Japan is known for its unique culture and heritage and whoever had the chance to visit this country was captivated by its uniqueness.
Below are some interesting facts about Japan:
- Geisha means “person of the arts” and the first geisha were actually men.
- Many couples in Japan celebrate Christmas like Valentine’s Day. It is definitely more of a “lovers” holiday in Japan.
- More than 70% of Japan consists of mountains, including more than 200 volcanoes.
- Religion does not play a big role in the lives of most Japanese and many do not understand the difference between Shintoism and Buddhism. However, there are also many Japanese who do understand the difference.
- There are four different writing systems in Japan; Romaji, Katakana, Hiragana, and Kanji.
- Coffee is very popular and Japan imports approximately 85% of Jamaica’s annual coffee production.
- Sumo is Japan’s national sport, although baseball is also very popular.
- Sumo wrestlers eat a stew called Chankonabe to fatten up. Many restaurants in the Ryogoku district of Tokyo serve this nabe (Japanese word for stew).
- Noodles, especially soba (buckwheat), are slurped somewhat loudly when eaten. It has been said slurping indicates the food is delicious. The slurping also serves to cool down the hot noodles for eating.
- In Japan it is not uncommon to eat rice at every meal, including breakfast.
- Ovens are not nearly as common place as rice cookers in Japanese households.
- When moving into an apartment it is often required to give the landlord “gift” money, usually equal to two months’ rent.
- Average life expectancy in Japan is one of the highest in the world.
- Japan is the largest automobile producer in the world.
- Men might shave their heads to apologize. Not common these days.
- Women might cut their hair after breaking up with a boyfriend. Again, not common these days.
- The first novel, The Tale of Genji, was written in 1007 by a Japanese noble woman, Murasaki Shikibu.
- Raised floors help indicate when to take off shoes or slippers. At the entrance to a home in Japan, the floor will usually be raised about 6 inches indicating you should take off your shoes and put on slippers.
- When you use the restroom in someone’s home you may need to put on designated bathroom slippers so as not to contaminate the rest of the home.
- It was customary in ancient Japan for women to blacken their teeth with dye as white teeth were considered ugly. This practice persisted until the late 1800’s. The American style smile (big, wide, and white) would have been seen as “exposing too much bone”.
- Some Japanese companies conduct a morning exercise session for the workers to prepare them for the day’s work.
- In Japan non-smoking areas are difficult to find in restaurants, including family restaurants. Many of Japan’s politicians have interest in the tobacco industry and anti-smoking laws are almost non-existent. If you are planning a trip to Japan you may want to think twice if you are sensitive to tobacco smoke.