The ‘You Know You’re Living in the Japanese Inaka When…’ Quiz

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Happy slightly early New Year, Otaku Lounge readers! I’ve mostly been hanging out at home during winter vacation for a change, but since I’m still feeling pretty lazy regardless, I thought I’d go with something on the shorter and vaguely pointless side for my final post of 2014. Expect something a bit more substantial in a couple of weeks when I’m done hibernating and gorging on chocolate.

Now obviously, this quiz was created using an Extremely Complex and Highly Scientifical™ formula that took hours of rigorous labour to perfect. It is also 100% accurate and meant to be taken completely seriously.

You know you’re living in the Japanese inaka when…

… You never bother to lock up when you leave the house.
… There’s no train station in your town.
… You can’t leave town via public transport of any kind before about 7am or after about 8pm.
… If you miss the bus, you’re stuck waiting for at least another hour for the next one.
… You’re often the only passenger on it.
… You sometimes get the whole public bathhouse to yourself as well.
… It would take over an hour if you were to walk or cycle to the nearest convenience store or supermarket.
… Luckily, total strangers randomly giving you food is not an uncommon occurrence.
… ‘Dining out’ often necessarily entails hitting up the local Joyfull, Gusto, or other family restaurant chain.
… Which is also the closest thing you can get to fast food.
… You know what a mukade is and have a very legitimate fear of them invading your house. *warning, do not Google this unless you have absolutely no problem with creepy-crawlies, aka the spawn of satan.
… When you’re not at home, the postman either flags you down on the street or stops by your workplace when he’s got a package for you.
… But that’s fine, because everyone in town knows where you live anyway, even if you’ve never met them before.

If you answered in the affirmative to over half of these, then congratulations! You probably qualify as living in the Japanese inaka. If I was giving away prizes, yours would probably be a Joyfull drink bar voucher and an industrial-size can of bug spray.

Brief note: ‘Inaka’ is a Japanese word meaning ‘countryside’, and is very aptly written using the kanji for ‘rice field’ and ‘cottage’/‘hut’ (田舎). It’s often used by foreigners (particularly teachers) as something of a pejorative term that serves to highlight the lack of available shopping, nightlife, or general entertainment in the area – although incidentally, this quiz was made purely in the spirit of fun. Despite popular foreigner custom, I use the word with a lot of love and have come to adore my adoptive town… even if the average age of the population does probably happen to be over 60.

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15 thoughts on “The ‘You Know You’re Living in the Japanese Inaka When…’ Quiz

  1. Dammit, apparently I live in the Japanese Inaka and never knew! Well, some of the questions might have been true when I was a child and are less true here, such as everyone knowing where you live 😛

    As a child/teen, I’d also often put big spiders in empty film canisters, and would find scorpions in my kitchen and put them in empty hummus or tennis ball boxes. We started having a bus once an hour during busy hours ~3 years ago, up to that point it was once every two hours.

    Our version of the mukade are much smaller and not as creepy, but we’ve got a red variety and black variety, and the aforementioned scorpions and snakes which the local dogs/cats used to bring home too 🙂


    1. There you go – awesome quiz is awesome (and totally flawless, as advertised).

      Did the scorpions/snakes not kill or at least seriously hurt the local dogs and cats? We have snakes around the place, at least one variety of which is dangerous, but that kind at least is quite scarce.


      1. Not really. Mostly non-poisonous, and snakes/dogs usually beat the snakes. Well, scorpions were either yellow and quite poisonous or black and not very.

        It no longer happens either, had a /huge/ empty field behind my house, with trees and flowers, but a few years ago they built dozens of houses there instead 😦


        1. That’s a shame. Civilization’s nice and all, but it’s always sad to see nature disappear at its expense.

          Out of curiosity, which parts of the quiz are not applicable to your own location?


          1. “Dining out” isn’t an option at all without driving to the city here, though yes, there is one rotating “family restaurant style” place at any given time, but it’s usually not even that, they can make you hamburgers and schnitzels and that’s about it.

            I do lock up the door 😛

            Quite a few passengers on the bus. We have over 9k people here by now, there’s a bus once an hour, and all the kids need the bus to go to the mall in the nearby city (15 mins of drive).

            The nearest supermarket is actually 3-4 minutes of walk from my house. I live close to the center. From the farthest part it’d take closer to 25-30 minutes of walk, I guess. Maybe a tad more.

            No public bath-houses, naturally. Not that I’d go if there were, heh.

            Strangers don’t give you food, but when someone’s refrigerator dies the food is given to the neighbours to store until it’s fixed.

            The local post office annoys me. Anyway, there are no private mail boxes here, you have to go to one of the central locations and check your apartment/house’s box there.


  2. Have you ever seen the anime “Shiki”? Awesome series set in a place just like what you’re describing and vampires slowly take over the secluded village, making it theirs. It’s a well-done horror series and I just saw the last episode last night, so seeing that picture gave me the willies. I’m like “Get out! The Okiagari (however you spell it) will get you!”


    1. I was just waiting to see who’d be the first to reference that show. 😀 (Incidentally, most, if not all, elementary school kids here learn to play the recorder. Not that that’s necessarily a Japanese-only thing – I remember having to learn at elementary school as well.)


    1. Haha, true that. Although I’d rather live here in the deep countryside than in Tokyo any day – that place is crazy. Hella fun to visit, but I’d probably go nuts if I stayed there too long, mountain in Ginza or no.



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