What is the best part of living in Japan (from my Quora post–check the original question and answer by clicking here)?
This is a great question and it is very hard to provide an accurate answer when the country being discussed is Japan. As many of the other writers here have mentioned, Japan has so many incredible aspects that it is almost mission-impossible to point out “the best thing” about it.
If we gotta choose one element that makes Japan amazing, it gotta be its people. I have lived in 3 different countries besides Japan and I came to find out that Japanese people are simply the easiest to befriend (if you can speak the language). It is very hard to randomly meet someone in New York on a Saturday afternoon and: go out for lunch, get your Purikura taken, hit a Karaoke, have a small dinner at Yoshinoya and wrap the meeting at the local HUB, all on the very same day you just met the person. I have pulled out this feat at least 3 times near where I live in Osaka! Try doing that in Brazil, and you might be mugged (it is unfortunate that such a beautiful country can be so dangerous), in the US, and people might constantly doubt your intentions (what is this person trying to sell me?), in New Zealand, and you will run out of things to do…only in Japan there is enough of “big city” life and “public safety” to make this kind of thing work.
TRUST as key
In my opinion, the capacity to have these kinds of meet-ups I experienced here in Japan derives from the trust people here tend to place on each other—which I think is a characteristic unique to the Japanese people.
This characteristic can be best understood by looking at the yoroshiku expression commonly used by Japanese people. Usually used after meeting someone for the first time or when making a request, yoroshiku cannot be properly translated into English because of its many different nuances. It does come close to “I entrust such and such to you”—where such and such could mean a project/work-related issue, or someone’s wellbeing (when the case is after self-introduction, that would mean your own). This circle of trust built right from the get-go in Japanese relationships allows people to become more open to one another. This “I trust you, you trust me” backbone to most Japanese human relationships is what I believe accounts for their high level of hospitality and friendliness.
That isn’t to say that Japan does not have its problems when it comes to the same relationships. The tatemae vs honne culture that Japan is infamously known for is a problem that can plague most Japanese-foreigner human connections. However, if you are culturally enlightened enough to navigate around such issues, Japan will prove itself to be one of the best places to build some meaningful and long-lasting friendships.
People and trust: a combination of these 2 makes up the best part of this country.