What the two have in common? – you will ask. Let me explain.
Traveling in Japan and living here are two completely different things. The day you get the keys of your own place you become subject to a number of written and unwritten rules that you had no idea about before.
One of the main nightmares for any foreigner in Japan is the recycling system. Yes, you’ve heard it right! We do sort garbage in Europe, you may say. Well… in Germany or Switzerland you may get somewhere close, in France you would be miles away from the Japanese norms.
First, you receive about 20 page book, all about how to sort the garbage. The challenge is not to get the right stuff to the right bin. The thing is that there is only one container, but each day you are supposed to take out different kind of garbage, all sorted, rinsed or washed, and packed in transparent bags. To give you an idea: to through away a plastic bottle, you have to separate cap and label (these go as plastics), rinse, dry and pack with other plastic bottles. As if it was not enough, you are supposed to bring out the garbage before 8 am on the right day, and for sure there will be someone watching you, just in case you mix the day or do some other random sorting mistake.
The first time I almost got heart attack having turned away from the container, when I saw this old men carefully watching my every step. Since then, I do that late in the evening, just to save my (and his) nerve cells. Shhhh… don’t tell anyone!
Knowing all this, would you want to cook at home? Honestly? Before taking anything at the supermarket, you start thinking what you will with whatever remains afterwards, and surely, adapt your eating habits.
When there is demand, supply appears, that’s simple economics. There are countless options to eat out, starting with any shopping mall with at least a dozen of different restaurants to choose from in each.
In many cases there are queues at the more popular places, so do expect to wait in line.
Eating out makes your life (munch) easier, it is good for national economy (revenue, taxes, jobs, etc), so at the end everyone seems to be happy. Maybe except those who really love cooking…