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Culture shock is a strange yet wonderful phenomenon. Nothing can really compare to the feeling of seeing a group of people doing something you never thought possible for the first time.

And sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you don’t get over it. American YouTuber Strawberry Mochi recently posted a video about the top five things Japanese people can do that she simply cannot. Do you share the same hardships as her? Watch the video and find out!

You can watch the video here, with highlights of each of the five items below:

1. Riding your bike with an umbrella

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Even though this recently became illegal in Japan, many Japanese people still do it anyway. Like Strawberry Mochi points out, personal cars are rarer in Japan than other countries, and when you have to go somewhere that’s too far to walk but too close to take a train, biking it is; even if it’s raining.

When I lived in Japan, I found myself stuck in similar circumstances many times, especially during the rainy season. I’ll admit I lived on the edge and tried riding while holding an umbrella, but it never lasted very long. I’d swerve and stumble and come close to falling into puddles, getting even more drenched in the process. All the while Japanese businessmen would ride past me with their own umbrellas out as naturally as if they were walking.

I swear there’s some Japanese magic in the air they’re breathing in that I’m not….

2. Wearing long sleeves in summer

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While this one is still hard for Westerners to assimilate ourselves to, it’s certainly understandable. Strawberry Mochi explains that it is healthier to cover up your skin during the sweltering heat, as you see people do in countries with temperatures that get dangerously high. Combined with the Japanese love of fair skin, you have a recipe for many women covering up when they go outside.

I myself have never personally tried this one, mostly because I am a sweating-machine. In the hot Okinawan summers, I would have to bring a change of clothes with me to work to change into as soon as I got there. Even after just a short five-minute walk, I was completely drenched. Of course my female coworkers would simply remove their “beekeper suits” and look fresh and ready to go. Jealous.

3. Not wearing sunglasses in the sun

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Some of the reason for this may be due to different-colored eyes being more or less sensitive to light, but perhaps an even bigger reason that Japanese people don’t wear sunglasses is because of the stigma behind them. Like tattoos, sunglasses are often mentally linked with yakuza members and other criminals, which most Japanese people don’t want to be associated with.

Of course, as foreigners, we get a free pass to rock our shades. We swear we’re not trying to scare anyone, we just don’t want to be constantly squinting and in pain.

4. Sleeping on trains

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This one seems really crazy the first few times you see it. A Japanese person gets on the train, sits down, promptly falls asleep, and then an hour or so later wakes up at the exact moment the train pulls into their station. And then you realize you missed your station two stops back even though you’ve been awake the whole time.

There are two possible reasons behind this, several commenters on the video point out. One, it may just be simple muscle-memory. After a few weeks of training, and with perhaps a few misses here and there, commuters simply train themselves to wake up on time. Or, two, the unique music for each station wakes them up. Many train stations in Japan have their own short jingle that plays when the train pulls in, so it’d be easy for the brain to form a subconscious connection.

Or it could just be that magic Japanese air again. My money’s on that one.

5. Slurping noodles

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This is a pretty well-known one, but no amount of planning can prepare you for when you finally walk into a ramen joint and you’re surrounded by dozens of Japanese people loudly slurping their noodles.

The first few times I entered a ramen restaurant thick with the sounds of slurping everywhere, I thought it was probably the worst eating atmosphere imaginable, but I got used to it after a while. What I never got used to was doing it myself, which I don’t think has made my ramen-eating experience any worse, despite what many Japanese people claim.

Of course many Japanese netizens were quick to point out that Strawberry Mochi is not alone in being unable to do these things. Even some of them found them impossible, despite having lived in Japan all their lives:

“I need sunglasses in the summer too. I mean, what else are you supposed to do if you can’t see?”

“Personally I don’t like listening to a bunch of old guys slurping their noodles either. Makes me lose my appetite.”

“We sleep on trains because if we don’t sleep then, we don’t sleep at all.”

So what do you think? Do you agree with Strawberry Mochi’s list? Would you add anything to it? Let us know in the comments!

Source: YouTube (Strawberry Mochi) via Kaigai Hannou Blog
Images: YouTube (Strawberry Mochi)