30 Weird Things About Japan That Baffle Foreigners, #13 Is Absolutely Disgusting.
There are a lot of things about Japan that can't be explained. The country is steeped in bizarre tradition and unusual ancient practices that have somehow translated to modern day.
Luckily, to love Japan isn't to understand it - it's to appreciate it for all the complex, strange, and wonderful things it is without asking too many questions. Below, we've put together 30 of the weirdest facts we could find about Japan - after reading these, you're going to want to book a trip there and check it out for yourself.
#1. Most of Japan is mountains. 70% of the country, in fact - including two volcanoes.
#2. Melons are seriously expensive. A nice musk melon, similar to a cantaloupe, with few imperfections can sell for upward of $300.
#3. Japan loves coffee. Japan imports approximately 85% of Jamaica's annual coffee production.
#4. Japan's literacy rate is almost 100%. Japanese are incredibly disciplined and devoted to education.
#5. You have to wear special shoes in the bathroom. When you use the restroom in someone's home you may need to put on designated bathroom slippers. Many Japanese bathrooms don't have a separate area for the shower, meaning the floor is often wet.
#6. Double tooth fashion trend Young Japanese are increasingly interested in uneven or "snaggle" teeth, known in Japanese as "yaeba.' This picture is a before-and-after of a newly "yaeba'd" young girl.
#7. Slurping is a good thing in Japan. Noodles, especially soba (buckwheat), are slurped somewhat loudly when eaten. Indicates the food is delicious, an interesting way to give compliments to the chef.
#8. KFC is the Christmas food of choice. Although Japan doesn’t traditionally celebrate Christmas, KFC outlets became popular among foreigners as they couldn’t find a whole chicken or turkey elsewhere. Japanese people eventually followed suit.
#9. Sticking your finger in someone's butt is a pretty normal thing to do. "Kancho," is a common prank often carried out in Japanese playgrounds. It is performed by the individual clasping their hands together into the shape of a gun, then poking passersby in the butt while shouting "kancho!"
#10. The term karaoke means "empty orchestra" in Japanese. So you totally embarrassed yourself at the empty orchestra last night.
#11. Cuddle cafes are a thing. The first Soine-ya, or "sleep together shop" opened last year in Tokyo, allowing male customers to sleep next to a girl for a fee. Sexual requests are not allowed.
#12. There are no janitors in Japan's schools. Instead, schools teach students to clean up after themselves. Every day, time is set aside for children to work together to organize the classrooms, scrub floors and mop the bathrooms.
#13. Japanese women used to dye their teeth black. In ancient Japan, women blackened their teeth with dye as white teeth were considered ugly.
#14. Falling asleep at work is a good thing. Japanese workers often engage in "inemuri" - or napping on the job. This is a sign that you are working long hours - sometimes 19 hour days - so napping is encouraged.
#15. Blackface is a trend in Japan...but it doesn't have the same offensive implications as it would in Western countries. Like most trends, "ganguro," which literally translates as ‘blackface,’ was started by Tokyo's rebellious youth who contradicted the traditional Japanese concept of beauty; pale skin, dark hair and subdued makeup.
#16. Love hotels are popular here. These hotels are rented by the hour, and are designed for couples who need some...private time. The room rates are cheap, and the style of each room is often themed.
#17. Adults get adopted in Japan. 98% of adoptions in Japan are males between 20 and 30. The reason? If the owner of a family business doesn’t have a son to keep the family name alive, an appropriate heir is adopted into the family.
#18. Learning to prepare Fugu is serious business. It takes about 11 years of intensive training to become a fugu, or poisonous blowfish chef. If the blowfish is prepared the wrong way, it will kill the person who consumes it. Fugu chefs need to eat their own fish in order to pass the training and be certified to prepare the fish at a restaurant.
#19. You can go out for canned food in Japan. Instead of a menu, Mr. Kanso Canned Food Restaurant only serves canned food.
#20. Japan has a big naked festival. Hadaka Matsuri is a festival involving thousands of Japanese men removing their clothes in public due to the ancient belief that a nearly-naked man has a greater ability to absorb evil spirits.
#21. There is a suicide forest in Japan. Aokigahara, a forest at the base of Mount Fuji, is the second most popular place in the world for suicides, after San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. More than 50 people took their own lives here in 2010.
#22. Many Japanese men refuse to leave their rooms. In a condition called "hikikomori," which means withdrawn, men lock themselves away in their rooms and refuse contact with the outside world. Psychologists say that the condition is closely related to depression and anxiety about Japan's extreme social pressures.
#23. You can sleep in a capsule in Japan. The capsule hotel originated in Osaka, Japan. It features a set of extremely small capsules designed for a quick and easy overnight stay.
#24. Raw horse meat is a popular food in Japan. In fact, "basashi" is considered a delicacy.
#25. The world’s most expensive tuna was sold in Japan. Tokyo’s famed Tsukiji market auctioned a 593 lb. tuna for over $735,000.
#26. Japan has an island full of rabbits. Okunoshima, an island located in Japan's Inland Sea, is the home of thousands of free-roaming rabbits.
#27. They have the world’s shortest escalator The world’s shortest escalator is located in the basement of More’s Department store in Kawasaki, Japan. It has only five steps.
#28. Japan has a weird way of passive aggressively terminating employees. Like many countries, Japan has labor laws that prevent employers from firing people without paying huge benefits packages. Many companies have come up with an unfortunate solution in the form of banishment rooms. There, employees are sent to do tasks that serve no purpose or are mind numbingly boring, with the hopes that they'll eventually quit.
#29. Japan changed its constitution after World War II. The amendment infamously includes Article 9, which completely renounces all war and aggression.
#30. Japan has oldest company in the world. Kongō Gumi Co., Ltd. was founded in 578 AD.
“In Japan, in fact, crooked teeth are actually endearing, and it shows that a girl is not perfect. And, in a way, men find that more approachable than someone who is too overly perfect.” What do you think about this trend?