I did my fair share of internet research before I came to Japan last August, but nowhere did I read anything that could prepare me for Japanese packaging.
First of all, there’s a lot of it. For a country that makes garbage sorting so difficult and that likes to conserve electricity and resources almost to the extreme, it came as a surprise when I bought a box of cookies only to have each cookie individually wrapped. The same goes for candies, chocolates, and any other food you can imagine. On the one hand, a quickly growing pile of wrappers is a great way to stop yourself from binge eating the entire box of cookies in one sitting. On the other hand, when you’re having a bad day and you just want to eat your cookies in peace, that’s a lot of wrappers!
However, the Japanese have at least made the wrappers incredibly easy to open. In fact, they’ve made everything easy to open, and I mean everything. Most packages are even labelled with “Open here!” No scissors required, just grab and pull!
Even CDs are easy to open (and we all know how impossible that plastic is to remove back home)!
They’ve even found a way to make cardboard shipping boxes easy to open!
Remember those awful Campbells aluminum cans that have to be opened with a can opener? Not in Japan – they all have pull-tabs on top!
And stickers, pens, gift bags, and all sorts of other stationary are sold in plastic pouches that can be easily resealed.
I had another ALT say to me once, “If you can’t open something in Japan, you’re doing it wrong.” Whenever I can’t open something, I reassess the packaging and, sure enough, I’m trying to open it wrong. I’m just worried that when I go back to Canada, I’ll never be able to open anything ever again (from the bags of chocolate chips I’ve gotten in care packages from home, I already know that I’m losing my touch)!