Things that foreigners miss about Japan when they return home

April 13th, 2012By Category: Culture

Image: Wikipedia

Foreigners who live in Japan for a long time and then return to their home countries often miss many things about Japan. Here are a few examples from foreigners interviewed by Madame RiRi.


Nikuman (Steamed buns with meat filling) and Mont Blanc Cake (Frenchman, 39)


Okonomiyaki (Savory pancake with various ingredients), Takoyaki (Octopus dumplings), Pocky (Biscuit stick coated with chocolate, strawberry, etc), and Pocari Sweat (Japanese sports drink). There are so many yummy things in Japan! I miss them… (Irishman, 33)

Takoyaki, okonomiyaki, amusement arcades, gyudon (bowl of rice topped with beef), and “real” sushi. (Korean)

Japanese TV & Ads

Japanese advertisements, Japanese TV programs and convenience stores. But I don’t miss crowded trains in the morning in Tokyo. (American man)

Funny TV commercials, all foods in Japan and karaoke. Quality of Japanese foods in America is much different from Japanese foods in Japan. (American man)


Cleanliness in Japan. I often found people cleaning up in Japan. There is no dust on products on the shelves in Toys”R”Us in Japan. On the other hand, there is a lot of dust and garbage left in public places in America. (Man from Seattle)


Kotatsu. I love kotatsu, especially when there is a group of us trying to keep our feet and hands warm. (American man, 61)


Karaoke and seafood. Japanese karaoke is the best in the world. (American man)


Ramen, Jiaozi, fried rice and cold Asahi beer. I love all things in a ramen restaurant. They are awesome! (Danish man, 30)

Sapporo ramen (Canadian, 39)


Calpis water and hot canned drinks (French man)

Momiji Manju

Ramen, Momiji Manju (Maple leaf-shaped steamed bean-jam bun), bookstores, shrines, and cold drinks from vending machines. I couldn’t do without ramen. By the way, I think that Evian (bottled water) in Japan tastes different. (Man from Belgrade, 30)


Creap (Cream powder for mainly coffee), Vermont Curry (Japanese curry sauce) in udon (wheat flour noodle), aroma of coffee when I enter a café, middle school and high school uniforms, and Japanese people’s surprised reaction when I speak Japanese. (American)


Anpan (Japanese sweet bun filled with red bean paste), 100 yen conveyor belt sushi, convenience curry, and yakiniku (grilled meat) restaurant (Canadian man, 30)

Ear Picks

Ear picks, relay broadcasting of sumo, Tokyu Hands in Shibuya, Sensoji (Ancient Buddhist temple in Asakusa), automatic doors in coffee shops, sento (communal bath house), Buddha statue in Kamakura, many buildings in Ginza in Tokyo, Sony Building in Ginza, easy train transfers. There are so many great memories in Japan! (Chinese)


Vending machines, people wearing uniforms, convenience stores, stylish cafes and beautiful Japanese women. (American)


Shochu (clear liquor distilled from sweet potatoes, rice, buckwheat, etc.) I live in Kagoshima Prefecture which is famous for shochu. I didn’t like it before; however, I love it now. (New Zealand woman)


Environment in which I don’t speak English, my grandmother, Japanese fashions, unique culture, technology, supermarkets and great customer service. (Canadian man)

Politeness. (American man)

Miso Soup

Breakfast of miso soup, rice and umeboshi, lemon water, ramen, onsen (hot spring) and sento, yukata (casual summer kimono), convenience stores, Japanese department stores such as Tokyu Hands, products in Muji, transport facilities, politeness, warm toilet seats, smell of tatami and incense, TV programs, coworkers and friends. (German, 37)


Senbei (rice crackers) and furikake (Dried food sprinkled over rice). I can buy ramen in Asian markets in my home country. (Danish woman)

Bright Lights

Bright lights in stores, taiko (Japanese drums), ramen, trains and the custom of drinking tea instead of water. (English)

Source: MADAME RiRi

Author of this article


GaijinPot is an online community for foreigners living in Japan, providing information on everything you need to know about enjoying life here, from finding a job and accommodation to having fun.

Related articles that may interest you