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.