Weeaboos often get a bad rap for being out of touch with reality and over-idealising Japan. But what do ordinary Japanese people think of them?
Is Japanese smartphone culture really so different from other countries? Foreigners weigh in…
“From birth to death, a woman must never forget to display fondness and affection … a woman will surely experience a life of sorrow without it.”
Check out these drowsy drivers catching 40 winks during a typical day in Japan’s busiest city.
Believe it or not, there’s a Japanese Way of taking photos. We’ve compiled some cultural guidelines as well as language tips to help you take happy snappies on your next trip to Japan!
Today, we present five phases Western expats go through, from arriving fresh off the boat to thinking about retirement, when living in Japan.
The Japanese are known for their politeness, so it’s only natural that visitors to Japan want to know what to do, or not do, to avoid appearing rude. Check out this list of little behaviors that you won’t find in your guidebook.
Individuality is more than just writing kanji slightly differently from each other.
We asked Japanese people to tell us the things foreigners say or think about Japan that really gets their goat—and they were happy to oblige! How many of these faux pas are you guilty of?
Every time I visit my home country and talk about my life in Japan, one thing becomes clear to me: Japan remains incredibly misunderstood overseas. With this in mind, today we’ll be discussing three stereotypes of Japan: the country’s apparent disdain for those who stand out from the crowd, the notion that Japan is a strict society, and that the idea of ‘losing face’ is a quintessentially Asian concept.
Kyoto, which was the capital of Japan for more than 1,000 years, is one of those cities that looks beautiful no matter what time of the year it is. But out of all the seasons, autumn is by far the most popular time to visit, and now that the leaves are beginning to change people are also starting to plan trips to catch a glimpse of Kyoto’s gorgeous fall scenery.
If you happen to be one of those tourists, we have just the book for you, a unique insight into city by foreigners who now call Kyoto their home, called Amazing Kyoto.
After having lived in Japan for a number of years, you get used to the certain ways in which it smells kinda different to your home country. For example, people here tend to wear less cologne and perfume so you’re not as likely to have your nostril hairs singed by someone who has doused themselves with eau de celeb as you share a train carriage on your morning commute. On the other hand, smoking is absolutely everywhere in Japan and you can expect to come home with your hair and clothes stinking of smoke after barely an hour at your local izakaya, even if you never touch the cancer sticks yourself.
But a new survey conducted by an oral care company has found evidence that suggests one of the things foreign visitors to Japan notice is the huge number of people with bad breath! Apparently, this halitosis has left many a foreigner visitor “disappointed” with the country, whatever that means…
We all know marriage and live-in-partnerships have a lot going for them. From constant companionship to support when you’re stressed with work or family problems, the idea of cohabiting with that special someone is powerful enough to sweep even the most jaded singleton off their feet.
In Japan, where pre-marriage cohabitation is still considered somewhat taboo, married life is a serious commitment with traditional roles that involve self-sacrifice and obligation, not only to one’s partner but to their extended family. So what do the single men of Japan think about marriage versus the bachelor life? A recent survey reveals the moments men are glad they’ve never put a ring on it and the interesting reasons why.
When people visit or move to a different country, they usually find it’s different from the image they’ve conjured up in their heads. Fortunately for those interested in Japan, there are quite a few channels on YouTube devoted to bringing you a real glimpse at everyday life in the Land of the Rising Sun.
In one recent video, three prominent bloggers from the Japan vlogging community met up last week to introduce three myths that people abroad often believe about Japan.
If the idea of your loved ones leaving this earth never to return again seems unfair, then you should consider the Japanese view of the afterlife. While nothing can change death itself, it is comforting to know that in Japan there is a special time of the year when the souls of the dead come back to visit the living. This is called Bon (or Obon using the honorific “o”) a holiday period from August 12-16 (exact dates may vary depending upon location), a time when the entire country takes a break to celebrate the “festival of the dead.” It’s a lively few days when the living and the dead can once again unite to eat together, drink together and share good times.
The Bon tradition gives the country some of the unique dances that Japan is so famous for. Tokushima’s Bon dance, called Awa Odori, for example, draws over one million tourists every year. Traditional Bon entertainment is so lively, colorful and intriguing that a Bon dance is a must-see on every traveler’s itinerary.
Today we’ll introduce you to a five things you should know about Obon. Needless to say, it’s a very exciting time to be in Japan as a tourist!
Japan has a lot of unique customs, and not all of them make sense to newcomers. Eating fried chicken on Christmas Eve, anyone? How about the weird ritual of girls giving chocolate to guys on Valentine’s Day (do guys really like chocolate more than we girls do?).
But it turns out that there are plenty of customs that even Japanese people think are a waste of time. Here’s the top seven worst offenders, and why they are so annoying…
With our Japan Wish competition winner Ashley now in Kyoto, the former capital of Japan, she now has access to many of Japan’s most popular tourist destinations, like Kinkakuji, or the Golden Pavillion, that we hope she makes her way to sometime during her stay.
This temple, which gets its name from the gold leaf that covers the upper two stories of the pavilion, was built during the Muromachi period (1337–1573), when much of the traditional Japanese art and culture recognized today began to flourish thanks to beneficial relationships between Japan and China as well as the spread of Zen Buddhism. This extended to architecture as well, where ornate decorations like gold leaf on Buddhist temples acted as a purifier against pollution of the outside world and inside the mind (on top of its structural benefits against weather and decay).
Over time, Kanazawa area of Ishikawa Prefecture, which produced the gold leaf used for Kinkakuji, became Japan’s top producer in gold leaf. Even today, Kanazawa produces 99% of the country’s gold leaf, and recently a wonderful documentary highlighting this traditional art has been garnering praise online both domestically and abroad.
If there’s one thing Japanese people love more than Hollywood celebrities visiting Japan, it’s Hollywood celebrities visiting Japan and doing Japanese things.
Japanese Twitter user @syerinngamu recently posted a collection of photos of international celebrities doing just that. From wearing yukata to beating taiko drums to breaking open barrels of sake with a hammer and more, the pictures prove that nothing warms Japanese people’s hearts more than seeing someone internationally famous doing something cultural in their homeland.
One of the things I love the most about Japan is how most people here seem to have a non-ironic, totally open and serious love of all things cute. Taking the mundane and making it adorable is basically a Japanese art in and of itself; even their packaging is full of hidden messages and cute sayings.
Now, Japan’s Twitter users have been cooing over parcel company Yamato Kuroneko’s cardboard boxes, which feature adorable marching kitties that are revealed as you open the box. Because why not?
Your first trip to Japan is bound to be a whirlwind visit as you try to pack so many things into a short period of time. Do go to Tokyo and see the white-gloved train pushers, the famous Shibuya scramble crossing, and many of the scenes depicted in anime and manga. Do go to Kyoto and see the shrines and temples that are simply amazing.
But as a country that has so much to offer, it can take years to really get to know and understand Japan, even when you live here. So if you want to take your understanding of Japan a step further, we’re here to suggest a few things you’ll want to experience in order to better understand Japanese culture: things that give you insight on what’s behind the Japanese way of thinking.
These experiences will help you understand who the Japanese people are, and why they act the way they do. Get ready to move from tourist to cultural expert after the jump!