Undoubtedly, Japan is a famous country for many reasons. Japan is known as the Land of the Rising Sun, but it could also be called the Land of singing toilets, or the country of the blue traffic light. There are so many things that make it a whole other world. So, let’s go and dig out the facts about Japan.
1. Square watermelon
They were invented back in the ’70s by a graphic designer to fit compactly in the fridge and be cut more easily. Japanese farmers grow them in special containers to get the shape. Since they’re pretty expensive, people don’t buy them as food, but rather as a decorative item.
2. Ramen noodles bath
The Yunessun Spa Resort in Hakone offers its guests the pretty unique experience of splashing around in a vat of pork soup and ramen noodles. While this may sound crazy to many people, the Japanese believe that soaking in such a bath is good for the skin because a broth made of pork is rich in collagen.
3. Bizzare flavors of Kit-kat
Chili pepper, wasabi, sweet potato, grilled corn, soybean, salt watermelon, mango, and green tea – that’s only a short list of the Kit-Kat flavors you can try in Japan. Which one would you try? Let me know in the comments!
4. Fake food
Specialists make this kind of food from plastic or wax, and it looks just as delicious as the real one. Many restaurants use fake food to display their popular dishes in the windows and attract hungry clients. Usually, these replicas cost much more than the dishes they imitate.
5. Rabbit island
Back in the ’40s, scientists brought several rabbits to Okunoshima Island to do some tests. However, later on, the animals were freed and started to multiply. Now the island is full of them and attracts a lot of tourists.
6. Purikura machine
Taking photos in a booth is nothing new, however, Japan added its own exciting twist to this experience. Their photo booths, called purikura, allow you to edit photos right on the spot, adding different backgrounds, funny stickers, or writings. Also, you can send the pictures to your cell phone.
7. People pushers
Indeed, subways and train stations get really overcrowded during rush hour. That’s why the station staff and part-time workers have to perform the routine procedure of pushing people inside trains to fit in as many passengers as possible before the doors close.
8. Umbrella parking lot
Before going inside a building, you can “park and lock” your umbrella just like you do with your bike. Now you can be sure no one will take it, and you won’t make a puddle on the floor if your umbrella is wet. Many government buildings, offices, and hotels have this sort of umbrella rack.
9. Millions of vending machines
Japan has more than 5 million of them! Mostly because they save time for people who work late hours, which is a pretty common thing there. Besides, Japanese vending machines aren’t just for snacks and soda. You can buy basically anything – from live lobsters to underwear – in these machines.
10. Tokyo's biggest resident
In 2015, Godzilla was granted citizenship in Tokyo’s Shinjuku ward. The authorities presented a special certificate stating his new residency, and also made him a job offer – Godzilla became the tourism ambassador. Later, they even installed a Godzilla head 171-feet above ground at Toho, the movie studio that made the original movie back in 1954.
11. Train delays make headlines
Undoubtedly, punctuality is a really big thing there, and train stations do everything possible to avoid delays. If a train is 5 minutes late, the railway company might have to issue a delay certificate for railway workers and passengers who missed an important appointment. And if the delay is longer than an hour, then the railway company might give an official apology in the newspapers.
12. “Silent” Karaoke
This is a special microphone with a cone that you place over your mouth. It muffles most of the sounds when you sing. It was designed for people who don’t want to wake up their neighbors, and those who feel shy about belting their favorite tunes in public.
13. Polite slurping
While in many other countries slurping is considered rude, in Japan it’s a way to show your appreciation of the dish. If you don’t slurp when you eat noodles, then the chef will think that you don’t enjoy the food, or that it’s cold.
14. Face napkins
When you eat a burger, it’s never pretty because your mouth gets covered in ketchup or mustard. Owners of one fast-food restaurant found a solution to this by serving burgers together with special napkins. They cover the faces of guests who feel a bit embarrassed about looking messy while eating.
15. Water-saving sinks
They’re located right over the toilet tanks. The idea is simple: first, you wash your hands over the sink, then it goes straight to the tank, and finally, you flush the toilet when you’ve done your business. So, you save water by using it twice.
16. Strange mayo
No, Japanese mayo doesn’t have any special recipe or ingredients. But they don’t eat it with salads, meat, and sandwiches; in Japan, people usually use it as a topping for ice cream or on pancakes.
17. Naps at work
In Japanese culture, dozing off at the workplace – or inemuri – is considered a sign of being a hard-working person who’s very committed to their job. That’s why inemuri is so common, and no one thinks it’s a bad thing. Some people even fake it!
18. World’s shortest escalator
You can find it in the basement of More’s Department Store, which is located in the city of Kawasaki. The escalator has only 5 steps and is only 33 inches tall.
19. Canned food restaurant
Eating canned food may not sound like a delicious treat for you. But there’s a whole chain of restaurants all over the country where they serve only canned food. They’re pretty popular since clients can choose from 300 varieties of food from all across the world.
20. Doll village
The village of Nagoro used to have a population of 300 people, but less than 40 residents live there now. A local artist, Tsukimi Ayano, made over 300 life-size dolls, most of which look like former residents; and they’re located in various states of action. For example, there’s a whole classroom of them in the village school that was closed a while ago.