日本の生活に慣れ親しんだ私達が海外に行くと、当たり前すぎて予想もしなかったことに不便さを感じてしまうことがあります。アメリカ留学経験者 Megumi が感じた日本との差を紹介しますよ。

When you get used to your lifestyle in Japan, things become so normal, that it doesn’t hit you until you don’t have it at the tip of your fingers. Megumi, who has studied in America, tells us about the inconveniences she felt living away from Japan.

-The inconvenience you face when living in the US- / -アメリカに住んでいて不便だな、と感じるとき-


It is not a surprise that Japan is one of the most convenient countries in the world. Transportation, getting food/drinks, exchanging money and so on…
When I lived in Seattle last year, as much of the convenience of the US that Japan did not have, at the end of the day I told myself, “wow. Japan is seriously the most convenient and safe country I know.” Allow me to introduce four points that I noticed was inconvenient when I was living in the US, and let me know what you guys think!



Transportation / 交通の便


Again, not a surprise that Japan has the most punctual, clean and the quickest transportation all over the country. You can take the bus or train and it will get you pretty much anywhere!




However, if you live in the US, you really need a car, or should I say, it’s more convenient to have one. American high school students go to school by their own car, while some of them go by school buses as well. It is common for teenagers to drive around the city or to school, so that it has become a culture that American’s are familiar with, to drive a car from a young age. I don’t want you to mistakenly think that you MUST have a car while you’re in America, because I did not have my own car. For a whole year, I pretty much survived traveling to places by train, bus and taxi. Although, I had a good friend who had a car and we went EVERYWHERE by car. America is a very big country, and sometimes you just need a car to visit a friend or family member. Here are times when you really need a car.

Going to the Mall モール(ショッポングセンター)に行きたい

Hiking/road trips with friends ハイキング・ロードトリップ

Going to a concert コンサートにいく

Grabbing a midnight snack at a drive thru ドライブスルーで食べ物・飲み物を買いに行く


When you have a lot of shopping bags or things to carry around, it’s more convenient to have a car. As for an exchange student, it was inconvenient when you couldn’t hop around trains or buses easily like you do in Japan. Also, since Japan is a very convenient country as a whole, you can pretty much buy and do anything around the area you live in. In America, if you want to buy clothes or any other necessities, it’s much more easier to do so at a Mall. Not all malls are in the middle of no where. Most malls are actually located in the downtown area, it’s the school that is usually located in the middle of no where. Unless, that is, if you’re going to an outlet mall, which is then usually located in the middle of no where.



Buying transportation tickets all the time! / チケットを毎回買わないといけない!


In Japan, we have the most efficient IT system in the world. Suica and Pasumo’s are IT cards that you charge money in advance and you just touch the ticket gate with it and you’re in! I had to buy tickets every time I wanted to go on a train. Also, you can only use cash for buses so that when you don’t have the exact change, it’s a hustle. But this all depends on the city you live in, because I do know that New York has their own Metro card, and California has a card system also.



Every body uses credit cards! / みんなカード支払い!


It is well known that America uses a lot more of credit and debit cards than Japan does. I’m glad that we don’t use credit cards that often because I won’t be able to manage my money that way. It was a surprise to me that the majority of college students had cards of their own to buy things. Since I was very used to splitting bills in cash with my friends at restaurants in Japan, I always had cash with me. However, I noticed that none of my friends paid in cash in America.



This is a phrase you hear often/これがよく聞くフレーズ;

Customer: Can you put the hamburger and strawberry shake on my card?
お客さん: ハンバーガーとストロベリーシェイクは私のカードに乗せてください。


It was common to see 3 credit cards or more on the same table when we paid.

Where are all the convenient stores?! / コンビニはどこ?!


If you live in Japan as long as I have, you see convenient stores on every corner. Most of the stores have anything and everything you need, so that when you are living alone or you just want something to eat for a snack, it is the go-to place. When I just need a bottle of water or a drink, I couldn’t figure out where to buy it. Keep in mind that America does not have any vending machines outside the streets either. The struggle was real…




Convenient stores in America are relatively unsettling to go into alone sometimes. It is definitely the opposite of clean and safe. Although, I have been to “7-eleven” a couple of times and it was actually clean and bright. I guess if the store is run by a Japanese company, it has to be…
(7/11, although currently is held by Japan, originated in Dallas, Texas. Along with Lawson, which originated in Ohio.)
However, to be fair, from a university students point of view, American colleges have convenient stores inside the school dorms. For example, the dorm I was living in had a store where you could buy basically anything from toothpaste to Ben&Jerry’s. But, if you go to the convenient stores in the neighborhood, you can only find foods that are fattening and filled with preservatives.

What were your inconvenient situations you had? / あなたはなにが不便でしたか?


These are the major inconvenience that came to my mind but how about you? Do you think Japan is on top of their game in terms of a convenient lifestyle? I certainly am used to living in the most convenient country in the world now, so it was a struggle once in while when I couldn’t get something cheap, safe and easy.
Let me know your thoughts on either Japan or America of when you thought something was inconvenient!