When you think of Japan, what comes to your mind first?
Anime? Shrines? Tokyo? Sushi?
I suppose those are really common things that is associated with Japan.
In this article I will introduce you 5 things you might not know about Japan. If you know some of them, you must be a expert in Japan xD.
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We can read books from left to right or vice versa
In Japan, we use three different characters. Kanji, Katakana, Hiragana. Probably those who start learning Japanese will start learning Hiragana first since it`s the basics. But in reality, we often use tons of Kanjis and Katakanas.
Below are the examples of books I have. You can see that we can read from left to right and right to left.
Right to left
So this book, we read it vertically and from right to left. When we read vertically, normally the direction we read is from right to left. Often, novels are in this form.
Left to right
This book, we read from left to right. When we read horizontally, normally the direction is from left to right.
We celebrate events that originated from various religions
Here`s a list of events that we generally celebrate.
January – Chinese New Year / Coming-of-age Ceremony
February – Setsubun / Valentines Day
March – Hina festival (Doll`s festival)
April – April fools
May – Children`s day / Mother`s day
June – Father`s Day
July – Tanabata (Star Festival)
October – Halloween
November – Shichigosan
December – Christmas / New Year`s Eve
You can see that we celebrate events from different cultural backgrounds. Although some of us do believe in a certain religion, it doesn`t mean we don`t celebrate other events from other religions. Also, some Japanese do not practice a particular religion. For example, I don`t believe in any religion, but I do follow what my ancestors have been practicing until now in our family.
There`s a silent understanding about escalators
Generally, we only stand in the left or the right side of the escalator to keep space for those who wants to walk up the escalator.
However, whether you open the left or the right side depends on where you live.
If you live in Kansai (for example Osaka), you have to keep to the right and allow people to walk up the escalator on the left.
If you live in the East part of Japan and also in the west except for the Kanto area, you have to keep to the left and allow people to walk up the escalator on the right.
(Although I divided by west and east, not all areas Japan follows this, so please note that this is in general and there are some parts with different rules. For example, there are areas that doesn`t really mind about this.)
Although this is a silent understanding among Japanese people, not everyone follows this and it is also considered dangerous to walk up the escalator.
Not all Japanese are shy
Japanese are often described as shy, but not all of them are.
There`s a lot of people I`ve met that is not shy.
Anime? Some of those scenes aren`t really realistic
If you have seen some Japanese Anime and thinks it`s actually real in Japan, sorry because life isn`t that bright here. Most parts are real, in terms of those school uniforms (although some uniforms aren`t as stylish) or school facilities.
However there are some scenes that`s not real. Have you seen those scenes where students go up to the rooftop? Well thoses aren`t quite real. We usually aren`t allowed to go up there since it`s dangerous. (Some schools do allow. For example, schools that doesn`t have enough playground space will put a huge fence and use the rooftop as a playground or build a pool. But I`ve never heard of schools that allows that from friends who went to different schools.)
So I hope you learned something new about Japan!
*Please note that things I talked about here can`t be applied for everyone, everywhere in Japan. Thanks for your understanding! I will update if there are new info about these topics.
Thanks for reading!