Are there ever times when you feel really glad to have been born where you were? Maybe you’ve felt that way during a holiday, or while eating your favorite local food, but regardless, most of us have had those moments when we’re just plain thankful to be a citizen of a particular country.

Internet portal Mynavi Woman was curious to learn the specific situations and things that made Japanese people happy to be Japanese, and so in typical Mynavi fashion they opened up an internet survey in July to find out. Those results are finally in, and we’re happy to present to you the top 10 things that made Japanese respondents feel lucky to be nihonjin!

The Mynavi survey compiled survey results from 662 Japanese respondents, both male and female, who ranged in age from 18-77 years old. The first question on the survey was a simple yes or no question as follows:

Q: Has there ever been a time you thought, “I’m glad to be Japanese!” in your daily life? 

Yes: 428 people (64.7%)
No: 234 people (35.3%)

When asked to provide details about the specific circumstances that made them feel that way, the following list came to light. Which of the items below particularly surprised you or didn’t surprise you at all?

1. Japanese food: 159 people

“I often think “I’m glad to be Japanese” when I’m eating sushi and other Japanese foods.” (30-year-old, female)

“Nothing beats eating Japanese food and washing it down with some Japanese sake!” (29-year-old, female)

“I thought so when eating delicious white rice.” (30-year-old, male)

As the hands-down winner, it seems like Japanese people especially appreciate their country’s culinary achievements. And you can’t really argue with them–Japanese national cuisine is darn delicious, enough so that it actually received UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage status. Even if you’re not a big fan of the raw fish thing, you’re bound to find something in the country that tickles your taste buds.

▼Delicious to eat, and not hard on the eyes, either.


2. Public order and safety: 74 people 

“I can sleep on the train in peace, and even if I walk alone at night, it’s not as dangerous as it is overseas.” (23-year-old, female)

“I think this from a service and public order standpoint every time I go overseas.” (27-year-old, female)

“I feel safe when I walk alone at night.” (28-year-old, male)

Two of the main things that I miss most about living in Japan are the relative peace of mind I felt when going somewhere late at night as well as when leaving my bike unattended in the street without fear of it being stolen. Also, there’s virtually no shoving or jostling when lining up–everyone patiently waits their turn. If only all ‘civilized’ societies would follow their example…

▼Even in massive crowds like this, there is hardly any misconduct.


3. Clean toilets: 27 people 

“Almost all of the public toilets here are impeccably clean.” (36-year-old, female)

“I [feel glad to be Japanese] when I use the toilet. Japanese toilets are the most hygienic in the world!” (44-year-old, male)

Toilets can really make or break it, as anyone who’s had a less than enjoyable bathroom experience while traveling abroad can attest to. Slightly intimidating Japanese squat toilets aside, a good number of Japanese toilets are equipped with all kinds of other functions which you can play around with while going about your business.

▼The high-tech toilets also come with other snazzy features, like a bidet!


4. Onsen [hot springs]: 25 people 

“Definitely the onsen culture.” (31-year-old, female)

“Whenever I can relax at an onsen.” (25-year-old, female)

A trip to the onsen is the epitome of a relaxing vacation. Most traditional Japanese-style inns include onsen on their premises, and often you can pay an entrance fee to use the bath during the day without having to stay in an expensive room overnight. Northern Japan in particular is famous for its abundance of natural onsen–just check out our Japanese correspondent’s recent trip to one which he argues is the best in the entire country!

▼Hey ladies (and men): how would you like to soak in a luxurious rose onsen?


5. Four distinct seasons: 19 people

“Whether it’s hot or cold, I feel like it’s Japan.” (26-year-old, female)

“We can enjoy many seasonal foods during different times of the year.” (30-year-old, female)

This item depends of course on where you live in Japan, but for the most part you’ll be able to experience four distinct seasons while living anywhere on the main island of Honshu. Where I once lived in the northern Yamagata Prefecture, the summers and winters are long while the springs and falls are short, but I could still feel the changing of seasons nonetheless. Many important Japanese holidays and festivals are inextricably tied to a particular season, so you’ll never get bored with all the unique customs each month has to offer.

▼Sometimes the weather confuses itself and we get to see stunning sights like this one of cherry blossoms and snow together.


6. Good manners: 16 people

“The fact that people line up and are polite.” (30-year-old, female)

“How everyone cooperates and has good manners.” (30-year-old, male)

From the bowing to the complex politeness language to their incredible sense of hospitality, Japanese people are well-known for their etiquette and polite manners, as respondents to the survey were quick to acknowledge. This commendable aspect of the culture is instilled into children at a very young age, and there are strict consequences for students who break the rules, as anyone who’s spent some time at a Japanese school can say. If only I had 10 yen for every time a student was rebuked for not saying “excuse me” as they entered the teacher’s room…

▼Proper manners aren’t limited to only maiko and geisha, but the majority of the population as a whole.


7. Tatami: 14 people

“I feel lucky to be Japanese whenever I lie down in a Japanese-style room with tatami flooring.” (30-year-old, female)

Tatami mats are uniquely Japanese, and although they appear to be losing ground to ordinary Western-style floors, there’s at least a small number of people who still prefer the traditional to the modern. Several survey respondents also noted how much they like the smell of freshly laid tatami mats.

▼There’s something charming about sitting down to eat in a traditional tatami mat room.


8. Anime and manga: 12 people

“Japan has many top-quality anime and manga titles that anyone can enjoy.” (26-year-old, female)

There’s no denying that many, but not all, foreigners are introduced to Japan through its explosion of modern popular culture, whether that be manga, anime, video games, J-Pop, or J-dramas. As some of the country’s biggest cultural exports, popular anime and manga have even shaped generations of children living in other countries. It’s no wonder that Japanese people feel proud to live in the country that produced some of the most recognizable pop culture icons of all time, from Hello Kitty to Super Mario!

▼I’m personally going to have to go with these little gems–if not for them, my life would probably have taken a very different course!


9. Heated toilet seats: 7 people

“I’m glad to be Japanese whenever I sit down on a heated toilet seat.” (28-year-old, female)

Again…it’s those toilets! Foreigners can only sigh in envy as they hear stories about the miraculous wonders of this veritable throne. Many toilet lids come equipped with a heating function, which I can say from personal experience is most welcome during those frigid winter months in homes with less than miraculous insulation.

▼Another heated joy in the winter are kotatsu tables. Just be warned–get all your chores done first, because once you get under that blanket, you’ll never want to come out again.


10. Konbini [convenience stores]: 5 people

“The services offered at Japanese convenience stores are truly the best and most convenient.” (25-year-old, female)

We here at RocketNews24 are big fans of the Japanese konbini. No matter where you are in Japan, a trip to the nearest convenience store is most likely just a short walk away. 7-Eleven, Lawson, FamilyMart, Sunkus…the list of their names goes on and on, but every street corner seems to boast at least one of them, and sometimes two. Also, you can do practically anything at a konbini, including buying high-quality bento and paying your bills–they really live up to the title of convenience stores. I stopped at a konbini almost every day after work to pick up odds and ends missing from my apartment. Heck, even the Dalai Lama visited one during his trip to Japan!   

         ▼In addition, the prevalence of vending machines comes in handy more often than you’d think.


Other less common survey responses included:

  • “Elevators rarely break down.” (30-year-old, female)
  • “Tap water is safe to drink, and water is free at restaurants.” (27-year-old, female)
  • “I can try the food of many different countries while living in Japan.” (25-year-old, female)
  • “Even if I don’t have much money, I can still manage to get by.” (40-year-old, female)
  • “Public transportation usually arrives exactly on schedule.” (23-year-old, female)
  • “There’s no conscription in Japan.” (22-year-old, female)
  • “There are many different varieties of Japanese, and multiple nuances in the speech.” (25-year-old, female)

To tell you the truth, I’m a bit surprised that none of the respondents mentioned anything about matsuri, or festivals. The fun atmosphere of a Japanese matsuri with all the food stands, games, crowds of yukata-wearing people, and depending on the season, a parade and/or fireworks, is one of my favorite aspects of Japan. If I were Japanese, I would definitely count myself lucky to be able to experience an endless number of matsuri year after year.

What are some examples of things that make you thankful to be a citizen of your own country? Let your thoughts flow in the comments below!

Source: Niconico News
All photos © RocketNews24