There are a lot of good things about living in Japan. Good food, from sushi to sashimi to Indian curry. People who are generally friendly and polite, with that important “you know no one is horking in your food behind your back” factor. Reading a novel while taking an extended dip in the onsen bath. Going into a hardware store and seeing a beautiful Japanese girl with twin-tails and “Absolute Zone” stockings doing her shopping. However, living in Japan is not all cherry blossoms and Mt. Fuji, and there are some downsides to being here too. Coming from a place like California means I have to deal with extremes of weather, and I’ve had to evolve many strategies to keep from freezing to death during the winter. Allergies are another big problem for many living here, thanks to many decades of government-sponsored forestry which standardized on the nihon sugi (Japan Cedar) tree, replacing natural forests with the easy-to-harvest trees throughout the country. This means that when it’s time for the trees to pollinate, they do it all at once, creating an unbearable situation for millions of people with allergies. In addition to the awful months of sugi pollen, Japanese homes can be quite high maintenance when it comes to removing dust. Much as I love our tatami mats, they’re very difficult to keep clean, and dust mites love to live inside the fibers — hyakushon!
Some bad things about living in Japan.