Japanese culture has been hugely influential on the world at large for hundreds of years. From fashion to technology to storytelling, it’s pretty hard to miss the impression Japan has made on the world.
Japanese cars are everywhere, and Japanese food is so commonplace in the States that people can easily forget where it even really comes from. However, these things are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what Japan has to offer.
If you think you’ve seen everything there is to see from Japan, think again. These 16 Japanese innovations just might make you want to move the island nation yourself!
1. In Japan, you don’t need to join an expensive gym in order to get fit or stay healthy. Public exercise classes available for free happen all over the country. You can usually find them in public parks, schoolyards, and even inside offices!
2. Public transit is the primary way people travel in the big cities. You don’t need to be able to read Japanese to use it, either. These color-coordinated subway maps come with numbers and descriptions to help guide tourists who might not speak the language.
3. Going to the post office can be a real hassle, especially on those days when it seems like you have a neverending list of errands to complete. What to do? Well, in Japan, you can skip the post office and mail your packages and letters right at the grocery store!
4. There could be an entire list dedicated to the splendor that is 7-11 in Japan, but for now, you can drool over this brilliant innovation. Sealed cups of ice are available for purchase if you want to make iced coffee. How genius is that?
5. Another amazing 7-11 innovation that is too cool not to mention here? Free-to-use hot water dispensers for hungry people who are purchasing instant noodle bowls! Why wait to get home to enjoy those tasty noodles when you can do it at the checkout counter?
6. In Japan, there are countless walking and jogging paths set up adjacent to public parks. This makes it easy for people to change into their workout gear in a locker room, store their belongings, and go for a quick jog without any stress.
7. Who doesn’t love a hard-boiled egg? It’s a great snack full of protein and it’s perfect for folks on the go. But who has time to boil a giant batch of eggs? In Japan, they’ve done it for you, selling individually packaged hard-boiled eggs for the swamped snacker.
8. The Japanese have lots of ingenious ways to save valuable resources like water, too. Check out this sink built into the tank of a toilet. Not only does it look cool, but it saves water with every single flush.
9. In Japan, you don’t have to dress up and go out to eat at a fancy restaurant if you’re in a rush. Rather, you can just use their vending machine option at the front of the restaurant and take your delicious meal home to eat in front of the TV in your boxers.
10. Riding your bike is a great way to save energy and to stay healthy at the same time! In Japan, biking is made easier than ever—even in inclement weather. Most bikes come with built-in umbrella holders to help you stay nice and dry during your ride.
11. Communal baths, called sento, are a great way to unwind after a long and stressful day at the office. They are exceptionally popular here, and a ticket to enjoy the facilities often costs less than the price of a single drink out at a bar.
12. This idea is just total genius: butter graters! That’s right—rather than have to stress over spreading ice-cold butter on your toast, you can simply grate it for easy use. Need a hack to get the same effect at your home in the States? Try a cheese grater!
13. In Japan, you might see boxes like this all over the place. These umbrella holders offer free umbrellas for people to use in case of unexpected rain. Just grab an umbrella when you need one, and when you’re done using it, just drop it another box someplace else!
14. In some cities in the United States, it can be stressful to ride your bike around because parking is so scarce. Besides, someone could steal it! In Japan, they have an automated underground bike parking garage that keeps your ride safe until you come back to pick it up. Pretty cool, huh?
15. You’ll see this blue stuff everywhere during hot days in Japan. It’s cooling spray that comes right out of a can; it also comes in a gel form. You simply spray it on your arm, wrist, neck, or any other place that is overheated and it feels like you’re applying an ice pack!
16. Dispen Pak technology makes it beyond easy to access your condiments and sauces. The little packages open when cracked in the middle, making sure you get every single last drop of sauce without getting it all over your clothes. Plus, it looks cool, too!
How amazing are these everyday items? The best part is that they’re nothing too crazy; they’re simply thoughtful ideas to make your life a little bit easier. So, who else wants to move to Japan?
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