By Yui Banno and Saki Nakano
There are so many differences between Canada and Japan.
As students here, this article might surprise you of just how different things are, at least for us, and you might just learn something interesting form our perspective on Toronto.
As well, you’ll get a chance to see just how different we are too.
Japanese are known as some of the most hard-working people in the world, and most believe that holidays are a great time to make a little extra money from customers. Torontonians work just as hard as we do, but there are few stores here that stay open on statutory holidays or that are open 24-hours a day.
With the exception of major stores like Metro, many Japanese people in Toronto often wonder why most establishments are closed on days like Sunday. Students in Japan often work for businesses on Sundays or on special day such as Christmas. It’s very interesting difference.
Japanese students often come to North American to learn English as it is a common language around the world. Even with a short term of education completed, English is still a very difficult language to learn and use while in Toronto.
Canadian students have to study French as a second language as well, which for us would be really difficult for us to learn. It is common to find a lot lot of people who are bilingual or trilingual because of people who have a mother language other than English. This is a very multinational country, and one that can speak a lot of different languages.
Have you ever found a public washroom in Canada? We know what you likely found inside… yuck.
It is unusual to find public washrooms here; however, it is easy to find a washrooms anywhere in Japan. In case that you can’t find one, you can always go to some coffee shops or convenience stores. But there are few cases you can use a washroom in Toronto unless you are a customer.
There are trash cans everywhere in Toronto, yet you don’t always see trash inside of them. In Japan, it is prohibited by law to put trash cans outside since anyone could just throw away dangerous substances from acids to explosives.
In Canada, we find garbage cans and garbage bins on every street. It means Toronto’s streets are cleaner, though if you take a look all of those black dots on the pavement in downtown Toronto is a piece of gum. Yuck. This is also big difference between Canada and Japan.
How do you get where you want to go in Toronto? Some Canadian cities are organized in a grid pattern just like Kyoto in Japan. That is why you can find your way around easily. However, for people who have just arrived for the first time getting to your destination without getting lost means having to navigate a labyrinth.
For example, even in Japan underground tunnels are common. In Toronto, The Path is often cited as being difficult to navigate and that makes it hard to get from one place to another during the cold months of the year. In Japan, there are many signs to help direct travelers and Toronto could use a few more.
The new year is the most famous event in Japan, and it’s called “Osyougatu”. Most Japanese spend this time with their family and we usually have a three-day holiday whether there are public holiday or not.
But new years is just one day in Canada and most Canadian are working the next day. We can say a new year is as same as the Christmas here.
Canadian clothes is simpler than Japanese fashion. In addition, Canadians are also very brand-conscious.
Japanese clothes have a lot of patterns, frills, ribbons, and so on. Cute styles are popular among young people and they enjoy coordinating their clothes everyday. They also like mini- skirt in winter. Young people endure a lot of experimentation for fashion.
In Japan, there are a lot of strict rules for store clerks. For example, greeting and bowing.
A bow’s angle is a precise measurement meant to show utmost respect. Customers have to greeted with a bow and good smile. Japanese clerks often practice greeting and bowing before working. In addition that, clerk usually use two hands when changing money. It is demand that clerk be polite to customer. This is famous word for this in Japan is, “Smile is free”. Many Japanese might not be used to how Toronto store owners greet them with a glance rather than a bow.
In Japan, trains, subways, and buses have an exact schedule. So, when they don’t come on time, people get a little angry.
In Canada, they have a schedule, but rarely is it followed to the second. As well, in Japan we can use Wi-Fi networks in the subway in Japan, but we can’t use them in Canada, platform also. So when we take the subway, we can’t make contact with our friends or watch YouTube videos!
There are a lot of small and big festivals in Toronto. In our view, guests make the festival’s atmosphere grow through their enthusiasm. They clap their hands and whistle and shout with joy no matter what during Toronto festivals.
In Japan, the leader helps festival goers express their enthusiasm. Guests are often passive. So, it depends on the leader whether the festival succeed or not. As well, Japanese festival mostly take place in summer and we get to see great fireworks for about 1 hour.
In Toronto, we can’t drink alcohol outside and can’t smoke inside by law. In Japan, we can drink alcohol inside and outside, so, we also enjoy drinking while looking at the moon, walking past cherry blossom trees, and so on.
There is even a space where we can smoke in every city, facility, restaurant and café. We can smoke inside of our home, but usually with a window open. In Toronto, smoking is looked down upon due to health concerns, but in Japan it is normal that people drink and smoke openly.
These are just a few of the differences we have noticed during our time here in Toronto. If there are any other big differences between Toronto and Japan feel free to comment below and let us know.