JULY 2020 (VOL.153)
Home country/state /city：Stockholm, Sweden
Do you like Japan? Why do you like Japan?
Japanese people are so polite and well mannered, the culture is so different from the rest of the world where it gives you the possibilities to do whatever you would like to do. I am also very impressed with how Japanese people would even make the smallest things convenient for other people to use. For example, you could find things you use in the daily life in a 100 yen shop. Whenever I go there my wallet would be in danger, and it always takes at least one hour before I could leave their shop.
What do you miss about your maternal country living in Japan?
I miss dairy products in Sweden, such as milk, cheese, cream, and butter. I can’t really tell what the difference is between the flavors, but somehow the dairy products in Sweden taste more fresh contrary the ones in Japan taste sweeter.
What do you appreciate most about Japanese culture?
I really appreciate how well mannered the Japanese people are, for example, people would not rush into the train before people have stepped out, and people would not cut into the queue. Their “queuing culture” is incredible. Also, people try to take up the least space possible to give others more space.
Which places in Japan do you recommend that foreigners see?
I recommend to travel and walk around the non-tourist spots in Tokyo. By going on the JR you could get far away from the busy city out to the landscape. You may find new interest spots, experience the beauty of the area, like the streets, the buildings or interesting shops, or maybe find delicious food where only Japanese people would go to but not the foreigners. I brought my friend to an Izakaya once, and they really appreciated it. They said that they probably would never have gone to an Izakaya themselves if I didn’t bring them there because there’s usually no English menu or English speaking staff available. If foreigners find the chance to have some local people or a friend who can speak Japanese, they should really try out Izakayas.
What parts of Japanese culture do you recommend that foreign people try to experience?
Visit shrines and write down their wishes or prayers on ”ema”, the small wooden plaques.
Are there any aspects of the Japanese culture or its people that you find bizarre or unique?
I think the elderly in Japan are very kind and cute, and speaking in Japanese makes them even cuter in a way. Some will look at you with a smile, some others will also speak with you. In Sweden the elder people doesn’t give that friendly feeling as you see them, but if you start speaking with them they are very nice.
Next, I find it quite bizarre that you could find a lot of Japanese people sleeping everywhere, even on the ground. But whether they have fallen to the ground because of exhaustion or from drunkenness or even illness, you never know. In Sweden, if people see someone lying on the ground they would definitely help the person, but Japanese people would just ignore and pass by the person lying on the ground.
What are your favorite Japanese foods?
There’s a lot! But my most favorite ones would be tonkatsu and sushi. There aren’t many options for sushi in Sweden like there are in Japan. Sweden’s luxury version of sushi is the same as the cheaper ones in kaiten sushi in Japan.
Would you like to continue to live in Japan for the rest of your life, or you think you will return to your home country? If so why?
I would like to stay in Japan for another couple of years only if I could find a job as a biomedical laboratory scientist, which was what I was working with in Sweden before I came to Japna. But as it seems difficult to find a job because of not being fluent with the Japanese language, I decided to return to Sweden after I graduate from the Japanese Language School and continue with the previous work I did before I came to Japan.