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My Japanese habits... or not !

by - 5:06 AM

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When living in a foreign country, it is no uncommon to take some local habits and customs. I'm certainly not an exception.
Here are three Japanese habits I have adopted and three who will probably remain strange to me forever.

Sanctuaire Yanagawa-gokoku, Yanagawa city, Fukuoka
Yanagawa-gokoku shrine, Yanagawa city, Fukuoka

Habitudes alimentaires


I always eat Japanese cuisine and I don't miss the French one  at all : in 4 years I have eaten French only once and that was in a knowledge place so it isn't as if I could choose. Of course, this would be a lie to say that I do not occasionally have small French desires:mashed fruits, goat cheese or a cucumber salad with a spicy vinaigrette but usually Japanese cuisine makes me 100% happy. Besides I cook Japanese every day and I can't cook French.
Concretely this is what changed:
- Rice is my main source of carbohydrates. People often ask me if it isn't boring to eat rice everyday. No ! Japanese rice is delicious and I am so addicted that I can't imagine a day without eating some rice. I love  just cooked hot rice and it's aroma escaping from the rice cooker in the morning.
- I cook miso soup every night. Like rice, I can't let a day go without eating some.
- Soy sauce, mirin and cooking use sake are part of my daily life. Good to know: soy sauce and mirin save almost all situations;
- Often I have several types of protein / carbohydrates in one meal. Rice with potato salad or miso soup with pork with a sweet omelette.
- I always have rice in the freezer for lazy evenings;
- I don't eat dessert or milk product (yoghurts) anymore after a meal;
- I have two dozen pair of chopsticks but only one set of fork and knife ... that I never used.

Assortiments de sushis, Akune, Kagoshima
Sushis, Akune, Kagoshima

Taking hot baths

Since I arrive in Japan, but especially since I date Daisuke, I came to understand the good point of the Japanese hot bath habits: in winter I am not cold getting out the shower room (the bathrooms in Japan are not heated) and in summer outside seems cooler. Well, we'll say it's a half taken habit as if in winter I cantake a 42-43 degrees hot bath but in the summer and can't go up to 37 degrees. The best of the best is to take a hot relaxing bath in winter and go straight to snuggle under a soft futon. We feel warm, relaxed and fall asleep very easily.

UV free goods

Yes I am not ashamed to say that ! I have adopted and I bless the Japanese inventions such as UV free umbrella and long gloves which protect the whole arms. It is neither practical nor sexy but health is my priority. I have a very white skin with lots of moles so I prefer therefore escape the sun to preserve me from every tanning and UV trace. Japanese sun is very strong and quite unpleasant.

Gilet de bain anti-UV et ombrelle à Miyakojima
UV free bathing cardigan and umbrella in Miyakojima

It is quite a  lot of things but there are, of course, many Japanese habits I didn't adopt. For example :

Taking elevators

Japan is an elevators country. They are everywhere and Japanese people even take it to go to only one floor up or down  (!!!). As I am not someone patient, I hate to wait 5 minutes for an elevator and most of the time I take the stairs ... if they are available ! Because oftenly, there are only fire escapes one that you can't use. In my first living place and in my current one, stairs stopped at the 2nd floor. In the place I lived in until last month stairs could be open only with a key and there was no lights.
At work we are lucky to have accessible stairs so I often stop two or three floor before mine to climb the rest by foot. Needless to say that my colleagues don' understand why I do that since there is the elevator ...


Staying late at work

Although I love my job I need to have a few quiet hours at home and I want tohave time to cook, relax or do my blog. Even physically, after 6pm my eyes start to hurt and I am not longer able to concentrate. In Japan it is a good thing to stay late (even when there is nothing to do) and/or leave after your boss. Not for me : as long as I am on time with the schedules I leave early. But I admit that it's a bit embarassing when other people are really busy and stay until midnight.

Drinking tea

A typical conversation between a Japanese person and me at the restaurant.

B : can I have some water please ?
A : *regard interrogateur*
B : I don't like tea
A : eeeee !! Why ?
B : I don't like the taste
A : even green tea ?
B :yes
A : and black tea ?
B : also
A : but what do you drink usually ? Like while eating ?
B : water
A : eeeee !? It's so sad


It's a fact: I don't like tea. Whether it's green, black, earl grey, fruits or whateven flavored  ones, it is almost impossible for me to drink thie beverage.  I just don't like it.
For a Japanese person, to not liking the tea is inconceivable. Everyone drink tea from his childhood and everyone loves it. Everythime I say that I don't like tea people answer "oh it's because French don't drink tea." Um no. It's just I don't like that.
Daisuke tries to force me to drink a little each time it is possible. He told me it's important that I learn to like tea because "among Japanese nobody hates tea so you have to get used." I always make the effort to take a sip but I don't him to do that even if I can swallow a few mouthfuls of barley tea without wanting to throw up now.
The most embarrassing moment is when I am offered a cup of coffee instead of tea because I also hate that. In such cases I always wonder if I should refuse and get my host (and myself) in embarrassment or accept it but leave the drink on the table which seems to be rude.

Thé de Yame (Yame-cha), Kurogi-machi, Fukuoka
Yame tea (Yame-cha), Kurogi-machi, Fukuoka
There would be many other habits to say something about but these are the first things that came to my mind. And you, either you live in Japan or elsewhere, did you take some habits from an other country ?

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