Leaving my motherland to start a new life in Japan with my husband wasn’t an easy decision because it meant putting the memories and my family behind. But, when I married my husband, a new family was born. That’s the family of my own, my husband and I. My decisions should be by the plans that would benefit our future as husband and wife. Now that two years have gone by since moving here, I would like to share with you how living in Japan has been influencing me as a person.
Japan is very different from the country where I hail from, the Philippines. In my first few months in Japan, I experienced culture shock, that’s for sure. But if you look at the bright side, with culture shock comes good learning experiences that will later make our lives better. That’s basically what happened. I learned from those as they influenced and molded me into a better citizen of this country that was once foreign to me.
Here’s how I am now since moving here.
1. Bath Culture
Taking a bath every night is a culture in Japan that I’ve learned to adapt to. At first, I was a bit hesitant because I wasn’t used to it. Besides, I’m also a lazy gal who’d love to spend my night watching my favorite series on Netflix. Well, that has changed after discovering how taking a bath at night lulls me into a good sleep. But good sleep isn’t the main reason why the Japanese take a bath at night. This also allows them to ease up their morning routines by skipping the shower in the morning. And I couldn’t agree more with that.
2. Living in Japan has turned me into a meticulous lady.
Japan is known as one of the cleanest countries in the world. Thanks to the well-disciplined citizens. That being said, they strictly segregate the trash. If you throw it without proper segregation, the garbage collector will leave your garbage with a note on it. Thankfully, I’ve never experienced that since my mother-in-law taught me everything about the proper garbage disposal here.
If you haven’t lived in Japan, you’ll probably think it’s an easy task because it’s just trash. Just separate the nonbiodegradable from biodegradable. Sorry to break it to you, you’re mistaken. There’s more to that in here, and that’s when patience comes in handy. For instance, pet bottle labels should be peeled off, the bottles and cans should be crumpled, and boxes should be folded properly. Don’t throw the whole box as it was when you received that package of yours.
After seeing how my mother-in-law did it with ease and with no sign of impatience, I came to be like that. Now, I don’t throw the garbage without peeling off each label one by one. I’ve become meticulous not only about garbage disposals but in so many things. I also dislike catching a glimpse of a speck of dirt on the floor. Or when a book is slightly out of its alignment with the others, it bothers me.
3. Being Polite
Not to sound proud but I am a polite individual. I respect anyone regardless of status. But living in Japan made me even more respectful. Japanese are known for being respectful: the act of bowing is their signature of respect. Speaking of which, it has now become a habit of mine. It’s already instilled in me and proof of that was when I went home to the Philippines, I bowed to my fellow citizens as a way of extending my gratitude and appreciation.
4. Strict Observance of Silence in Public
I’m not the loud type by nature. I think I got it from my father and from my mother, too. But mainly from my father. I choose to keep quiet and keep my ideas to myself in a group discussion setting. Unless someone points me out to share what I think about the topic, that’s when I speak. I rarely volunteer and interrupt. But, as a human being, there are times that I come out of my shell and just keep on talking. Perhaps there were even times that I was unaware that I may have annoyed the people I was with because I only listened to myself.
On the other hand, Karaoke is a recreation that Filipinos love. This is one way of bonding with our families, relatives, and friends. We know it’s loud but since it’s a traditional thing, we assume our neighbors are ok with it because they also do the same.
So, how does living in Japan influence me when it comes to observing silence? Well, the Japanese are known to be very well-disciplined. They think about other people so they observe silence in the public, even at home. My husband and I are living in a flat and I’ve never heard a couple fighting. I occasionally heard footsteps and children’s muffled voices upstairs. But loud voices, just once in a blue moon. And when I hear it, it’s almost inaudible. That made me revisit my habits as a Filipino who grew up singing at the top of my lungs in a karaoke owned by my family. And also to this vivid memory of me turning up the volume dial of our stereo and let the music blast away. Although not a strange thing to do in our province, especially during festivals, it gives me embarrassment for not caring about the nuisance I had put on my neighbors.
5. Taking Eco-Friendly Bags With Me Always
Japan is now pushing for the use of eco-bags to help combat climate change. They even raised the cost of a single plastic bag to induce people into bringing their eco-bags. One bag costs 1-5 yen and that is a big amount if accumulated. So, I admire how Japan is pushing for it. As a result, even if I wasn’t that keen on bringing eco-bags before, these days, I’m proud to say that I am. I always have one in my daily bag.
These are only five of the influences living in Japan has given me. I don’t want to make it long so maybe the others will be posted next time. Although no promises!
Thanks for reading!