One of the first things you notice when you come to Japan is that there is less scent in the air than in other countries. If you ride on buses or trains in Europe or USA there is usually at least one person who has applied a thick layer of fragrance to herself/himself. These people maybe don’t even notice that their perfume determines the scent of the complete train car or bus. As they like the smell, they are of the opinion that the fragrance does not bother other people. Well, I had the “pleasure” of a two hours bus ride in the U.S.A from which I can’t say that I appreciated the perfume used by a lady who was sitting in front of me. She must have deeply dived into a huge bottle of perfume – I can’t explain her extreme scent otherwise. First the perfume only bothered me, but it did not take so long until the scent has been distributed throughout the bus via the air conditioning. But how to claim? Fortunately, such things don’t happen here in Japan.
I didn’t see (or smell) people who used plenty of fragrance since I am living in Japan. It’s not that Japanese don’t apply fragrances, but I think they do it very carefully. It’s maybe related to group-think where everyone makes sure that her/his actions don’t bother the others. Thus, when you ride on a train you don’t find anyone who sprayed too much perfume before going to the office. It always funny to see tourists (in most cases Americans) coming to Japan because you can literally smell them on the train. It’s not like the movie “Scent of a Woman“, but rather obvious for everybody in the train car who has used the perfume. Personally, I really appreciate the careful and decent usage of fragrances here in Japan. And for the sake of a peaceful living together, who wants to ride on a morning commuter train with 300 people/car where everybody has applied her/his own perfume?