Many Italians are fashionable, cheerful, optimistic, and don’t care about details. There are many similarities between Japan and Italy, like an environment blessed by the sea, a “slender” land, and food culture that is highly regarded all over the world. How about the national character?
Today we talked with an Italian man who has studied in Japan, and with an Italian woman who has been in Japan for 2 years, about what shocked them when they came to Japan! (The following reflects only the opinions of the interviewees)
What’s happening? I was surprised by the “welcome!”
Let’s start with the man.
“In Japan, when you enter a store they welcome you. It may be normal for Japanese people, but foreigners may be surprised. If you don’t understand Japanese well, you may not know what you are being told. The first time I heard the loud ‘welcome’ I thought ‘did I do something wrong?’ (laugh)”
Whenever you enter a shop like a café or a conbini (convenience store), you are greeted with a “welcome!” When you leave, you are accompanied by a customary “Thank you!” This is part of the Japanese style of “hospitality.”
Did you know that it’s also effective in preventing crime? According to the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department's announcement, if you speak to them, people who might have ill intentions, might change their mind.
Fruits are cheaper in Italy, but quality is lower...
“In Italy, producing lots of fruit is important. You can get a lot for cheap. On the other hand, in Japan, the point is producing delicious and high-quality products. The experience of eating the famous Japanese apples for the first time is still unforgettable! But Italian tomatoes are the best!”
Japanese apples are not only delicious, but also large and beautiful. Although Japanese apples are a pride famous in the world, fruit consumption in Japan is declining. Such wonderful fruits are wasted.
Speaking of fruit, Italian tomatoes, called “golden apples” (pomodoro) are consumed at an average of 50kg/year per Italian person. In Italy it is customary to make tomato sauce in each household. But let’s continue talking about Japan.
Let’s now listen to the woman’s opinion.
Miso soup is the best! As for the ingredients, clam is the best
She likes Japanese food and especially miso soup.
"Miso soup with a light dashi stock is delicious. I particularly like miso soup with clams! We call it ‘vongole’ in Italy and it’s a familiar food.”
“Vongole pasta” is a classic dish in Japanese Italian restaurants. I don’t feel like the fashionable “vongole” and “asari” are the same, but it’s normal for anyone to feel comfortable with flavors from their home country.
Seasonal “festivals” are unique in every season!
“It’s interesting that there are various festivals in Japan in Spring, summer, Fall, and Winter. The hanami, the Summer Bon festival dance, and the snow festival. Travel anywhere, anytime, and there will be one. Italians love festivals too, so it’s great to have such a lively atmosphere.”
Just like in Italy, where music festivals and art festivals are held throughout the year, Japan, too, has historical seasonal festivals everywhere. The excitement at festivals is the same in Japan and Italy.
It was nice to hear about the good aspects of Japan from other people. I am glad that a lot of things that Japanese people take for granted impress foreigners who visit the country. I hope you will continue enjoying Japanese culture in Spring, summer, Fall, and Winter!
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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