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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When you go to Disney World, it feels like you've been transported into another world. Here are some secrets about how cast members and imagine-ers keep Walt Disney World so magical.

1. The smell of Main Street U.S.A.

When you walk into the Magic Kingdom, the first thing you see and smell is Main Street U.S.A. The scent of freshly baked cookies fills the air and many wonder how does Disney do this? It's actually piping that pumps the smell throughout the street.

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When you walk into Main Street U.S.A., not only will you smell cookies but you'll see a lot of patriotic spirit. The street is filled with American flags, but have you noticed that they are never at half mast? All the flags in Disney except the main flagpole American Flag are either missing a stripe or a star. This is to avoid having to raise and lower every single flag when the government says to have all flags at half mast.

4. The Haunted Pickle Jar

So the story goes as follows. Back when Tower of Terror was being built, apparently the imagine-ers had a joke about a pickle jar. It kept showing up when they were working and one person brought it in on the wrong day. They put the pickle jar on the table and it was gluing day. Because it was permanently stuck to the table, it is still a part of the ride to this day.

5. Tower of Terror's shape

There is a reason why the monorail doesn't stop immediately at the front of Epcot. Originally, Epcot was supposed to be two separate parks, Epcot's Future World and Epcot's World Showcase. The monorail was going to make two separate stops, but because of the marshy swamp lands in Florida, the ground wouldn't support the second station. If the monorail would've had two stations in Epcot, there would be five Disney parks throughout Walt Disney World.

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Connect Transit Is The Way To Go To Get You Where You Need To Be

Save some money, and take the bus.
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When it comes to being a college student, life can be pretty stressful. There are classes, tests, internships, jobs, social clubs and a social life to worry about. On top of that, we also have to worry about getting to these places. Sure there are friends and Ubers that you can call on to give you a ride somewhere if you don’t have your own car, but what if your bank account is low and your friends are busy? What do you do then? Well, don’t worry about finding a solution because I’ve already done that part for you.

Ride Connect Transit!

Connect Transit is Bloomington-Normal’s public transportation system that can take you anywhere you need to go within the area! If you’re a student at Illinois State University, Illinois Wesleyan, or Heartland, all it takes is the swipe of an ID card and you’re good to go. Community riders will have to pay a fee of $1. Now, I know taking public transportation might not be ideal. Trust me. If it were up to me, I would have my own car by now, but in all honesty, taking public transportation has changed my life.

Even figuring out the bus system has saved my life. After downloading the Connect Transit app and getting the hang of the routes, everything else was a piece of cake. I transferred to Illinois State knowing nothing about the area, the people, and especially nothing about the public transportation here. Using the connect transit app helped me learn more.

My first day riding with Connect Transit was one to remember. I was definitely intimidated, but after greeting the bus driver and swiping my card, I knew I could handle it. Everything was so much easier than I thought, and the ride didn’t last too long either! All it took was one simple pull of the cord against the window to take me where I needed to be. Getting to my destination wasn’t the hardest part. It was the getting back part that I really struggled with.

After the daily twenty minute walks from campus to my house, I had finally had enough. I knew there was a way for me to get back if I figured it out with Connect Transit. One day, I decided to figure everything out. After finding the opposite route and speaking with the bus driver, I knew I was in the right place to get home.

Riding the bus is only as scary as you make it. Have some confidence in yourself, take the bull by the horns and take an adventure with Connect Transit by mapping out your day. With the touch of a button, you can map out your destinations and ride with Connect Transit to take you where you want to go. So say goodbye to Ubers and carpooling and say hello to Connect Transit where riding is simple!

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