Before I begin this article, I just want to state for the record that I love living in Japan, and the benefits far outweigh the bad points. Where I live the people are so kind and friendly, the landscapes are beautiful and as there is a very low crime rate, I have never felt so safe living somewhere before. All that being said, here are the things that for me are not so great….
I have never ever in my life seen bugs as big or mean looking as the ones here in Japan. In the UK, we don’t even have cockroaches, let alone some of the other nasty things I regularly see here. It’s not just that the bugs are different, they are so much bigger here too! Things I have encountered here so far include giant spiders, cockroaches, praying mantis, and the evil mukade.
The mukade looks like the centipede from hell. Notoriously fast and difficult to kill, it is recommended that if you do manage to catch one that you kill it by boiling it. It is said that if you squash it they release pheromones that will attract all his friends to your house too. Oh, and if one of them bites you, (which is highly likely due to their aggressive nature) then it’s a trip to the doctors for you. Ugh!
Answering the Telephone
“What a ridiculous fear!”, I hear you cry. Ha, yes, perhaps it is, but I know I’m not alone in this. There is nothing more frustrating than receiving a phone call from someone and not having the slightest idea of what the person on the other end is trying to tell you.I have been studying Japanese for some years, but I have learnt never to answer the phone. The last time I did a few months ago, I ended up in tears. I knew it was something important to do with setting up my WIFI in my house. However, due to complete lack of understanding I had to get a Japanese friend to call the company back for me.
It may sound silly, but little things we take for granted in our native countries can leave you feeling completely helpless and lost if you try to do it abroad. I think it’s more to do with the loss of independence rather than the actual phone itself. Face to face communication is always so much easier. You can gesture and draw pictures to help get your point across.
Constant Fear of Natural Disasters
One again, coming from England, I am not used to experiencing earthquakes, tsunamis, or typhoons. I am now at high risk from all these things living by the Pacific Ocean. Upon my arrival to Japan I was immediately made to attend a seminar on something called the “Nankai”. The Nankai is a mega earthquake expected to hit the area I live in sometime over the next thirty years.
I live in constant fear of this happening. Every time I feel a little tremor or see that somewhere nearby has had an earthquake, I can’t sleep properly for days. If the Nankai were to hit whilst I’m living in my current house, the tsunami would kill me within minutes. Fingers crossed it holds out for another few years…
Any other ex-pats out there with phobias too? I would love to hear that I’m not alone! Let me know in the comments below!