There’s no doubt Japan has a unique culture, the subtleties of which became increasingly obvious the longer I lived in Tokyo. Its uniqueness is just as apparent in the competitive swimming world as any other; Japanese clubs develop their huge depth in the sport by requiring children to master perfect stroke technique before they are allowed to advance to the next level. Within this rigid structure are plenty of cultural quirks, like bowing to the pool to show respect before and after a race.
Cultural nuances in the land of the rising sun have little regard for outside norms; Japanese people do things their way, with precise method that they never stray from. Although adjustment was a bit of a process, I became accustomed to Japanese life over the better part of the past year. I’m already missing some of the small things now that I’m back in Canada for the summer. Here are 10 of them, in no particular order.