If you happen to have studied in Tokyo, Japan from 2010 onwards, you would have experienced quite a shock from the cultural differences that exist between your country and Japan. Evangeline Neo (a.k.a. Evacomics) had that experience and hence began creating comics about the Japanese and their way of life. The comic artist hopes that she can shed more light on Japanese culture and behavior, as she tries to increase her own understanding of them, as well.
Between the years 2012 and 2015, Evacomics has created over 300 comic strips and posted them on her Facebook page. She has also published compilations of these comics into two books: the “Eva, Kopi and Matcha” and “Eva, Kopi and Matcha 2.0.” You can find these books on Amazon, as well as on other eBook platforms such as Google Books, Kindle, iBooks, and Kobo.
From her rich compilation of comics, here’s a sample of 50 illustrations of cultural differences that you might find really entertaining.
1. Super Clean Toilets
2. No Required Tips and Service Charge
3. When Eating Noodles
4. Train Station Masters
5. Taking Care of Your Own Trash — As Well As Those of Others
6. Bath Experience
7. Japanese Service
9. Fruits (and Their Price)
10. The Train’s Last Stop
11. When Celebrating Christmas
It’s quite strange that Japanese Christmas celebrations are filled not with ham and turkey, but with KFC!
12. Presence of Vending Machines
You can find vending machines everywhere (almost). Strangely, you can even spot vending machines in the remotest of places — where no human beings seem to reside.
14. State-Of-The-Art Toilets
15. Smartphone Cameras
In Japanese smartphones, there’s no way to turn off the camera shutter sound. This is due to privacy policies against the upskirt taking of photos.
17. When You Get Off The Train
18. Kids After A Meal
19. The Seven Wonders of the Japanese
20. Active Elderly
21. Etiquette In Trains
In small train stations, you’ll find only a few escalators. There are a lot more staircases for passengers to use.
24. Office Toilet
Before deciding to leave Japan, Eva had an interview with a Japanese company. She went to the ladies toilet, and there she saw something interestingly unusual. There was this nice-looking wooden locker cabinet. What’s more interesting is that the cabinet had small compartments, and the whole thing was mounted on the wall!
Yes, the Japanese are absolutely conscious about hygiene. To Eva, though, it was still quite surprising for her to see toothbrushes and other sanitary items inside the locker.
25. Golden Customer Service
26. When Japanese Speak English
27. Kids’ Behavior In Trains
This is one of the more obvious cultural differences between Japan and the rest of the world.
28. Sushi Rice
29. Designated Smoking Areas
30. The Hairdresser
31. When You’re Hiking
32. Bus Drivers
33. Muscle Training
Because there are more stairs than escalators and lifts in Japan, you can train your muscles quite well. Imagine taking care of all the luggage you need to carry up and down while you go from the train station to the airport or to the hotel.
34. Giving Way To People Who Really Need To Use The Elevator
35. Shinjuku Station
Good luck finding specific exits. Google maps have failed here.
36. Making Introductions
37. Accurate Weather Forecasts
38. Considerate Cyclists
39. Convenience Stores
Do you also resort to convenience stores when buying snacks? Strangely, it’s one of the places where the cultural differences between Japan and the rest of the world is really prominent.
Eva was quite used to going to convenience stores when she was in Japan. She bought cakes, vegetables, and Bento. Sometimes, when passing by the store section featuring adult magazines, she would wonder how might the customers and staff react in case she pretended to browse through the magazines.
Well, Evacomics was never able to make the plan a reality, as she wasn’t “brave enough.”
40. Promotion at Work
42. Comic Cons
It’s actually useful to recycle…
Some years ago, there was a significant food poisoning incident in Japan. Not wanting to be liable in case anything like that happens again, restaurants and caterers no longer allow takeaway of leftovers from dine-ins and buffets. On the other hand, Bento boxes are okay since they have expiration dates, plus you can find storage instructions right in the packaging.
45. Final Decision In Companies
Of course, the Japanese hold meetings so they can have a consensus. But, it’s also likely for them to fix the decision themselves and just let you know (as their employee) that this was their choice. You don’t get to discuss it with them.
46. Japanese Women At Shibuya
47. Name Cards
Evacomics had friends who shared their real experiences about Japanese name cards to her. Yes, the CEO needs to approve the name cards first!
48. Diagonal Crossing
After you’ve experienced Japan, you’ll never see diagonal crossings the same way again.
49. Drawing Sessions
Evacomics once attended a life drawing session that was held in Tokyo. When the organizers announced a break, everybody flipped his page. Apparently, the Japanese don’t like showing off or bragging about their work.
50. Rickshaw Pullers That Are Rather Dashing
Check out her book too!