Differences between Canada & Japan


 Differences between Canada & Japan

Written by Natsumi Matsumoto, an intern at Lloyds Travel


It has been a month since I arrived in Canada, and in that time, I have found many differences between Vancouver and Japan that have influenced my perspective. 

Little differences

As a Japanese person, I have noticed these little differences whilst living in Canada:

  • People in Canada love the sunlight. When the weather gets very good in summer, people head off to parks, beaches, or their decks/balconies. There are tons of beautiful places to get sunshine!
  • People in Canada call more than people in Japan. Texting is more common than calling in Japan.
  • There are two ways to hang toilet paper in Canada, over and under. In Japan, it’s 100% over. 
  • Paying by card is so common in Canada, while Japanese people rarely use card and instead pay with cash.
  • Bikes are considered vehicles in Canada and I see many people riding mountain bikes. In Japan, riding a bike is regarded as pedestrian. The most common type of bike is called a “mamachari” which was traditionally designed for a mother’s use.

Environmentally Friendly 

The first thing I realized is how environmentally friendly the whole country of Canada is. Separating and sorting garbage has taken root in people’s lives. For example, it’s even common to separate compost, plastic bags, thrift clothes, and reusable containers from general garbage. There are also more stores that offer sustainable, eco-friendly products than in Japan.

In addition, the consideration of micro-plastic is advanced in Canada. Microbeads are small plastic particles used in a variety of personal care products including soaps, shampoos and toothpastes. Ranging in size from 10 micrometers to less than 1 millimeter, microbeads can’t be filtered out by water-treatment systems, and therefore end up in lakes and rivers. In Canada, importing any toiletries containing micro-beads was banned on 1 January 2018 and sales were banned from 1 July 2018.

In Japanese we use the expression “mottainai” which means “what a waste”. We try not to waste everything. We don’t buy extra foods or otherwise we have to throw them away. However, we tend to overpack as we think that is more polite and we like to emphasise cleanliness. Overall, I think people in Japan are less focused on the environment than in Canada.

Multicultural & Multinational

The second thing I have noticed is how friendly Canadians are. I knew Canada was multinational, but when I came to the country, I was surprised and excited at the same time. Thanks to this multiculturalism, there are lots of cuisines from different countries and each of them is the real taste of the country. Another thing is the whole city is designed for people who have disabilities. I noticed this during a bus ride. However crowded the bus is, people with wheelchairs or strollers are welcomed by everyone. I have seen many people give their seats to older people. All the people are combined nicely. Japanese people are also kind to others but since Japan is a very homogenous society, we tend not to interact as much with others. 


…to be continued.


For information on organising a trip to Japan, please email travel@lloydstravel.com or contact your favourite Lloyds Travel agent! Check out our current trips here.