The Japanese point with their middle finger instead of their index finger like we do.
So, if you were in Japan and you got angry and flipped off a Japanese person, there is a good chance they are going to look up wondering what the hell you are pointing at!. Conversely, a thumb placed between the middle and index fingers (the “nose stealing” gesture) is on obscene gesture in some parts of Japan.
Trains are so crowded that railway staff are hired to cram passengers inside.
The Tokyo Subways are legendary for the way people are “packed in” at rush hour. A “Train Pusher” or oshiya, pushes bodies into every inch of space during the morning and evening rush hours.
It becomes difficult to shut the doors when the number of passengers is over 200% of a train’s capacity, but pushers are often stationed on platforms when trains are at around 120% capacity,
When they were first brought in at Shinjuku Station, they were called “passenger arrangement staff” and were largely made up of students working part-time; nowadays, station staff and/or part-time workers fill these roles during morning rush hours on many lines
There are vending machines in Japan that dispense beer
Most people probably know that Japan has lots of vending machines, according to wikipedia there is one for every 23 Japanese people and there are a lot of Japanese people. Japan has one of the world’s highest vending machine densities.
What some people might not know is the range of things you can get from a vending machine here. Not just snacks and magazines. You can also buy beer, whiskey, sake, cocktails and more.
The Japanese government have introduced a Taspo card for buying cigarettes, you have to be over 21 and use one of these to buy cigarettes from a machine. Some of the machines also have age recognition cameras and software, but we read that some “smart” kid fooled this by standing on his bike, so the machine thought he was tall enough to be an adult! link
The first geisha were actually men!
Yes, it’s true!. The male Geisha were known as Honko and would dance for their
clients in bars, restaurants, and the Geisha staple. Many people believe that
Geisha were prostitutes, but this is actually quite far from their true occupation. Geisha actually means “person of the arts”. They were expert musicians, dancers and amusing story-tellers who liked to touch upon taboo subjects. link
There are no 24 hour ATMs in Japan
Most ATMs are not 24-hour in Japan. Standard Japanese ATMs are open from 9am to 7pm on weekdays, and more limited hours on Saturday and Sunday; the machines are closed evenings and holidays.link
The “V Sign” is an obscene insult
Make the peace sign. Then move your hand to where the back of it is facing the computer screen. This is how you gesture “F*** You!” in Japan. So if I were you, if you ever go to Japan, don’t try to say “peace” in 1970′s style.
It is considered rude to say the word “no” directly
In the Japanese language, it is considered rude to say the word “no” directly. Instead, people often say “hmm” or reword things as a question.
The Japanese live longer than anybody else in the world
The island of Okinawa, in Japan, is the best place on earth for healthy aging.
The Okinawans have more people over 100 years old per 100,000 population than anywhere else in the world, the lowest death rates from cancer, heart disease and stroke (the top three killers in the US), the highest life expectancy for both males and females over 65
and females in Okinawa have the highest life expectancy in all age groups.link
The green traffic light is called “blue”.
According to the book, Japan From A to Z: Mysteries of Everyday Life Explained by James and Michiko Vardaman, the first traffic signals in Japan were blue instead of green, but the blue lights were difficult to see from a long distance away so they were replaced with green ones. Vardaman says that the custom of referring to traffic lights is a holdover from those days.
This sounds like a good explanation, but the problem with it is that you will hear Japanese people refer to other green things (like cucumbers, spinach, and sometimes grass) as being blue as well. This is because historically, Japanese people considered green to be a shade of blue. For example, the Chinese character for blue, pronounced ao is made up of two characters, iki (life) and i (well) and refers to the colour of plants which grow around a well, a colour between green and blue. When Chinese people see the character, they say it means green, but Japanese people say it means blue.
Japanese books on colours tell us that there are four tertiary colours: red, blue, white and black, and that all others are shades of those four main ones. Ao, therefore, is a sort of ideal blue, halfway between green and blue. The sky is said to be blue, but it is a different shade of ao than a traffic light is. Tree leaves are said to be green, but green is a shade of ao, like crimson is a shade of red. In another interesting cultural difference relating to colour, Japanese children always colour the sun red instead of yellow.link
Takes about 3-7 years of intensive training to become a fugu (blowfish) chef.
Fugu, also known as blowfish contain a powerful toxin 12,00 times more poisonous than cyanide. Ingestion of this toxin is deadly, and so fugu, served exclusively in Japan, are prepared with special care.
Chefs who wish to serve fugu must undertake a rigorous three-year training course and set of exams. The exams are both written and practical, and at the end, the chef must eat the fugu she has prepared. According to the BBC, only one quarter of all chefs who try pass the written test. Chefs who are color-blind or have otherwise poor vision, tremors or other physical conditions that would prevent them from proper identification of the fish’s organs or precise preparation are not permitted to become fugu chefs.
This training may not be needed in the future as some fish farms in Japan are producing non-poisonous fugu. link
Most of its territory is in the sea.
Japan is a country made up of more than 6800 islands. The islands make up less than 15 percent of Japan’s total territory. Most of its territory is in the sea.link