Adios U.S. & Konnichiwa Japan

Posted on 3 min read

I’m not exactly ‘un-American,’ but… after this visit to Japan, I sure can see how we may have won the war, but lost the battle. Why do the Japanese have so much right, and we’ve gotten so much wrong?

Let’s review:

1. The toilets: We sit, stand and squat on toilets probably a billion times over a lifetime, and we in the U.S. have seriously missed the luxury toilet revolution. It’s just passed us by. Our seats neither heat up, wash our tushes, gently splash our lady-parts with warm water, open or close on their own, or give multiple flush options. Until you’ve experienced the joy of going #1 or #2 on a Japanese toilet, you haven’t lived.


2. Public Transit: Ok, not as exciting admittedly than a fancy new car with all the bells and whistles.  But getting where you need to go on time and efficiently, not paying f0r gas or car insurance, and saving the planet at the same time, all trump the new Range Rover to me. Also, if you love to commute by bike, as many of you know I do, than this is the country for you….You don’t have to lock your bike!!! No one will steal it. Or it’s VERY unlikely that someone will take it. Which brings me to number three…

3. Virtually zero crime: Police do not carry guns. People leave their children (not babies) safely at home for a date night, and often their homes left unlocked. Nuff’ said!

4. People are quiet and respectful of one another: Imagine living in a place where there is little to no conflict.  I’ve not heard one loud voice or screaming couple — babies always cry and toddlers throw tantrums in every country, but the adults in Japan are all seemingly pretty calm. Over 127 million people in the country and noise is at a minimum.


5. The food is healthy: Everywhere you go there are fresh veggies, healthy sweets, little processed food, and it’s evident in the trim figures of most everyone — not to mention how long people live here — a good ten years past the U.S. life expectancy.

6. Public green spaces and temples aplenty to get your zen on: Want to just sit and contemplate life, or eat your gyoza or bento box in peace? No problem. Cop a squat in any public square, park, or temple grounds and just enjoy the day.



7. It’s very, VERY clean: You can barely find a trash can, but when you do, it’s equipped with a place for paper, a place for plastic, a separate hole for the bottle tops, and a place for trash. The streets are pretty spotless. It’s a small thing, but when you add up all of these, you find yourself more at peace; things you struggle with daily in Los Angeles, are less of a struggle here.

8. I’m on vacation: Everything’s better on vacation. I’m not living here day to day. And I’m sure there are a million struggles I’d have to face getting to and from work, a lot of silly rules, a little passive aggressive culture, an abundance of annoying rituals…but let’s face it America, we could use a little improvement in a few departments. I’d suggest starting with the toilets!