Part of what makes Japan so unique is their tradition of passing on traditions from generation to generation. This is why Japan never loses its individuality in spite of being such a modern country. It makes us wonder whether Japanese people are from another planet or possibly from the future. How they approach ordinary things never fails to surprise us. So, here are 13 Japanese traditions that are far beyond our understanding:
1 Japanese people value aesthetics
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In Japan traditions, aesthetics are really important for people. Japanese traditions and culture consists of several basic terms which are used in determining the essence of beauty. A thoughtful approach to life, highlighting simplicity, the integrity of people and nature are the most important aesthetics for Japanese people. In fact, this station was specifically designed so that people can get out of the train and take some time to enjoy the wonderful landscape.
2 Japan doesn’t have a term for looting
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During natural disasters in Japan there have been no reported cases of looting, despite the country being prone to earthquakes. Japanese dictionaries don’t even have a term for such an action. Even if you try to search for- “looting in Japan” on Google, the only answers you will have displayed on your screen are foreign articles which tell you that houses and shops in Japan are never robbed. The Japanese have focused on building a system which ensures compliance with the rules, courtesy, and discipline even when faced with extreme conditions.
3 There are several levels of politeness in the Japanese language
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The Japanese language consists of 4 levels of respect: respectful, colloquial, humble, and polite. In fact, there happens to be special rules for choosing the correct type of speech. In this regards, a younger person should always use the polite type of speech when conversing with an elder person. This rule is also applicable in a sibling relationship. A person always says the term “sumimasen” before starting a conversation. It basically means “excuse me” and in a sense a person begs your pardon in advance for taking your time.
4 There are hardly any guest workers in Japan
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Japan is one such country which hardly ever had any guest workers owing to the fact that only professionals were allowed to work in the country and their minimum salary was much more than even that of the locals’ average salary. However, hiring foreigners in companies in Japan was made possible by the Japanese parliament. In order to get a work visa in Japan, candidates first have to pass a language and professionals skills test. But, low-skilled migrants are not allowed to bring along their families.
5 It is a common practice in Japan, to adopt adult men
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The Japanese tradition of adopting adult men dates back to the 13th century in Japan. Family plays a very important role in Japanese society which is why there is a rule that states that sons run their families and family businesses. Families with only daughters usually practice this tradition of adopting adult men as the heir to the family business and also to expand the family tree and get new heirs who will later inherit the family business. In fact, the Chairman of Suzuki Motor Corporation, Osamu Suzuki is the 4th adopted heir of the corporation.
6 Japanese gardens are a kind of art
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The main gardening principles for Japanese gardens were established in the 13th century. People considered soil to be a very valuable resource in Japan and tried to use every inch of it. Japanese people like being in harmony with nature which led them to create beautiful gardens with miniature ponds featuring colored koi fish and turtles. These little gardens perfectly symbolized the very essence of nature.
7 Japan has many amazing animals
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If you are an animal lover then Japan is the country for you. There are many cafes in Japan where you can pet dogs, cats, and birds while enjoying a nice cup of coffee. Up north, in Hokkaido, you can even find a variety of unusual inhabitants like red pandas, flying squirrels, red squirrels, crying rabbits and many more.
8 The Disneyland in Tokyo is one of the best in the world
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The first Disney Park built outside the USA is the Disneyland in Japan. To a certain extent it does resemble the Californian Disneyland, but it is much bigger. Among all the Disney lands in the world, Tokyo’s Disneyland is considered to be the most beautiful. They even have a Disney Sea Waterpark nearby. You can locate it today on the Tokyo Bay shore and it is now called the Tokyo Disney Resort. It now is one of the most expensive theme parks in the world.
9 Employment for life is common in Japan
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A lifetime employment contract is often signed by an employee in public institutions and in big companies. As long as a person is healthy and active enough to their job, they will be allowed to continue with their duties. A Japanese person usually works with the same company that they applied to after graduating from university, until they retire. Employees stay tightly connected with their companies and understand very well that their welfare depends on their company’s prosperity.
10 It is really important to admit your mistakes in Japan
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There are many codes of honor and ideals which dictate the samurai way of life and the collective term for it is Bushido. So, one must always accept and admit it when they have made a mistake as it plays a crucial role in the lives of Japanese people. In Japanese history there have been many cases where politicians have resigned from their posts due to not being able to fulfill their campaign promises. Yukio Hatoyama resigned from his prime ministerial post only after 8 months.
11 In Japan you can even organize a Pokemon wedding
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When it comes to having bizarre and unusual events, Japan happens to be one such country which is quite well known for having them. You will even find some Japanese weddings based on famous video games or anime. The Pokemon theme featuring huge Pikachus with an official stylized marriage certificate has recently become a popular trend. Also, the wedding planning company has officially united with The Pokemon Company in Japan.
12 The greatest number of centenarians is in Japan
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The life expectancy in Japan is probably the highest in the world with 84 years on average. Even today you can find more than 30,000 people who are older than 100 years still alive and well in Japan. The reasons for this are because of the advancement in healthcare throughout the years. Another reason is also due to the high welfare of citizens. It’s also because Japanese people have started to pay more attention to their elderly by developing different gerontology centers which study various aspects of human aging and what can be done to fight against it.
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On reddit a user once posted a picture of a man buying an omelet for the user’s elderly father. This is what the user wrote on “A kind man insisted on buying an omelet for my elderly father while we were in Tokyo market. Can anyone tell me why?” There were many comments in which people said that this was a normal thing in Japan and one such reply told the user that the Japanese man probably saw your father and knew he was a visiting foreigner which is why he wanted to him both something he thought he might like and would be a good memory of his trip to Japan.