Life in Japan: What Japan Needs from Canada

Having lived in Japan for ten years, there are quite a few things from Canada I don’t have access to at all.  Occasionally, I’ll be able to eat a real hot dog in Costco, find Marmite in Union, and A&W Root Beer in Carnival, but there are some things that are impossible to find here. This week’s question comes from stomperdad.

Besides family, what do you miss about Canada that you wish Japan had?

Most of things I miss are food.  There are a lot of similar fast food restaurants here, such as McDonald’s, Subway, and Burger King, but what I really want isn’t available here.

Harvey's burger and fries.
Harvey’s burger and fries.

I always loved going to Harvey’s. The ability to customise your burger is missing from fast food places in Japan.  And eating a Harvey’s hamburger was so satisfying.

I’m not a big fan of pizza, since I don’t like pizza sauce or tomatoes, but I loved getting pizza from Panago. Again, you can customise the entire pizza. It’s just absolutely wonderful.

Although you can get KFC here in Japan, the fries are totally different. I miss the fries and gravy from Canada.

And speaking of fries, I really want New York Fries and gravy, and maybe even poutine.

Moving away from the restaurants and into general food, I miss pepperoni (what we get here in Japan is incredibly hard and it’s called spicy salami), affordable cheese, Cheez Whiz, dill pickle potato chips, salt and vinegar potato chips other than Pringles, raspberries, saskatoon berries, and bacon. You can get bacon in Japan, but what’s here is thick and never crispy. I really want crispy bacon! I also miss Canadian Chinese food. What’s here is good, but I think it’s better in Canada.

Other things include using a debit card (Japan is cash-based), efficient banks, 24 hour ATMs (they close for the night in Japan), and roads that are easy to drive on. I also miss being able to watch NHL games on TV. Can’t get them here at all.

I’m sure there’s more, but this is what I can think of at the moment.

If you have any questions about living in Japan, please see the original post and leave your questions in the comments.


12 thoughts on “Life in Japan: What Japan Needs from Canada”

  1. Interesting. I would have guess that as technologically advanced as Japan seems to be, their banking would be more automated. No 24 hour ATMs, cash based transactions, and inefficient banks really surprises me. There must be a logical reason other than “behind the times”.

        1. there is a commission cost paid by the business to using credit/debit cards. here in uk the cost is passed on to customers by across the board increases, so u pay it whether u pay with cash or with card. i think in japan anyone who pays with card will find an extra charge added on , whilst with cash there is no extra charge. that might explain why credit/debit cards are not popular. its just my theory, which will all fall down if there is no extra charge imposed when u pay by cards. haha.

          1. Ahh. That makes a bit of sense. I think it’s that way here in Canada too. There’s a fee to pay with debit/credit which is passed on to the customer. I guess if I were offered to save a buck or two or three with every transaction I made I’d pay with cash as much as I could.

        2. Reluctant to change, mostly. And it’s very easy to commit fraud with the lack of use of signatures. It’s very simple to just use someone else’s name stamp to withdraw money from their account.

    1. No, Japanese people are incredibly stubborn and slow to change when it comes to procedure. They may have ATMs in banks, but they use paper when dealing with any transaction with the bank teller. And they use a lot of paperwork. It takes a long time for them to do anything. Government is the same. They stick to the old ways because they’re resistant to change.

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