Every year during the spring season, the world witnesses Japan’s beauty of blooming cherry blossoms. All the pink petals floating in the river and fully bloomed trees making archways above serene pathways move everyone to visit such a place at least once. “The Land of the Rising Sun” is what they call Japan. The country is famous for its history that is marked by wars and calamities. The resilience with which the nation bounced back and emerged as one of the strongest countries is nothing short of a miracle.
From the samurai culture of the past to a huge economy worldwide, Japan has proven itself as a powerful nation. But that is not everything that Japan is good at. Here are a few weird but interesting facts about Japan that you probably never knew about:
1. Crooked Teeth are Not Considered Ugly
Unlike most beauty standards, uneven and crooked teeth are considered cute in Japan. Men find women with such teeth attractive. They even prefer them over women with perfect teeth. This trend has been gaining a lot of attention. Some people go so far as getting their teeth crooked by a dentist. The procedure is done by attaching fake canines over real teeth to give a twisted smile.
2. Fake Food at Display
This is not actually weird but definitely one-of-a-kind practice. In Japan, restaurant owners put fake food on display to showcase what their dishes look like. This practice is done so that customers can easily see the end result of their choice of the dish instead of imagining it.
A popular street in Tokyo called Kappabashi Utensils Street is where restaurant owners buy fake food props and other kitchen tools.
3. Adult Adoption is Real
You read that right; Japan supports families who want to welcome an adult instead of a child. This is common for couples who have no biological children but want an heir. This is also a feasible option for those who don’t want to be bothered by raising newborns and toddlers. They just adopt an adult and live as a normal family.
4. Vending Machines for Everyone
In Japan, you will find a vending machine at every corner. Literally! For every person, there are 24 vending machines. An estimated 5 million vending machines are scattered throughout the country. Some of these machines are for specific items. You’ll find coffee vending machines, umbrella vending machines, fruit and vegetables vending machines, and many more. It is a dream come true for an introvert; there is hardly anything that cannot be bought from these magical vending machines.
5. More Adult Diapers are Sold
Out of Japan’s total population, people 65 years and above make up about 26 percent. To be precise, there are more elderly people than youngsters in Japan. Therefore, the sales of the adult diaper are obviously more, considering this ratio.
6. You Can Sleep at Your Job
As weird as it may sound, you can actually take a break and sleep during your work hours. Not only is it considered normal, but it is also encouraged by employees. Japanese companies can be a bit of a workaholic, but they don’t want their employers to exhaust themselves. They prefer that everyone takes a power nap so that their work efficiency is not disturbed.
7. Late Night Partying was illegal
Believe it or not, you could not organize a funky dance party in Japan before 2015. You were required to get proper permission and license to do so. This law was enforced to minimize prostitution and drug usage. Although the law was there, it wasn’t fully accepted by the people, and they would dance away their nights anyway. The authorities had to harden up when celebrities were caught doing drugs at such parties. The law was eventually abolished in 2015.
8. Japan’s Made up of Thousands of Islands
Japan consists of more than six thousand islands (6852 islands, to be exact). Only four islands make up 97% of the total land, namely, Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Osaka. Honshu is the largest island, and it is also the one that makes up the mainland.
9. It is Okay to Slurp Noodles
Table manners are something that almost everyone takes care of. No one wants to eat in the presence of a loud-eating person. In Japan, things are a bit different. Japanese people consider it completely normal to make a slurping sound while eating noodles. In fact, it is a good sign if someone slurps while eating their noodles. It is perceived as the person is enjoying their meal and is giving compliments to the chef.
10. Manga Beats Toilet Paper
The world should be grateful to Japanese people for introducing them to amazing comics called manga. Like any other comics, manga is printed and published in paper weekly or monthly. Young people and even adults are addicted to manga stories. Those who aren’t a fan of reading get hooked to watching anime that are based on manga.
Japanese publishers use more paper to print manga than making toilet paper. This is probably because the Japanese are sensible enough to use water bidets instead of toilet paper to wipe their behinds. So the use of toilet paper is relatively lesser compared to other countries.
11. Longevity but with High Suicide Rate
Two paradoxes exist within the realms of Japan. Due to many factors, Japanese people enjoy the longest lives; the average life expectancy is around 75 years. This is because people enjoy good health and rarely get serious illnesses like cancers and heart diseases. On the other hand, Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world.
In 2018, Japan hit the most number of suicides among youth in the last 30 years. The Suicide Forest is the second most famous suicidal spot in the world. It’s based at the base of Mt. Fuji and is a subject of much horror folklore.
Such a high rate of suicide is because of extreme work pressures and not enough therapy programs. The authorities are working on accessible programs during school years so that young people can work out their issues without taking any extreme steps.
12. Raw Sushi was Introduced by Norway
Sushi is a favorite dish for many people. The raw salmon at the top of sour rice irks some people, while some find it easy to eat. A commonly accepted fact is that the Japanese ate sushi with raw salmon from the beginning. But the truth is that Norway introduced Japan with the flavors of raw fish in the 1990s. The Japanese were hesitant to eat raw fish as they thought it’s full of parasites. When Norway started to import salmon from Japan and after many years of campaigning, Japan finally added raw salmon to their sushi recipes.
13. Sumo Wrestle But to Make Babies Cry
The Naki Sumo Baby Crying Festival is 400 years old. Every year in April, parents bring their babies and hand them over to bulky Sumo wrestlers. The wrestlers take the babies on stage and compete with each other to make the baby cry. Whoever succeeds in it is declared a winner. The sumo yells and scares the baby using various techniques. If everything fails, they wear scary masks to accomplish the deed. It is said that a crying baby forces demons and evil spirits away. The baby who cries the loudest is guaranteed to have a long and healthy life.
Japan – A Versatile Country
Every manga and anime enthusiast share one dream – visiting Japan at least once. The country is amazingly interesting, and it has something for everyone. It does have some dark secrets of its own, but that is pretty normal considering that it has been nuked by atomic bombs twice. Kudos for it to become such a successful country in the face of all adversities.