kids wearing a blue uniform raising their right hand

5 things you didn’t know about Japan!

Japan is known for its culture that differs a lot from the European / American culture – some of their traditions and habits can seem quite strange to people not from there. We listed five things that we think you may not know about Japan yet. Enjoy!

1. Do not share the food!

For us it may feel natural to lean over our friends plate to share the food but this is something you should avoid in Japan. The reason is perhaps not what you think; it actually comes from the way it resembles a funeral tradition where the close family helps to remove the last bits of bone from the dead man’s ashes before stopping into the urn. So if you do not want to be the reason that the people around you bursts into tears because you reminded them of some very sad memories, it is probably best that you stick to your own plate.

2. There is a Poo Museum in Tokyo!

In the Poo Museum, you can look at toilets decorated with thousands of diamonds, ride different poo attractions (which include landing in a giant toilet), you can watch movies about poo, and check on all sorts of poo (even animal dung) and you can even make your own poop out of clay.

 

3. One Python ice-cream please!

Did you know that Japan is an ice cream lover’s paradise? But the flavors may not be what you normally would expect when ordering an ice-cream. The Japanese have adopted the western culture of eating ice-creme but have put their own twist on it. You can find flavors like python, jellyfish, beer, cactus, octopus, seaweed and soy sauce.

4. Napping during office hours is a good thing

The fact that a good night’s sleep is beneficial for the well-being is not a secret, but unfortunately you don`t always have time to get those recommended 8 hours of sleep. In Japan, many employers tend to provide a special “napping-room” where employees can take a rest after eating. The bedrooms can also be used by those who have worked over and might not have the energy to go home to sleep. After the Fukushima incident and the subsequent energy crisis in the country, some employers more or less ordered their employees to turn off computers and take a siesta in the afternoon – simply to save energy. In Japan it is normal to work 19 hours a day so falling asleep in your desk is a positive sign of that you’ve been working hard. Falling a sleep during your class? Only if you’ve been working extra hard!

5. Crying baby contest

You read correctly! Japanese sumo students have an odd contest going on in Tokyo. The bizarre festival is held in the Sensoji temple where the Japanese sumo students compete in getting babies to cry. Sumo wrestlers believe that it is healthy for babies to cry and scream. How the contest works? Well, two sumo wrestlers come together on stage, each with a baby. Then they make angry faces, scary sounds and shouts “nake, nake” (“crying, crying”) – all to incite babies squeeze out tears. The wrestler whose baby cries first is the winner. If the babies crying at the same time, then it is the baby that cries the loudest that wins. Sometimes the competition takes a turn and the babies start to laugh instead of crying. The sumo students can try to solve this situation by using scary masks. Only in Japan…

You might also be interested in: 15 STUNNING CULTURE FACTS ABOUT SOUTH KOREA

 

Asia Exchange is a Finnish company providing study abroad opportunities in Asia Pacific for students from all around the world. Want to get travel tips and new blog posts straight to your inbox? Subscribe to our monthly newsletter! If you have any questions about studying abroad, feel free to contact us! We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Categories

Recent Posts