What do foreign tourists think about Japan, Vol.1 ~High-tech~

I used to live in Berlin, Germany for a year and a half, and my Belgian friends who I met there visited Tokyo this summer (2016). When I took them around Tokyo, I felt their view of Japan was different from what Japanese people think. I rediscovered fascinating things about Japan from this.“What do they think of Japan?”Today I will introduce some impressions that foreign tourists have about Japan, and my opinions about the differences between Japan and Germany.

2016-10-14   Culture,

“High-tech” in Japan


At a sushi restaurant
A great time at a new style of Sushi restaurant

They were excited about the touchscreen menu system in a Sushi restaurant!

Their first dinner in Japan was Sushi!
They liked the Sushi restaurant in Tokyo, but realized the taste of sushi and
the atmosphere of the restaurant, were both different from Germany.
I haven’t seen conveyor-belt style sushi restaurants in Berlin. People in Berlin seem to think of sushi as roll sushi, so I saw a lot it and couldn’t find Nigiri-sushi. German people prefer deep-fried to raw fish sushi rolls. I suppose they like sushi with a richer taste.

Sushi in Berlin
“It’s so fun to order by touchscreen!”

We went to a new style of sushi restaurant.
There was a conveyor-belt and we could order all the dishes on the menu by touchscreen.
Our orders’ were brought to us by an automatic vehicle shaped like a bullet train that drove itself on a conveyor-belt, which wasn’t in operation at the time.
This style of sushi restaurant was also my first experience.
Interestingly, my friend was really into the touchscreen.
In Germany, waiters use an order sheet to take a customer’s order in restaurants.
But it’s normal for the Japanese to use a touchscreen in a conveyor-belt sushi restaurant, visit an izakaya(Japanese-style bar), and visit a karaoke bar, isn’t it?
I’ve noticed that it’s a fun and new experience to order via touchscreen for foreign tourists.
My friend was into sushi, which were quickly brought to us on a conveyor-belt by a vehicle shaped a bullet train. The accuracy was also surprising to them, because it stopped in front of the person who placed the order.
They didn’t want to miss a thing, and kept their video cameras rolling.

Karaoke bars in Germany are also different from Japan. The Japanese usually use a private room with a touchscreen to order food and drinks when they sing. However, German people sing in front of people in a bar or at events.
My friend said “In Germany, we rarely find private rooms in restaurants and karaoke bars.” “I think Japanese people are shy, so they like using a private room, that’s why the touchscreen has spread throughout Japan.”
It was a really interesting opinion and I agree with it.
What do you think?

Berlin’s Alexanderplatz station

The Suica card for public transportation is amazing!!

My friends bought a Suica card (a prepaid e-money card for traveling by train and shopping). They really liked it because you can recharge and get refunds very easily. In addition, we can use the card not only in Tokyo, but also in other prefectures.
It’s really convenient for them because the German system of transportation is not as high-tech.
In Germany, there are no ticket gates so prepaid e-money cards don’t exist.
They use a paper ticket and have to stamp the time they get on the train, on a paper ticket using a machine.
How about in Japan? We can use a IC card for trains, buses, taxis, and vending machines. It’s very easy, because we don’t need to use cash.
It was their first time taking a train in Japan. They said, “The Japanese train is like a vehicle of the future.”
They thought Japanese trains are totally different from German trains, and were surprised with things such as cleanliness of the train’s interior, convenient liquid crystal displays, automatic doors, and the melodies played in the stations.

They were also surprised with rush hour in Tokyo!
Their image of Japanese people is that, they are polite and calm. When they saw Japanese people during rush hour, they were shocked!
My friend said “Japanese people can get in a line at a restaurant, but why can’t they wait and consider other people during rush hour? It’s very dangerous.”
Rush hour is a typical scene for Japanese people, by they were very surprised.

A museum in Berlin

Is a high tech toilet convenient?

Japanese toilets often become a topic of conversation all over the world.
In Germany, public toilets at stations and department stores are not free of charge, and finding a public outdoor toilet is difficult.
They liked Japans high tech toilets at first, because of how different they are, but after several days, they were confused.
“Japanese toilets are free of charge and clean, but there are too many functions.” “Do Japanese people need all of them?”
It’s difficult for them to use so many buttons for various different functions. They are also not used to the automatic toilet cover and room lights.

High-tech things are very convenient for Japanese people, but can be too complicated for foreign tourists.

Gold fish
The Goldfish art event in Tokyo.

What do you think about the opinions in this article?

I was born and raised in Japan so I am used to this lifestyle.
I noticed things about Japan that I didn’t know through their opinions and culture.

I will introduce summer events in Japan as interpreted by foreign tourists, next time.

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I have experience studying abroad in Germany and traveled 17 countries before. Love Korean food, Love Astronaut, Love Croatia. I will send everyone exciting information of Japan! Enjoy it!