The world is comprised of several nations with each of them having their own customs and practices. Delving into the details about one such country let’s see what facts it has to surprise us. “The Land of Rising Sun”, as you would have learnt back in your general knowledge class, the country of Japan has some idiosyncratic facts which will baffle you completely and you would realize that the country has much more to it than sushi, latest technologies, kitty su etc.
In Japanese households it is forbidden to enter with the shoes on and the guests or for that matter, even the house members are required to leave their shoes outside.The height of the floor indicates where the person has to put on the shoes and where he is required to take them off. For instance, the at the entrance of the house, the floor will usually be raised to about 6 inches which indicates that you are required to take the shoes off and put on house shoes, usually like slippers. If the house has a tatami mat room, its floor may be raised 1–2 inches to indicate that it is time to take off your slippers.
Additionally when you have to use the rest room, there are separate slippers at the entrance of the restroom and that is to be used and taken off after using the restroom. Therefore, in Japanese households, people keep extra slippers for their guests too!
Well, considering the table manners, there are very eccentric customs and beliefs that you would come across. Well, I am sure most of us as childhood used to slurp while eating noodles and our mothers used to stop us from doing that considering it as bad manners, but here in Japan, it is considered bad manners not to slurp while you are eating noodles because slurping while eating noodles is considered as an indication of the food being tasty.
Also, when you are eating rice, you must pick up the bowl and eat or else they will feel that you are eating like a dog and special care must be taken while holding the chopsticks while eating the rice. You should never stick your chopsticks upright in your rice because that is only done when food is offered to the dead and otherwise it’s considered to a bad omen. Further it is considered rude to eat or drink while standing.
Japanese are one of the most punctual citizens in the world and so are the services. I still remember reading an article in which a train in Japan arrived 5 minutes late in a station. Normally they are always on time be it any season. So, when all the passengers were on board, the conductor of the train went to each and every passenger and apologized to them for getting late and also handed a letter which had the reason for getting late so that the passengers could show it them to their employers or the people to whom they are going to meet and tell them the reason of being late.
It is perfectly usual in Japan to eat raw horse meat. You can see them packaged in the form of slices and in local language, the dish is called Bashashi. While some of might cringe at the fact, it is one of the delicacies served there. Not only it has high protein content but eating horse meat can prolong your life. No wonder, why Japan has one of the highest life expectancy rate. So, next time you visit Japan don’t forget to try it.
Japan is the home to one of the craziest vending machines you will ever come across, beer being the most common one. In addition to beer, it can provide you with fresh eggs, fresh bouquet of flowers, bags of rice, toilet papers, condoms, umbrellas, fish baits ad even porn magazine. Strange but true!
HIGH SUICIDE RATE
Though this wealthy and advanced country is full of the most hardworking, sincere and disciplined people you will ever come across, it is saddening to know that the suicidal rates are very high in the country and most of them are young men and women failing to secure job or due to financial problems and depression. In fact it has an extremely spooky suicide forest, aokigahara.
UNIQUE WAY OF BATHING
Japanese have a unique way of bathing. The entire family takes bath in the same water tub with the same water and not simultaneously. The father goes in first, then mother and then the children. For Japanese, soaking in hot water is the way of relaxation. So first of all, they are required to cleanse themselves separately and after they have cleansed themselves, they then go to the hot water tub and soak their bodies. This way the water remains clean and fit to be used for the other people in the house. They also have a unique way of honoring their guest by giving them the opportunity to take bath first.
All the working professionals have 10:00-17:00 hrs schedule and this may even be more in case of certain private organizations. Nobody can work for continuously these many hours and do require certain break. Well, in Japan as far as this is concerned the employers are very considerate about their employees. The employee who works so hard they are forced to engage in “inemuri” – or napping on the job but the rule is you must remain upright because some people might even fake inemuri to show that they are working very hard. Imagine napping in your office, you will probably end up in your senior’s office and will get a good amount of scolding. Though, this idea of nap is quite a good one as it recognizes the human weaknesses.
ADULT MALE ADOPTION
Japan has one of the highest adult male adoption rates. Japan is a patriarchal society and the family name is transferred though the male member of the family. Hence in case a family has all females, they adopt an adult to keep their family name going. Another reason for adult adoption is generally to inherit the business. It is generally done by the wealthy people. In case the present inheritor is found to be incompetent to inherit the business, they may adopt adults to carry forward their legacy.
Considering the technological advancement of the country, not surprisingly enough, it has the world’s shortest escalator. This escalator is located in the basement of More’s Department store in Kawasaki, Japan. It has only five steps and is 32.8 inches high.
Yes, you read it correctly, the cuddle spas. I don’t know how many of you had heard it before but the concept of cuddle spas was a novel one to me. These cuddle spas are very common in Japan. These are basically sleep together spas where sexual requests are not allowed and instead of it men may purchase extra other things like as “staring at each other for a minute” and “stroking the girl’s hair for three minutes” each costing about ¥1,000 according to one of the articles.
JAPAN’S CENTENARIAN POPULATION IS 60,000+
The number of people aged 100 or older is expected to total 61,568. When the Japan Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare started compiling the statistics in 1963, the nation only had 153 centenarians. The number exceeded 10,000 in 1998, 30,000 in 2007, and 50,000 in 2012, as the aging of the country’s population progressed.
THE WORLD’S OLDEST COMPANY
Kongō Gumi Co., Ltd. is a Japanese construction company which was the world’s oldest continuously ongoing independent company, operating for over 1,400 years until it was absorbed as a subsidiary of Takamatsu in 2006. Headquartered in Osaka, the once family-owned construction company traced its origins to 578 AD when one of the skilled immigrants, whom Prince Shōtoku invited from Baekje to Japan to build the Buddhist temple Shitennō-ji, decided to start his own business. Over the centuries, Kongō Gumi participated in the construction of many famous buildings, including the 16th-century Osaka Castle. The company fell on hard times and went into liquidation in January 2006, and was purchased by the Takamatsu Construction Group. Before its liquidation, it had over 100 employees and annual revenue of ¥7.5 billion ($70 million) in 2005; it still specialized in building Buddhist temples.
It is one of the biggest social and health problems facing Japan – about 1 million people, mostly men, have locked themselves in their bedrooms and will not come out. Japanese adolescents and adults withdraw from social life, often seeking extreme degrees of isolation and confinement.
While many people feel the pressures of the outside world, hikikomori react by complete social withdrawal. In some cases, they isolate themselves in their living quarters for prolonged periods, sometimes for years. They usually have few or no friends. The withdrawal from society usually starts gradually. Affected people may appear unhappy, lose their friends, become insecure, shy, and talk less.
Last but not the least, wherein about 1500 earthquakes hit the country every year. The reason being the geographical location of Japan which is situated on the top four tectonic plates. Thankfully, most of these are only tremors. Apart from that, it is also the home of quite a few active volcanoes.