As an introduction to my upcoming posts on all that I ate in Japan, I thought It’d start with a list of 10 things I loved about Japan.

This was my second visit and I am certain there will be a third (soon!).

1. Convenient stores
They are ultra convenient, stocking everything from bento boxes to clear umbrellas.

2. Cuteness overload
There’s a definite appreciation of illustrated cartoon characters. The Japanese have even managed to make warning signs and road poles look cute!

3. Toys
There’s so much ingenuity! Amongst other things, I stocked up on 3D puzzles.

And picked up this adorable biscuit iPhone case!

4. Packaging
Everything is so logically and thoughtfully packaged. For example, this bowl of soba bought from a convenient store just needed to be microwaved! Then there were numbered steps which outline the order that each plastic film sheet should be removed at. There was one to keep the spring onion fresh and crisp, and another separating the noodles from the soup so that the noodles would still have a really nice bite and weren’t soggy.

5. Food
It is impossible to come across bad food in Japan. Even the least popular restaurants are considered a good feed by Sydney’s standards! I also reignited my love with their plastic food displays. WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) awesomeness.

6. Public transport
The timely accuracy and affordability of the subway system, plus the speed of the Shinkansen… CityRail should learn a few things!

7. Matcha-everything
Green-tea flavoured ice-creams, Kit-Kats, cakes, lemonades, lattes… I will never be able to get enough of this flavour!

8. Vending machines
There’s so much variety (and I’m not just talking drinks!)

9. Safety
When I travelled to Europe last year, the immediate response of most friends was to warn me about the gypsies and pick-pocketers. In Japan however, there was no need for money belts nor did we have to stay really cautious of where we were placing our cameras, etc. This meant we were able to travel by ourselves freely through day and night, exploring the back streets and more.

10. Car parking
Fully automated mechanical car parks. I didn’t get a chance to video it, but here’s one I found on YouTube:

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Jennifer is the founding blogger of I Ate My Way Through (originally, Jenius.com.au). Growing up in the multicultural melting pot of Sydney’s Inner West as a second generation Australian (of Vietnamese refugee parents of Teochew Chinese ancestry), Jen has always had a deep curiosity about global cuisines, culinary heritage and the cultural assimilation of immigrants. For Jen and her family, food is always at the centre of all celebrations, life events and milestones. A lover of the finer things in life, as well as cheap eats, her blogging ethos is all about empowering and inspiring people to expand their culinary repertoire. When not running her two companies (she is also the Managing Director of The Bamboo Garden online marketing agency), Jen can be found exploring old-world charms at vintage markets and delving into local eats around the world. She has a weakness for fried chicken.
  • I remember being mesmerised by the turntable parking thing! I just watched it over and over again…was awesome. Goodness I love Japan!

  • So very very true! The public transport system is amazing – not to mention the AWESOME food!

  • I’ve never been to Japan so I appreciate the opportunity to get a feel of the country through you eyes, Jen. Thanks!

  • OMG I wanna go to Japan!!
    *sigh* one day!

  • Japan has the coolest stuff! I can’t wait for the kids to grow up and I can go on a holiday with them there. I’m sure they will love it as much as I would. Oooooo but where are the photos of the desserts?? : )

  • i want to visit japan now, darn it!

  • I’m with you about the safety! It’s so good to travel without having to be on high alert all the time and split all your cash/cards in different places everywhere.
    Sighs – i miss the matcha-everything in japan!

  • Annie

    You lucky duck! Looks awesome. One of my gf is leaving for Japan via HK tonight (plus Shanghai in between). I am expecting lots of pics messages over the next 3 weeks

  • Totally agree with you – ahhh the memories

  • Loved this post! I’m living in Tokyo at the moment and totally agree with your top 10 list. Glad you had fun!

  • My husband’s been but I haven’t and he keeps recounting awesome details to me, including the ‘car stacker’ type car parking! I’m slightly more mesmerised by the green tea flavoured stuff, cute packaging and all that food =p

  • I want to go!!! That car park is so awesome! Can’t wait to read your future posts 😀

  • Lil

    You’re making me miss Japan! >

  • I SERIOUSLY want to go to Japan! It looks amazing- so much fun, and everything is sooo cute!!! Super cool. I’m sooo jealous! I’ll have to start saving!!

  • Glad to hear about the safety issue, I guess that is the main reason i get scared to travel :(. I want to go to japan!!!

  • I have yet to visit but I love the look of that green tea ice cream and the carparks. Must go, must go, must go!

  • I’ve always felt embarrassed to admit that the main thing that mademe fall in love with Japan when I visited was the convienence stores. Almost every kind of “restaurant” dish could be found there, and dear heavens did I ever act like a kid in a candy store. In fact, when I was by myself, I spent hours walking from one to the other buying a treat at each 🙂
    Also completely with you about the matcha treats! I was helpless in the face of anything that combined matcha and red bean 😀

  • Jen

    I know! It’s so amazing. Imagine that – no more manual reverse parking!

  • Jen

    I was just blown away by how reliable the public transport was! And nobody was ever in a rush… Unlike in Sydney, where we have to plan our train trips rigorously!

  • Jen

    My pleasure! 😉

  • Jen

    It’s the time to do it! Look out for cheap airfare!

  • Jen

    Definitely! I think Japan is as much of a playground for adults as kids!
    Dessert… Hmmm… I suppose I had way more savoury than dessert! 😛

  • Jen

    I wanna go again too

  • Jen

    Yeh, it makes the biggest difference! We were so relaxed about it.

  • Jen

    Sounds like she’ll be having the foodie’s trip of a lifetime! Japan plus HK plus Shanghai! Oh my! Jealous 🙂

  • Jen

    Loved your Kit Kat flavour reviews! I didn’t get the time to hunt them all down 🙁

  • Jen

    Thanks Sophia! I’m so jealous that you’re living there right now! I was thinking that I’d love to work there for a year or so… I’m sure you’re having the most amazing experience 🙂

  • Jen

    Hehehe… it’s not easy finding a holiday that has something for everyone! Your husband should take you there, it’ll be a win-win!

  • Jen

    I wanted to rent a car just to experience their car parks, LOL… but with the time constraints, I preferred eating… hehe

  • Jen

    Awww, time to re-visit perhaps!

  • Jen

    Yay! Hope your savings can get you there super soon 🙂

  • Jen

    I don’t think I’d ever travel to Japan alone though. My Japanese just isn’t good enough!

  • Jen

    It’s hard to resist isn’t it! I love everything about Japan!

  • Jen

    Ah yes, I’m guilty of spending way too much time at convenience stores too 😛

  • Lurve the nigiri puzzle – how adorable!
    Japan’s on my (ever growing) to do list, perhaps… 2013… :S

  • I LOVED Japan – it is such a beautiful, amazing country and I hope to return one day. I had too many favourite things to list them all, but one of the best would have to be the FOOD! Amazing, delicious food! Even the pre-packaged food in the mini-mart stores tasted fantastic. Let’s just say when I came home to Australia I couldn’t eat instant noodles anymore because they were just so gross compared to the food we’d been eating in Japan! Oh and dumplings – YUM! Damn now I really want to go back now!

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