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 learned 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.
Just like in some of our traditional Indian 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, similarly there is a peculiar practice being followed in Japanese households. 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 restroom, 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!
11. TABLE MANNERS
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. God knows how will Japanese feel if he attends any Indian wedding or for that matter any normal party in the other parts of the world.
Japanese is 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. Don’t you think our Indian Railways need to learn something from them!
9. HORSE MEAT
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.
8. VENDING MACHINES
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!
7. 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.
6. 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.
4. ADULT MALE ADOPTION
Japan has one of the highest adult male adoption rates. Just like ours, 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.
3. SHORTEST ESCALATOR
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.
2. CUDDLE SPAS
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.
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.