Japan is widely regarded in the West as a place where futuristic technology meets an incomprehensible culture. The Japanese rose from the ashes of the 2nd World War and the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and built one of the world’s great economies from the ground up. However, their accomplishments are sometimes ignored to due the fact that the Japanese have very distinctive tastes and practices compared to citizens in other developed nations. People don’t understand, or know their culture, and are far less understanding and respeectful towards them than they are.
All that side, I thought it would be both fun and useful to check out 12 facts about Japan you probably don’t know.
12. Capsule Hotel | Facts About Japanese Culture
After a hard day at the office and a cold drink, getting home might be a problem. So, you pop over to the local capsule hotel and reserve a tube to sleep in: a small room fitted with dozens of ‘capsules’ stacked on top of each other. They look almost like extended laundry machines, and people will rent them out for the night to sleep because it’s cheap and easier than going home.
11. Noodle Slurping
Culinary etiquette varies greatly from culture to culture. In Japan – and many other Asian countries – eating in total silence is equivalent to telling the chef that you’re not impressed. Vocalizing your pleasure with a meal is very important, and none more so than slurping the noodles in your ramen or yakisoba dish. I’m game!
Ganguro is a ridiculous and horrifying fashion trend popular among some young Japanese women. Although it reached its peak in the 1990s, elements of ganguro style can still be found among many people living in Japan today. Ganguro style involves wearing several layers of dark makeup with brightly dyed hair to make yourself look like a reject from clown school, or in some extreme cases, straight up blackface. Do you like it?
There are all kinds of escorts who offer their time and companionship for money while withholding any kinds of sexual services, something that sounds a bit weird. The Soine-ya, or ‘Cuddle Café’, is pretty much exactly what it sounds. Single men will pay money for an hour or two to lie in bed and chat with a pretty girl. They can pay extra to stroke the girl’s hair or to caress her softly. Amsterdam sound better, right?
The popularity and acceptance of workplace naps in Japan may be because avoiding them has proven to be hazardous to your health. Karoshi translates to ‘death from overwork’, and it’s a Japanese phenomenon where workers are dropping dead at a young age, a victim of the salaryman lifestyle. The extreme demands placed upon some Japanese workers are accepted with no complaint.
7. Sexy Anime
You can’t walk a single block in Tokyo without encountering a scantily clad cartoon character selling yoghurt, computers, or advertising a television show. That’s because of famously strict decency laws, forcing advertisers to uss the next best thing – sexy anime characters. So, be prepared: they’re everywhere!
6. Vending Machines
Vending machines are everywhere in Japan, selling everything and anything you can possibly imagine.: umbrellas, sex toys, used underpants. Why used?
Aokigahara isn’t a cultural phenomenon like many of the other entries on this list, but rather a physical place. This ancient forest located at the base of Mt. Fuji is so dense that all wildlife is gone, leaving the area preternaturally silent. Aokigahara has associations with demons and evil spirits in Japanese mythology, which may have contributed to what it’s known as today – the suicide forest. Each year, hundreds of people venture into Aokigahara intending to end their life. Most never return.
Kancho is half childhood mischief, half sexual assault, and thoroughly Japanese. This is a common prank played by children, adolescents, and deviant adults in Japan. The person who wants to perform the Kancho will clasp their hands together, leaving their index and middle fingers outstretched as if forming an imaginary gun. They will then sneak up behind their unaware target, scream out ‘KAN-CHOOOOO!!!!’ and attempt to shove their fingers as far up their target’s anus as they can. No comment!
3. Extreme Politeness
You can say whatever you want, but nobody does hospitality and politeness quite like the Japanese. Lots of informal bowing is common, especially in the food service industry, and even the youngest of children on public transportation will jump up without hesitation to offer their seats to elderly passengers. The Japanese are probably more respectful of each other than any other group on earth.
2. Lolita Complex
Lolicon is a genre of manga and anime that caters to readers who have a fondness for young female characters that have been extremely sexualized. All of this, among other things, are reasons that Japan is known for having somewhat of a Lolita complex. Who would have thought?
1. No Crime
Crime in Japan is practically non-existent, as it’s quite possibly the safest country in the world. The murder rate per 100,000 people is 0.3 and the only countries with less murder are Monaco and Lichtenstein, two tiny microstates inhabited by a mostly wealthy elite. Japan is a country of 60 million people that experiences less than 500 murders per year. It may be unusual, but it’s a safe country.