Having lived in Japan for 20 years of my life and now living in Thailand, here are three of the main differences I have noticed. This time I will write from the Thai side, and in the future I will write from the Japan side…
One of the biggest differences between Japan and Thailand in towns and cities is the fact that Thailand has condos. What is the difference between an apartment and a condo anyway? Condominiums are similar to apartments except that a single person or corporation owns an apartment building, while a condominium is where individual dwelling units are owned by different individuals. … Condos are considered “residential”, whereas serviced apartments are considered “commercial”.
This is not the only difference though because in Thailand condos have pools(sometimes they have waterslides), gyms, often have convenience stores, and restaurants as well. It is not uncommon to see something like this, and compared to Japan, the rent is often two thirds less and you can get nice rooms for this. Great!
Another difference(and it is a good one too) is whether you go on a bus, a train, or a boat, there is always announcements in Japan saying please give your seat up for elderly people, pregnant women or those with disabilities. In Thailand there is almost no announcements, but nobody needs to be told. All people do this automatically, and also men almost always stand up for women. How chivalrous!
Sanuk is something that is deeply ingrained in Thai culture and it is one of my favorite things. In some ways it is the complete opposite of Japan – especially when it comes to being serious or when considering work life. Sanuk basically means fun… EVERYTHING must have this element of fun… in the office(Thais often smile and laugh), reading a book, looking for lunch on the way to work, watching a movie, listening to the radio, eating a meal… EVERYTHING! You must make sure your sanuk does not interfere with other peoples’ sanuk though.
I used to work for a big Japanese company in Bangkok. We would get lots of Japanese salarymen coming over on business trips and they would often have a look of confusion and sometimes open frowns or sometimes consternation on their faces when they came to the office because everyone always seemed to be chatting and laughing as they worked – it looked like the staff were having fun at work(and that’s because they were). It is not a bad thing, just a different way of doing things 🙂
There is a raucousness to sanuk, but also a deep caring and comfort. Something really can’t be sanuk if you’re alone – being around people, friends and family is what makes an experience sanuk. What is life if you cannot enjoy and have fun anyway – I think its a good philosophy to have!
座右の銘は「Never be afraid to always try new things and places, and enjoy life to its fullest.」