Comic artist Evangeline Neo spent four years studying in Japan, between 2010 and 2014. During this time, she noted a lot of cultural differences between Japan and her country of origin. This is what inspired the following hilarious comic strips about these vast, and often shocking, differences.
“I hope my comics will help more foreigners like myself understand Japan and the Japanese people better, as well as increase awareness about some changes in behavior we might have to make when we visit,” Eva writes via Bored Panda.
Eva spent time studying abroad in the US, which helped influence some of her comics as well.
Between 2012 and 2015, Eva produced over 300 different illustrations – and what follows are among the most beloved by her thousands of followers.
Her popular webcomics feature her imaginary pets, Kopi the dog and Matcha the cat.
1. Tips Around the World
Literally tipping is always a debate in the US – is it fifteen percent, is it twenty percent? Is it rude to leave just ten percent?
2. The Noddle Slurp
3. Gotta love the clean toilets in Japan
4. Picking Up Your Trash, and Other People’s Trash
5. Fruits in Japan are Wildly Expensive
Fun fact: fruits in Japan are insanely expensive. A melon that cost $2 to $3 in the US might cost as much as 2,000 yen (over $18 USD)! In some stores, a Musk melon can cost as much as 10,000 yen – that’s $100 USD! These sky-high prices make fruit a luxury gift in Japan.
Bananas and pineapples are some of the only inexpensive fruits.
6. Station Masters
7. Taking Baths
“Japanese enjoy taking hot baths too, especially hot spring baths. (monkeys are there for humor, you won’t get to dip with any, sorry!)”
8. Friendly Service vs. Golden Silence
9. Not All Curry is Created Equal
10. Once again, gotta love those clean toilets in Japan
“The toilets are always wet in Malaysia and there’s always no toilet paper,” writes Eva.
11. Japan is overrun with vending machines, even where life doesn’t seem to exist
12. The Last Stop
“If you fall deep asleep on the bus in the US, it may be your last stop…”
Japan is considered a safe country, with fewer homicide cases per 100,000 people than the US, Britain, Taiwan, South Korea, and China.
13. You can’t always judge a book by its cover
14. Eating KFC on Christmas is a Real Thing
Over the last four decades, KFC has managed to turn itself into a Christmas tradition in Japan. It all started in 1970 with the introduction of the Christmas “party barrel,” inspired by the elaborate American turkey dinner.
According to the BBC, an estimated 3.6 million Japanese families eat KFC during the Christmas season. Millions of people will wait in long lines to order fried chicken and carry on the tradition. Your best bet is to pre-order your Christmas KFC meal.
15. There’s no silencing your smartphone camera in Japan
In Japan, you cannot turn off the camera shutter sound due to privacy concerns, as well as to prevent people from taking “upskirt” photos.
16. Exiting the Train
17. Tattoos in Japan vs Other Countries
“If the tattoo is small, it can be covered with plaster to enter into the public bath houses or swimming pool.”
18. The Elderly Stay Very Active in Japan
Fun fact: Japan is home to the longest life expectancy, with men living an average of 79 years and women living a little over 86 years.
19. Kids After Finishing Their Food in Japan Vs. Singapore
20. The Seven Wonders of Japanese
21. Stairs of Death
22. Train Etiquette
This one is important to note!