Cultural differences, problems, surprising things in Japan’s sharehouse

Have you ever experienced anything like this while living with a share house in Japan?

Cultural differences, problems, surprising things in Japan's sharehouse

  • I was hoping for an environment where I could speak a lot of English, but there were no native English speakers.
  • I was just trying to speak English, but I was misunderstood as liking the person I was talking to.
  • I was surprised to find that while the Japanese people living in the share house spoke English very well, there were very few people in the city who could speak English, such as store clerks.
  • I started living in a share house for the purpose of interacting with people from various countries, but there are certain cultures that I just can’t understand.
  • There are people who can’t speak English, but try to force themselves to speak English when they meet a foreigner, and use very unpleasant English.
  • There are many Japanese who think that all foreigners speak English.
  • Many share houses only have washing machines and no dryers. I felt a gap in the culture that Japanese people prefer to dry their clothes in the sun.

Have you ever had a problem with someone like this in a share house?

Cultural differences, problems, surprising things in Japan's sharehouse

  • Someone who leaves his/her personal belongings in the shared space.
  • Someone who doesn’t turn off the lights in the shared area properly.
  • Someone who eats other people’s food in the shared refrigerator without permission.
  • Someone skipping the cleaning duty.
  • Someone always keeps the TV in the shared living room to themselves.
  • Someone who cooks in the shared kitchen but doesn’t clean up after himself/herself.
  • Someone who leaves his or her laundry in the shared laundry machine for a long time.
  • Someone who spends an inordinate amount of time in the shared shower.
  • Someone who stays up late on the phone.
  • Someone who comes home drunk and sleeps in the common hallway.

Not only in share houses, but in Japanese society as a whole, things about Japan that foreigners don’t understand.

Cultural differences, problems, surprising things in Japan's sharehouse

  • Taking a bath with a complete stranger at a hot spring or public bath.
  • Strict rules and manners when taking a job interview.
  • There is a ritual called “chourei” when you start work in the morning, where all colleagues practice greetings in a loud voice and announce their goals for the day.
  • The rush hour on the train when I commute to work is unbelievable. I was surprised to see some staff forcing passengers who couldn’t fit into the train.
  • I can’t believe the patience of people who wait quietly in a very long line to a popular Ramen restaurant or a popular theme park.
  • I am amazed at the number of Japanese people who have been taught English for years at school and know English grammar and vocabulary well, but cannot speak it.
  • I find it very strange to see them bowing to the customers over and over again.
  • I’ve heard that Japanese people are very diligent, but I was really impressed by how hard they work… maybe too hard?!