All About Japan

Things We Wish We Knew Before Moving to Japan

Food & Drink Trains Shopping Video First Time in Japan Life in Japan

American/Japanese couple Rachel & Jun have built up quite the fanbase vlogging about their life in Japan (occasionally even partnering with Grace at our very own Texan in Tokyo).

This time Rachel teams up with Sharla from Sharla in Japan to list off the things they wish they'd known before moving to Japan.

The list includes the simple, like the unexpected heat and humidity of the summer to the simplicity of using prepaid train cards over buying individual tickets (just be aware that the same card won't necessarily work everywhere in the country).

There are also practical tips about bringing your own personal care products and tracking down thrift stores, and while the girls say there are no general bargain shops, you'll find that Seiyu is actually owned by Wal-Mart, and has a comparable selection on a smaller scale.

On the cultural side, Rachel has a great story about the confusing use of "irrashaimase," which you'll hear every time you walk into a store, and the girls' general note about service inflexibility is pretty much spot-on.

We will add the caveat, however, that a certain All About Japan editor regularly orders McDonald's hamburgers without pickles and onions, and they've never batted an eye—they even have a button for it. So it really depends on the shop and the specifics of what you're asking for.