We talk with our pal from Nepal about moving to Japan.

In terms of sheer numbers Japan remains predominantly ethnically Japanese, but proportionally, the country’s population has been growing more diverse year by year. One member of the growing demographic of foreign-born Japanese residents is friend of SoraNews24 Ramu.

Ramu grew up in his native Nepal, but an interest in Japanese culture and language led him to enroll in a study course in Japan after completing Nepalese university. Now a student with a part-time job in Kyushu, Ramu recently shared with us five things that have surprised him about living in Japan, and one thing that’s been a disappointment.

Surprise #1: The food

Ramu is constantly impressed by the sheer variety to be found in the Japanese diet. Not only do traditional dishes incorporate a wide range of meats, vegetables, and different types of fish, all manner of seasonings and cooking styles are used, with fried, grilled, and stewed dishes often eaten together in the same meal. Add in Japan’s enthusiasm for international cuisine, and having to make a tough choice between multiple mouthwatering options is a common, and welcome, problem when living in Japan.

Surprise #2: The Shinkansen

Ramu says that in Nepal, the train network is sparse enough that it’s not really a viable option for getting around. But here in Japan, not only are there convenient trains everywhere, but there’s even the ultra-quick Shinkansen bullet train for long-distance rail rides (just make sure you make a special reservation if you’ve got a large suitcase).

Surprise #3: The safety

“There are a certain number of dangerous people in every country,” Ramu says, “but in Japan, I think that number is especially low.” Not that Ramu feels like Nepal is a particularly unsafe place, but he still finds it nice that you can walk around pretty much any part of Japan at any time of night without much apprehension that you might become the victim of a crime.

Surprise #4: Sorting trash

“In Nepal, we don’t really have to do much sorting of different types of trash when we’re throwing them out,” says Ramu. Japan, though, has long required residents to separate their garbage into several different categories, with multiple classes of recyclables which get picked up on different days. Even when out and about, there are different trash canisters in Japan for ordinary junk and bottles and cans from the country’s ubiquitous vending machines.

Surprise #5: The ocean

While Japan does have a handful of landlocked prefectures, it’s an island nation, and compact enough that no matter where you are, you’re never so far from the coast that it’s out of range for a day-trip. With Nepal having no coastline, Ramu had never seen the ocean up-close until he moved to Japan, and says he was thrilled when he finally got the chance.

However, Ramu also mentioned one thing that’s been a disappointment about Japan: the mountains are tiny.

That might sound surprising at first, given that the most famous symbol of Japan is a tall mountain: Mt. Fuji. Still, while Fuji’s 3,776-meter (12,388-foot) peak is higher than any other point in Japan, it’s not much of a match for the 8,848-meter-high peak of Mt. Everest, or many of the other prominent rises of the Himalayas.

All in all, though, Ramu is enjoying his life in Japan, and feels like he really made the right decision in coming here, and while it’s too bad about the mountains, beach weather is right around the corner.

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Insert images: Pakutaso (1, 2), SoraNews24, Pakutaso
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