Things I Have Learned In Japan

“I will write peace on your wings and you will fly all over the world”                                       Saduko Sasaki     (young girl who developed leukemia from Hiroshima bombing)

Things I Learned  In  Japan

Deer are sacred animals at some of the temple sites. It is believed that one of the deities came to earth on the back of a deer. They run free through the parks and are quite brazen. I would avoid bringing small children with ice cream cones.  (Nara)

Japanese love affair with cats and dogs has created a booming industry in tasteful pet funerals and cremations. The twelve billion dollar industry is expected to increase next year by ten per cent.

The police have lost the battle of banning women carrying two or more children on bicycles, as long as the bicycles are sturdy, and they are not using cell phones or umbrellas.

Kyoto University will be offering the first graduate program in Manga ( comic) studies.

The Japanese are encountering a problem with  hybrid cars and the elderly and hearing impaired. The cars  are too quiet and they don’t hear them approaching. ( and by the way, we have the same cars!!!)

In the west, the recipe for a full life is happiness. In Japan, it is satisfactory performance, duty and obligation.

Japan has never been invaded until World War 2, therefore, ninety- nine per cent of the inhabitants are Japanese. They are also the largest consumers in the world of Louis Vuitton .

Most Japanese are not religious but celebrate traditions. They pray to the ancestors (Shinto) and they pray to Buddha.  They  like to get married in churches, wear wedding dresses and celebrate Christmas.  Who doesn’t like to wear a beautiful kimono to a tea ceremony or wedding?  (Kyoto)

When you pray in a Shinto shrine, you clap to awaken the deities. When you pray in the Buddhist temple, you don’t have to clap because the statue is already there and can hear you. (Miajima, Kamakura)

The plum, the bamboo and the pine are happy trees. The cherry blossoms are not happy trees because they are only  in full bloom for one week and show how fragile life is.  (Kyoto)

The correct way to enter a teahouse is to crawl through a hole on the side to show that all who enter are equal. If you eat in a Japanese style private dining room, the waiters must kneel down to your level when they speak or serve you. They cannot be higher than you . ( Many young girls with strong knees are working.)

People who shower quickly once a day and don’t wash their hair every day are unclean by Japanese standards. Everyone seems to be carrying toothbrushes and brushing their teeth in all public bathrooms.

Autumn is the season for luck in Japan and everyone is visiting the shrines. You pay some money, get a box and shake out your fortune. If it is lucky (like mine was) you are done. If not, you tie the bad fortune on to a tree at the shrine to leave the bad luck there.  Hence , a lot of  shrine trees are covered in paper.   (Kyoto)

Everything in Japan is expensive except,  shipping your luggage overnight from place to place, no tipping,  some street fashion ( because it changes so rapidly, it has to be cheap) , and having your crown glued into your mouth for twenty-five dollars.  You have to take your shoes off before entering a dental office but you can leave your lipstick on.

If you are watching old movies in Japan, they are white and black.

Tattoos are not allowed to be shown in public at many resorts and all bath houses.

When it rains in Japan, the airlines wrap your suitcases in plastic.

Stepping on a tatami mat with shoes is like spitting in public.  (Nagaoka, Izu Penninsula)

Japanese  trains are known for their schedule and punctuality. It is usual to see foreigners looking at their watches as the train approaches because they cant believe it. The conductors used to be penalized from their salaries if they were late. One day a conductor was rushing to the station and there was a terrible accident and 100 people died on the train. They stopped that practice and instead you hear in both Japanese and English that the train will be one and half minutes late.  (Tokyo)

In the country, the trains play Disney music or whistle when the doors are closing. If you approach a train station  in the country and only the foreigners get out, know that they did not consult the schedule . The express doesn’t run after five o clock and the conductor waits for them to get back on the local.  (Yufuin)

Because Japan is surrounded by the sea, there are too many aquariums.  (Okinawa)

There are more than five million vending machines in Japan.  They sell everything from drinks to porn.

Japanese give money for weddings. It must be an even number because an odd number is considered bad luck for the marriage.

Japanese give sweets for presents because they like to give something that will be used up  and not left behind.

see also

Japanese Food

Things I’ve Learned In Tokyo

Things I’ve Learned In Okinawa and Hiroshima

ki o twu kete


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