Japan is an island nation located off the east coast of the
Asian continent. The total land area is roughly equal in size
to the US state of Montana. Only about 16% of the land is fertile, the
rest being mostly forest-covered mountains. Japan is located on the
western rim of the "Ring of Fire" and as a result suffers from frequent
earthquakes and volcanic activity. There are four main islands - Honshu,
often referred to as the mainland, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku.
constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary government
127 Million (July 2006 est.)
Japanese (Ok, so this seems obvious but the United States has what seems
observe both Shinto and Buddhist 84%, other 16% (including Christian
47 total -- Aichi, Akita, Aomori, Chiba, Ehime, Fukui, Fukuoka, Fukushima,
Gifu, Gunma, Hiroshima, Hokkaido, Hyogo, Ibaraki, Ishikawa, Iwate, Kagawa,
Kagoshima, Kanagawa, Kochi, Kumamoto, Kyoto, Mie, Miyagi, Miyazaki,
Nagano, Nagasaki, Nara, Niigata, Oita, Okayama, Okinawa, Osaka, Saga,
Saitama, Shiga, Shimane, Shizuoka, Tochigi, Tokushima, Tokyo, Tottori,
Toyama, Wakayama, Yamagata, Yamaguchi, Yamanashi
99% Japanese; 1% other including Korean, Chinese, Filipino, and Brazilian
(Yes Brazilians. In the 1990s Brazilians of Japanese decent returned
to work in the industrial sector.)
Did you know that it is not considered rude
if you slurp your soup?
It is acceptable to pick you nose and "use
the bathroom" in public but to blow your nose or give someone a kiss
is considered very rude.
There are approximately 200 volcanoes
in Japan and approximately 1500 earthquakes are recorded ever year.
Minor earthquakes happen at least 3 times a day - some you feel, others
The traditional toilets in Japan look like
men's urinals inserted into the floor (oh just wait until you
see that picture!). In order to use them, one
must squat over them. But do not fear, houses have "western toilets"
and do not be surprised if your toilet seat is heated.
The ratio of vending machines to people in
Japan is 1 to 23. Remember, the population of Japan is just
shy of 127
million. That's a whole lotta vending machines! Everything
and anything can be bought at a vending machine including alcohol, juice
drinks, cigarettes, hot dogs, comic books, and even clothing.
And how does one pay for the item? Well, wave your cell phone
in front of the panel, of course! Certain cell phones in Japan
have a chip inserted that allows you to use your phone as a credit card.
Rice is eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Things NOT to do with your chopsticks: Point
at people (considered bad luck), pass food around (only used at funerals
to pass bones of dead around), use them as drumsticks (duh), and stick
them into a bowl of rice upright (this is done only at funerals to feed
The attendants at the gas stations bow when
Using a business card to introduce yourself
is not uncommon.
In Japan, the whole family uses the same
bath water. Guests are given the honor of being first to bathe.
Bath water is not drained until everyone has bathed.
It is polite
to deny a compliment. So if someone says, "You look great in
that shirt.", you are suppose to say, "Oh no I don't."