Living in Tokyo: How to survive there

At first, if you are going to Japan, there’re some tips you should know. These originally come from characteristics of Japan and common Japanese.

  • High population in a small land
  • Less talkative
  • Comparatively functional but not highly productive

Here I share some tips for staying and behaviors upon living in Tokyo.

Have some cash with you

Even now there’re shops not acceptable for credit cards. These days gradually 2D code payment is penetrating society, even more than credit cards in somewhere, but I don’t think foreigners use such localized payment methods. And, visa touch is seldom available.

Keep a seat immediately entering cafe

When you enter a casual cafe you should immediately search vacant and put some your belonging to keep a table. Or you will get lost there with a cup in your hand.

Install Google translate right now

Unfortunately English is still not popular. Menus, signs, notice, guide are usually written only in Japanese. When you arrive in Japan soon you will start to use realtime photo translation.

Low speed drive

There’re many many auto speed monitoring and also unmarked police cars. Once you are caught for 30 km/h over you will pay 600 – 1,000 USD for fine through legal procedure. Under current law signs must be placed in the area of speed monitoring. However you now know, they’re usually less easily recognized and written in Japanese.

Get used to wait in line

I don’t like waiting in line, but I have to because everywhere is like that in Tokyo. It’s not good option to avoid waiting and switch to another restaurant you have been interested in. You will find another waiting line after all.

Considerate of other person without any signals

It’s good for gentlemen to open a door and let a lady in first, but in Western countries. Usually in Japan in common social life this behavior is regarded as too much, because in this case the person have to reply appreciation to you at face to face. Only you would do is to open the door and to be in first, just holding the door without looking others after you.

Keep time

You don’t have many justifiable reasons to be late in Tokyo. People mostly use trains which have great time accuracy. Parking on the streets is prohibited but there’re a lot of parking lots in buildings or underground. Toilets are everywhere. Breakfast? – Can go to 24/7 stores or restaurants.
Habit of keeping time is made up of steady infrastructure and services. I sometimes get to be late though.

Keep silent

Silence is virtue. Nowadays Japan is also getting diversity but still 99.9 percent people in Japan are Japanese, with similar characteristics with each other. Silence is one kind of invisible consideration because Tokyo has extremely high population density. In a subway, in a shop, on a street, almost everywhere.

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