Few months in the culture, I have had time to adapt to the Japanese up-in-the-mountain way of life. Here are some characteristics I have gotten more or less familiar with.
When you are tired, you sleep. No matter if you’re in a train, in the cafeteria, or in class. The library is open until midnight, and people often stay up until the wee hours of morning. In APU, the classes can last until 7.30 pm. No wonder students doze off – usually sleeping is very obvious and not even tried to hide.
Birthdays are celebrated at midnight, when the birthday is beginning, rather than bringing breakfast in bed like sometimes in Finland.
The word “party” usually making dinner with more than 2 people, rather than going drinking and/or dancing. Parties may also include games, activities etc. This came as a surprise to some of the exchange students in the beginning of the semester.
Other things I’ve noticed in APU:
Unlike in Europe, where perm is equivalent to the hottest of hot 80’s style, in Japan getting a perm is popular. At least in APU, that is.
The Japanese never say no. When they mean no, they can say maybe, a little… or even yes – in a special tone that is supposed to give the hint. Sometimes this can be a bit challenging/frustrating or even annoying. Or maybe I should learn to not say no?
The myth of the healthy Japanese diet has nothing to do with the substances people consume here. And by substances I mean the more or less processes products people fill themselves with throughout the day. Besides the polished rice, pasta is a big hit!
For most people, there is rarely such leisure as free time. If not in lectures, students go to their circles activities, do homework or prepare presentations etc. Also, the AP house residents are not that keen on leaving the house.