's no surprise why once you experience it for yourself). Festivals and themed goods help commemorate all the best things that the four seasons have to offer. Although spring is definitely the most famous (cherry blossoms, duh), all of the seasons are loved by the Japanese people. From ice cream shops to clothing stores to public areas, the excitement of the changing seasons is something to be missed.

14. The automatic money-counting cash registers.

You don't ever have to worry about being short-changed in Japan. Most stores have machines built into the cash register where the cashier inserts your money and your exact change is automatically dispensed.

15. The blending of old and new.

It's true that Japan's eccentric pop culture is world famous, but it's amazing to see how these new ideas have been integrated into ancient practices. This juxtaposition of ancient and recent makes for a unique experience -- one you're sure to miss once you've left the "Land of the Rising Sun."

16. Everything is "kawaii!!"

Who doesn't love cute things? So many aspects of modern Japanese culture are built around the love of cute things, from hobbies to clothing to advertisements. After being without if for a while, you start to realize how much you miss the overwhelming adorableness of Japan.

17. Plastic food replicas on display outside of restaurants.

Deciding what to order is a lot easier in Japan, where most restaurants feature real-life replicas of their food in display cases outside. Walking by, you can easily see what you would like to eat (it also helps if you are unable to read the menu).

18. Onigiri.

Japan is home to many yummy snacks, a special one being "onigiri," a rice ball or triangle often filled with fish and covered with seaweed. These little rice triangles can have a number of things inside of them like tuna and mayo, pickled plums, salmon raw or cooked, or fried rice. They are sure to be missed when they're no longer on every corner, in every convenient store.

19. Sushi-go-rounds.

A fun and delicious dining experience, sushi-go-rounds are restaurants with revolving conveyor belts that carry sushi to all of the tables. If something goes by that you like, you grab it, and prices are calculated by the number of total plates at the end. Once you've eaten here, eating sushi anywhere else feels incomplete.

20. Having vending machines with everything, everywhere.

Whether you're in the mood for hot tea, cold fruit-flavored water, crispy french fries or farm fresh eggs, there is a vending machine in Japan to satisfy your cravings. Around every corner, on the subway platforms, in the malls, and in the middle of nowhere, you get used to seeing vending machines of all kinds being conveniently nearby. You definitely start to miss them when you're out of Japan.

Cover Image Credit: Ashley Franklin

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To The Girl Who Hasn't Been Herself Lately

Your spark return, and you will shine like you were meant to.
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Life gets tough. Life gets too much to handle sometimes, and those times make you stronger. However, right now, it seems like you have lost yourself.

It’s difficult when you catch yourself not being you. When you do something or act a certain way and just wonder, “what did I do to deserve this? Why is this happening? When will it get better?” The way you’re feeling is not so much that you’re unhappy, you just feel weird.

Your day will come. I promise you. This is just a phase.

The day you realize how much you have grown from this point in time will be your reward. It is so hard to see now, and I feel your pain.

Your light will return to you. Your pure bliss moments, they are seeking you. Your laughter where your tummy aches is in your reach.

Our moods change far too often for us as humans to understand why, but the encounters you make every day have this effect on us.

You must remember the pure happiness you experienced before your first heartbreak, before the first friend became someone you thought they weren’t, before you lost your innocence. That was a time of true joy as you had not a care in the world for the things that would harm you. Better yet, you didn’t have the option to experience them because you were just a child.

The world can be an ugly place, and your attitude towards life can change every day. One thing is for certain: you did not lose who you are internally. We all put on a face for the world. For the people who we try to impress. For the life we want to live. For the things we want to achieve.

Your definitive personality is still in the works. Believe it or not, it always will be. Times like this change us for the better even though we can’t see it.

Your happiness will return. You will be a better, stronger version of you. In fact, you will be the best version of you yet.

Once this phase is over, you will be okay. This I promise you.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Sutton

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5 Ways To Travel For Cheap So You Never Have To Miss A Concert Again

Writing to save your bank accounts...you're going to need it.

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We all know traveling can be expensive, especially when you're traveling across the states. We have gas prices, which are outrageous in midwestern states, plus food, tickets, and emergency expenses. We have to think about merchandise and water (because no one needs to be dehydrated at a concert). And we also have a lot of other aspects of traveling to think about.

Here are my five favorite techniques to travel for less. It will save you a ton! (See what I did there?)

1. Rent/take gas efficient cars.

Alexander Popov

Having a car that gets very good gas mileage and can save you money with each fill is very helpful. When you have a car that takes 40 MPG on a highway, you're going to save a lot more in gas costs than you would with any other vehicle, especially when you're taking highways to get to your next destination. Using apps to find the cheapest gas prices is incredibly helpful, too! Using apps like "Gas Buddy" and "Gas Guru" will point out the cheapest gas prices in your area. Having a fuel efficient car is the first step to having a cheaper trip.

Pro-Tip: Never leave your gas tank less than half, it will save you much more on each fill.

2. Stay in an Airbnb. 

Adrian Schwarz

Hotels can be really expensive, especially in major cities. Airbnb can be safer, cleaner, and cheaper to stay in, especially when you are in a large group. Airbnb's come in private rooms, private suites, and even private houses. All of which are accommodated by when and where you have to stay. Airbnb does not have an age minimum, so if you are traveling under 21 (like I am), you are not under a risk of being denied a place to stay.

Pro-Tip: Use my link for a credit when you sign up! (www.airbnb.com/c/caitlinp1520)

3. Buy the least expensive tickets and upgrade at the venue.

James Barr


When going to concerts, it's really easy to try and buy a ticket in the front row no matter what the cost is. However, most venues will allow you to upgrade your ticket to a better seat for half the price. By upgrading your seat at the venue, you will most likely have seats closer to the front because they are trying to fill every spot. Continuously check websites like "Ticketmaster" and "StubHub," because most sellers will drop prices days before the show.

Pro tip: Set alerts for a specific show for updates on prices.

4. Eat value meals.

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Like any college student, we are always trying to find the cheapest deals to eat out at a restaurant. However, that may not be feasible when you are traveling across the country. Have a safe meal at a fast food chain, such as "Wendy's," that do combination meals for under $5 that you can grab after a concert on your way to your next destination.

Pro-Tip: Wendy's "4 for $4" is the best value meal I've found so far to be cost-efficient while traveling!

5. Travel in groups.

Simon Maage

Best tip to remember is to travel with your friends. When you travel with friends, whether it be one or five, you are able to split every cost and make each part of traveling a lot less than it would be by yourself. Rotating costs between friends could include gas, food, water, and cost of the stay. Having a plan with your group to map out who is going to pay for what will take a lot of stress off driving when actually on the road.

Pro-Tip: Traveling with friends makes road trips feel a lot shorter and are more enjoyable than having to drive 12 hours on your own. Highly recommend!


Happy safe, fun and (cheap) traveling!

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