Interesting Facts About Japan

Geography of Japan
Situated in Asia, Japan is immediate neighbor to China, Russia and Korea. Consisting of many islands, the four main and prominent ones are Honshu , Hokkaido , Kyushu and Shikoku .

Of these Honshu is the largest, measuring an area of 87,805 square miles. Almost 80 percent of the Japanese population lives here. Japan’s tallest mountain Mount Fuji (3,776m) is situated here. Although the volcano here has been dormant since 1708, geologists classify it as an active volcano. Tokyo stands on the Kanto plain. The Kanto plain is Japan’s largest lowland, spreading across from the Japanese Alps to the Pacific.

Situated northernmost, Hokkaido is the second largest of the four, covering an area of 30,144 square miles. Consisting mainly of mountains and forests, this island houses just 5% of Japan's total population. The economy here depends almost entirely on fishing, forestry and dairy farming. Sapporo is the largest city and administrative centre of Hokkaido.

Situated southernmost, Kyushu is the third largest of the four, covering an area of 14,114 square miles. About 11% of the Japanese population live here.
Shikoku the smallest of the four islands.

Japan is the 60th largest country in the world, slightly bigger than Germany and about 9 times the size of the Netherlands.

History of Japan
Japan has the oldest surviving monarchy, which happens to be the oldest continuous hereditary in the world.

Japan's national flag is called the Hinomaru . The flag has a red circle against a white background. This red circle symbolizes the rising sun. The Japanese deity "Amaterasu Omikami" is a sun goddess. "Nippon", Japan's name in Japanese, means "origin of the sun".

Kimigayo, which means "The Emperor's Reign", is Japan’s national anthem. The lyrics are from a 5-line, 31-syllable poem written in the tenth century. The music was composed in 1880 by an Imperial Court musician Hiromori Hayashi and later harmonized according to the Gregorian mode.

Life expectancy in Japan is one of the highest in the world. Very few countries like Hong Kong, Singapore, San Marino, Andorra, and Macau have a slightly higher life expectancy than Japan. On an average the Japanese lives 4 years longer than the American does.

Japanese facts
Being extremely earthquake prone Japan has an average of 1500 earthquakes every year.

The number of volcanoes in Japan is approximately 200.

Most of the Japanese have rice for/with their breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Vandalism rates in Japan are among the least in the world.

A vending machine for a variety of daily requirements is installed at practically every corner in Japanese cities.

Fruits are forbiddingly expensive in Japan. You could end up paying up to $2 for a single apple or peach.

The Japanese love their pizzas topped with mayonnaise and corn.

Haiku is Japanese poetry consisting of only 3 lines.

Kendo, meaning "the way of the sword’, is Japan’s oldest form of martial arts.

Origami is an ancient Japanese art of paper folding.

Sushi (popular worldwide) is a Japanese delicacy of rice and fish dipped in vinegar, wrapped in seaweed.

Japanese always remove their footwear before entering a home. This is to keep the tatami (mat) clean. The tatami is used for sitting on while eating.

The Japanese eat with chopsticks known as hashi.

The Japanese will shop daily for their meat, fish and vegetable requirements, as they like all their food fresh and unpreserved. This is one of the prime reasons that small and medium sized refrigerators are sold the most in Japan.

Rice is a staple food and served at almost every meal.

Miso soup is an all time favorite and could be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Its main ingredients are a soybean paste dissolved in a seaweed stock.

A traditional Japanese breakfast is steamed rice topped with natto (fermented soy beans).

Tea is served with practically all meals.

Many women wear platform shoes that are 4 to 6 inches high.

Slippers are worn in the house, never shoes.

Slippers are never worn while sitting on the tatami to have your meals.

Noh, an ancient and very popular type of Japanese theatre can last for up to eight hours.

While smoking is allowed practically anywhere in Japan, you are not allowed to smoke in local trains. Long distance trains have got designated smoking zones.

Japanese do not submerge themselves into the bath tub and then lather.

They soap outside the tub and rinse it off. Only then do they submerge themselves neck deep into the hot water to refresh and relax.

Japanese use a lot of fish, beef, pork, chicken and variety of seafood in their cooking. Most of their dishes are mildly spiced, flavored with a variety of soy sauces.

Japanese drive on the left, and have their steering wheels on the right, exactly opposite of what it is in America.

In Japanese villages there is no need to send invitations for a wedding or a funeral. They are considered community events and the entire village will help in preparing the food, and taking care of all the required arrangements.

While eating in Japan never put in your chopstick upright into the bowl. In the past this was the way to offer food to the dead.

You enjoy slurping while eating, but can’t do it when people (your family, friends, office staff, guests etc. etc.) are around. Japan is the place for you to be in. Here, you are expected to slurp while having liquids such as soups. If you do not, it is considered that you do not like the food and the host may feel offended.

Finally, the Japanese are extremely courteous people. If you require something, they will go out of their way and try to help you.


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