From mild wasabi to kopi served in 'bags you put goldfish in', Japanese expats share unexpected Singapore experiences with Ghib Ojisan

PHOTO: Screengrab/YouTube/Ghib Ojisan

Singaporeans are an odd bunch at times but it can be hard for us to see our own quirks.

So who better to point them out than expats living here? 

In a recent video, Japanese YouTuber and foodie Ghib Ojisan invited three expats from his home nation to share their own Singapore aru-aru (Japanese term for "typical phenomenon"). Basically, it's a sharing session of what they typically encounter only here in Singapore.

Rimi, Momoko and Ayumu's time in Singapore varies — with Momoko the most senior at eight years and Rimi the newest expat at six months.

Before diving into some of the highlights, let's keep in mind that this was all done in good fun. No need to get the pitchforks out.

PHOTO: Screengrab/YouTube/Ghib Ojisan

Disappointing wasabi

Matters relating to sustenance emerged right off the bat. Being Japanese, their gripes were unsurprisingly mostly to do with the green tea and wasabi in Singapore.

Rimi suggested that wasabi found in sushi bentos is simply not up to scratch, even the ones at Don Don Donki. Momoko and Ayumu agreed wholeheartedly.

The trio was also confused as to why wasabi found in Singapore tends to be mild when Singaporeans are so big on their spicy food.

"It's probably a different type of spice for locals. Wasabi's spice really hits hard on the nose," Momoko suggested.

So what's the solution in the meantime? Rimi isn't taking any chances and simply uses the wasabi she has at home.

Ghib Ojisan joined in the fun when he suggested that all green teas are "super sweet". This received a huge reaction from all three expats, with Ayumu sharing how shocked he was the first time he tried Pokka green tea.

Green tea served in Japan definitely differs from the Pokka version and Momoko went on to say that perhaps Authentic Tea House Ayataka is the best at replicating the authentic green tea flavours.

'Choping' and other coffee shop quirks

Coffee shops and hawker centres are cornerstones of Singapore culture. In these places, you'll find some very uniquely Singaporean experiences (as these three expats can attest to).

The first one is a bit of a no-brainer as we tend to hear this a lot from tourists as well.

While it may seem natural to us, the concept of reserving a table with nothing more than a packet of tissues is extremely foreign to non-locals.

When she first arrived in Singapore, Momoko was actually chided by a local for sitting at a table that had already been "choped".

Momoko also mentioned how packaging for local coffee, or kopi, also seemed strange to her at first.

Instead of cups, she saw hot kopi being poured into a plastic bag and served with a straw. This blew her mind and her fellow Japanese friends wondered out loud how this plastic bag could withstand the heat of the drink.

Momoko even likened those plastic bags to the ones "you put goldfish in" during matsuri (Japanese cultural festivals).

These are just some highlights of the many intricacies Rimi, Momoko and Ayumu have encountered during their time in Singapore.

A few other notable mentions include showering multiple times a day due to the intense heat, as well as the constant use of "uncle" or "auntie" whenever referring to a stranger.

There are plenty more gems in the video but we won't be ruining the fun for you. 

ALSO READ: Why you gotta be so rude? American shares how she is 'offended' by this Singlish phrase

amierul@asiaone.com