In Japanese elementary schools, lunchtime means serving classmates, cleaning the school 【Video】

Last month, we took a look at how in Japan many children are expected to commute to school without their parents’ help starting in elementary school. That’s not the only amazing display of responsibility that’s part of everyday life for Japanese kids, though.

Not only do Japanese schools not have school busses, they also don’t have food-serving or cleaning staff. That means it’s the students themselves who’re responsible for distributing school lunches and keeping the building clean, and the diligence with which they go about their tasks would put many full-blown adults to shame, as shown in this video of all the things Japanese grade schoolers are expected to do during a typical school day in addition to studying.

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Top 10 things even Japanese people think they’re too obsessive about

It’s no exaggeration to say that Japan is pretty obsessive when it comes to societal safety and manners. Japanese people often go to ridiculous/disgusting lengths to stay safe and to make sure that visitors are aware of all the unspoken rules that permeate throughout the country.

But sometimes it’s all just too much, even for the native Japanese themselves. So we present to you a list of the top 10 things that even Japanese people think they’re too obsessive over. Are you just as paranoid as they are, or would you be considered a carefree spirit in Japan? Read on to find out!

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Japan: one of the few countries in the world where married couples must have the same surname

With Japan consistently appearing in the lowest ranks for gender equality in industrialised nations, the adoption of Prime Minister Abe’s recent bill to promote the role of women in the workplace has been a welcome development in what remains a traditionally patriarchal society.

What the headlines fail to mention, however, are the archaic laws entrenched in the country’s Civil Code that continue to hold women back, including same surname requirements upon marriage, and differences in the minimum marriageable age and re-marriage prohibition period for both sexes.

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women has again called for a revision of Japan’s current laws, slamming the country for being one of the few industrialised nations where it remains illegal for married couples to have different surnames.

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Domestic culture shock – 30 things people from Hokkaido experience when they move to Tokyo

When foreigners first move to Tokyo, they’re often amazed and overwhelmed by Japan’s biggest bustling metropolis. But sometimes culture shock can be more localized, and just because you haven’t left the country doesn’t mean there aren’t any surprises in store when you move to a new town.

Hokkaido has more than five times the area of any other Japanese prefecture, and the lowest population density in the country to boot. So when someone born and raised on the northern island moves down south to Tokyo, which is more than 90 times as crowded as Hokkaido, he’s sure to be surprised by a lot of things, and here are 30 of them.

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Poll asks for the top 10 times Japanese men are disappointed in their adult daughters

No matter how much you love your kids, no matter how strongly you want to protect them and guide towards what you believe are the best decisions, at some point they’re going to grow up and lead their own lives. Past a certain age, you just have to face the reality that your while they’ll always be your children, they’re also now adults, and you have to accept them as the people they’ve chosen to become.

Or, alternatively, you could harbor resentment towards them, like the men polled for this survey of the top 10 ways Japanese fathers are disappointed in their daughters.

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How honest is Japanese society? So honest this train station is fine with a non-closable “gate”

A while back, we talked about how it’s common in Japan for people to place dropped property in a place where it’ll be easy to spot when the owner retraces his steps looking for it. There’s hardly any fear that anyone else will take it, whether the item in question is as cheap as a mitten or something much more valuable.

But such admirable conduct isn’t limited to private citizens’ interactions with one another. A recently tweeted snapshot of a train station ticket gate has been getting laughs in Japan for its unusual design, and while it is kind of funny-looking, it also shows the extremely honest character of Japanese society.

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Top 11 tweets to make you feel glad you don’t work in Japan

It’s no secret that working in Japan can be pretty miserable. Long hours, unpaid overtime, power harassment, and mandatory drinking parties with coworkers are just some of the factors that contribute to workers all over Japan leading stressful lives.

But misery loves company, so that’s why we present the top 11 tweets to make you feel glad you don’t work in Japan. Some of them are attempts at encouragement, some of them are commiserating, and some of them are so painfully sad that you can’t help but cry. So read on and see how your own work compares to Japan!

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Short documentary explores the significance of Japanese children being independent from a young age 【Video】

Many foreigners in Japan are shocked to see young Japanese schoolchildren walking to and from school by themselves, or even taking the trains or buses alone. While these sights would probably lead to more than a few concerned stares in many countries overseas, they’re perfectly typical scenes in Japan.

Australian TV channel SBS 2 recently shared a mini-documentary titled “Japan’s independent kids” on YouTube, which gives a brief look at the differences between one young Japanese girl’s commute to school versus that of a young Australian girl, while examining some of the societal factors that lead to differing expectations regarding independence for children in each country.

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Runny curry, no pudding spoons among complaints of Japanese prison inmates

From how often we talk about food and hot springs here on RocketNews24, you’ve probably surmised that, as a nation, Japan is pretty into bathing and dining. Those passions aren’t exclusive to law-abiding members of Japanese society, either, as a recent survey of inmate complaints at prisons in Japan found several focused on meals and baths, with requests for better curry and longer soaks in the tub.

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Son of the richest man in China: Escaping the Chinese system ‘would be suicide’

Wang Sicong, the son of the richest man in China, did an incredibly frank interview with the BBC for its three-part documentary on Chinese youth.

We caught the interview via Shanghaiist.

He said that for people in his generation, escaping China’s strict political system “would be suicide.”

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No booze please, we’re Japanese: studies show Japanese people are drinking less than ever

One of the things you may notice when you come to Japan is how much drinking seems to be going on. Certain Japanese societal circles (the workplace, university clubs, etc) run more smoothly with the help of alcoholic lubrication in the form of after-hours “drinking parties” to facilitate team-building and bonding—it’s called nomication (or nominication), a portmanteau of “nomu” (to drink) and “communication”.

So we were quite surprised to discover recently that Japan’s level of alcoholic beverage consumption is actually way, way down. But why?

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The JK business: New documentary examines the Japanese schoolgirl industry

From traditional culture to the latest in “Cool Japan,” Japan has a lot to boast about. Yet there’s another side to the island nation which has stirred up international contention over the past few decades.

Even those unfamiliar with specific components of Japanese popular culture have likely heard about the popularity of high school girls in Japan, as school uniform-clad girls often appear in the latest advertising, music videos, TV anime, and other forms of the country’s media. Dig a little deeper and you can also find a service industry which involves high school girls providing a range of services to older men in return for payment. Known colloquially as the “JK business” (the “JK” is derived from joshikosei, or “female high school student”), this phenomenon often includes such services as “JK walking” or “JK massages,” which may or may not be veiled fronts for prostitution in actuality.

Today, we’d like to introduce you to the darker side of the JK business through the lens of a short foreign documentary which has raised considerable debate online.

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Is a woman “middle-aged” at 30? 40? 50? Japanese men and women give different answers in poll

You may have heard that Japan is obsessed with youth, which is ironic for a country with an ageing population , this is ironic. In fact, Japan is purported to have the highest proportion of elderly citizens compared to all other countries. With so many older folks making up a vast percentage of the population, why is Japan’s society still often casually ageist, particularly towards women?

A recent poll asked “at what age does a woman become middle-aged?” and the results are extremely telling.

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Just when you thought you knew it all – 17 life-changing lessons learned in Japan

When you first set foot in Japan, it’s hard not to be impressed by the efficiency and social order. The streets are clean, trains run on time, and the people are quiet and polite, yet possess enough of the bizarre to be intriguing (cosplay, line-ups for chicken ramen-flavored ice cream or Lotteria 5-pattied tower burger anyone?).

Living in Japan, or even just visiting, can be a life-changing experience. No one returns to their country the same person as when they left. Here are some of the things that make such an impression on foreigners, they cause us to think a second time, and alter the way we think, act, or view the world. In short, they prompt us to make life changes. Just when you thought you knew it all…

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Video of kids reacting to strangers dropping their wallets might restore your faith in humanity

For the most part, Japanese society stresses being considerate and courteous. 99 times out of 100, that makes Japan a great place to live, but in certain situations those virtues can be taken to such extremes they actually end up contrary to their original sentiments. For example, part of being courteous is not bothering others, but as I’ve talked about before, in rare instances that bit of well-meaning deference can get warped into not getting involved in other people’s affairs even when they’re clearly in a quandary.

But while adults sometime stumble while walking the tightrope between forcing unasked for assistance on someone and helping those in need, what about children? That’s the question posed in this video showing a group of kids reacting to a stranger dropping his or her wallet at the bus stop, and the outcome just might restore a bit of your faith in humanity.

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“Deflowering” services for virgin women are now a thing in Japan, apparently

In modern-day Japan, entering into the marriage or dating market without any prior experience puts ladies at a serious disadvantage from the start. With many women living with their parents until they get married, and with people getting married later in life, there’s a rise of women who remain virgins into their thirties.

Now, there’s apparently a service whereby women can hire someone to take their virginity in order to raise their market appeal to future potential husbands…

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No doctors or hairdressers! Survey asks Japanese women what professions they don’t want to date

Japan is a country that values fiscal responsibility and economic security, and that can influence how people judge a possible romantic partner. For example, we previously looked at a survey in which an overwhelming number of women said they’d rather date a man who’s ugly but rich than a guy who’s handsome and unemployed.

That doesn’t mean that just any old job will do, though. A new poll asked Japanese women what jobs were deal-breakers for a potential boyfriend, and the resulting list includes some surprisingly high-paying professions.

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Japanese netizens rewrite fairy tales in modern corporate situations so real they make us weep

In this modern age and day, most of us spend our days running the rat race and getting worn down by work and school, which is probably why some of us fantasize about the happy endings of fairy tales to get away from real life for a while. But then reality slaps us in the face and reminds us that the birds and mice aren’t going to help you with your chores even if you can sing like Celine Dion, Prince Charming is not coming to whisk you away from your office desk, and your bills aren’t going to vanish even if you fall into a deep, deep sleep.

If the heroes and heroines in fairy tales existed in modern-day and had to work like the rest of us, would their stories still be filled with all that magical glitz and romance? Perhaps not. Japanese Twitter users have been re-interpreting some fairy tales from a corporate perspective, which was supposed to be a creative and entertaining activity, but the new tales were so close to home they couldn’t even laugh over them.

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Sociologist says high school hierarchy keeps Japanese adults away from their home towns

Ijime, or bullying, is sadly as much a part of Japanese school life as it is in any other country. In Japan, too, each school has a sort of social hierarchy, where the “cool kids” often pick on or exclude the nerdy/unsporty kids, and everyone gets shuffled around until the “stronger” kids are on the top and the “weaker” kids are on the bottom.

But in a society like Japan, where group mentality is so important, you’d be mistaken for thinking that after high school everyone just flutters off to become their own special snowflake and cast off the mental wounds of a tough adolescence.

In other words, if someone was bullied in school, there’s a chance they’ll keep on being bullied by the same people right on through their working days if they stay in the same town. So how does this “high school hierarchy” continue to affect the lives of adults in Japan?

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Honest Tokyo: 3.3 billion yen of lost cash handed in to police in 2014 alone

Imagine this. You’re at a fireworks festival with almost one million people in attendance. Everyone is scrambling for a place to sit and stampeding for the exit when it’s over. In between standing in line for a tasty treat and being dazzled by the fireworks spectacle, you realize something terrible. You’ve lost your wallet. Now what?

In Japan, you just go to the nearest police box, or koban! In 2014 alone, a stunning amount of cash and lost possessions was turned into police stations around Tokyo. In cash alone, over 3.3 billion yen was turned in. That’s a whopping US$27.8 million picked up and taken to the authorities. Could that happen anywhere else in the world?

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