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After a week in China, one of our Japanese writers brought home a list of thoughts to share with us.

For many people, visiting different countries can result in culture shock when you encounter things you don’t quite expect. One of our Japanese-language writers who recently took a trip to China for the first time was astounded to find so many different that she wrote up a list of 50 things that surprised her.

Having visited Taiwan before, she thought she would be prepared, but Taiwan and China are two completely different countries. If you’ve traveled to China, see how many of these things you agree on with our intrepid writer. We have a translation of her comments below.

1. The airport and trains were cleaner and newer than the ones in Japan.
2. You can ride economy class on the maglev train.
3. I was excited by the train surpassing 300 kilometers per hour (186 miles per hour).
4. But the ride is shaky and bumpy, and I was worried about how they make a profit.
5. When riding the subway, usually there’s luggage inspection like at the airport.
6. But there are also places where you can pass through the gates freely.
7. Train fare is about 2 yuan (US$0.30)
8. I wasn’t sure if I should stand on the left side of the escalator or the right? It doesn’t seem like there’s an agreed upon side, and I didn’t understand what to do. [In Japan, the custom is to stand on the left side in Tokyo, right side in Osaka.]
9. There’s no such thing as smoothly lining up.
10. But there are people who queue up properly.
11. There’s no concept of “manner mode” (quiet mode) with cellphones.
12. In the trains, it’s very noisy and some people even watch videos without headphones.
13. No matter the car, there are always people doing that.
14. No one really seems to care though.
15. There isn’t anywhere you can’t use your phone.
16. One time I thought someone was yelling into their phone, but then the person laughed; it seems they weren’t actually angry.
17. There also don’t seem to be any places where you can’t smoke.
18. There are clerks who are smoking while you check out at the grocery store.
19. Middle-aged men seem to spit wherever they want.

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20. English is understood less in China than in Japan.
21. First year middle school English isn’t understood and people get impatient with you trying to speak English.
22. At tourist attractions there aren’t employees that speak Japanese.
23. And maybe because of that, Japanese people don’t often choose to vacation in China.
24. In the shopping district there are product demonstrations for drones.
25. Drones are slipping through the spaces between people’s heads as they walk by.
26. Restaurants generally close up at 10 p.m.
27. There are some extremely dim and gloomy restaurants
28. Some are so dark you can’t read the menu.
29. Since I couldn’t read it, I used the light on my smart phone.
30. You won’t get tired of eating soup-filled dumplings (xiaolongbao) at every meal.
31. Beer is served at room temperature.

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32. You can buy beer for about 100 yen ($0.81) at grocery stores and convenience stores.
33. I had no idea what was written on the menus.
34. I thought I was ordering ebi but I actually got shako (both are types of shrimp).
35. I learned about the deliciousness of shako for the first time in China.
36. The fried rice was abnormally delicious.

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37. My new phrase is, “This same fried rice would cost 1000 yen ($8.10) in Japan.”
38. People honk their car horns as often as they take a breath.
39. I didn’t have any idea why they were honking.
40. The walk/don’t walk signal is more like a suggestion for pedestrians.
41. Motorcycles and scooters go on the sidewalks.
42. Most of the time they don’t have lights and the riders aren’t wearing helmets.
43. Why is the Toyota Prius so quiet? When it appears right behind you, it’s really surprising.
44. Dogs are walked without leashes.
45. It was cloudy in Shanghai, and the tops of the skyscrapers were very hazy.
46. It felt like being in Midgar in Final Fantasy 7.

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47. Looking back at the trip, when I checked a map, I realized I didn’t really go anywhere.
48. The vastness of China blows me away.
49. No matter how many times I go to China, I can’t imagine that I’ll understand all of it.
50. China is a country that teaches you the massiveness of the world.

Not everyone will have the same experiences or go to the same places, but we’re sure some of you will agree with many of these points. There are positives and negatives to every trip, but we hope that those who have been or are going to China have great experiences!

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