Japan is a beautiful country with a history that goes back thousands of years. It also has a robust and vibrant culture that guides everyday behaviors and events. Some aspects of Japanese culture can appear weird or a bit mysterious to foreigners who may have a hard time figuring them out. Here are some quirkier bits of Japanese culture to interest you (you may also want to keep an eye for them if you are ever traveling in Japan).
Office Workers Tend To Dress The Same
There isn’t any hard and set rule stating that this must, but the Japanese culture is rich in conservative, social mores that guide the community’s behavior. A dark suit and tie that doesn’t draw much attention is their office workers’ go-to attire, blending in a culture that prizes seclusion and an appreciation for not overdrawing too much attention on oneself.
Umbrellas Are Mostly Transparent
This culture might present a rather shocking sight for most people used to fabric umbrellas. However, a transparent plastic umbrella is an everyday sight in Japanese streets during a rainy period. Plastic umbrellas owe their prevalence to the fact they are cheap and sold at most stores, so they can be easily picked up on most days when the rain catches you unawares.
Stone Statues Wearing Bibs
Statues are pretty standard in most cultures, but it’s not every day you come across one wearing a bib. Referred to as Ojizo San by the locals, they represent deities believed to protect travelers, little children, and the unborn. You are likely to run into them along paths and at cemeteries, temples, and shrines. The red bibs are placed there by locals to help ward off evil.
Brand Storefronts Can Look different.
Big brand stores usually sought after distinctive paintings as well as signage that represent their trademarks, making them far easier to notice and stand out. However, the Japanese culture prizes conservativeness and uniformity, so big stores such as Lawsons design their storefront to blend in with their surroundings and generally opt for a more subdued appearance.
Trash Cans Anywhere?
In many cultures, trash cans are a ubiquitous feature of public life. They help keep the streets clean. In Japan, however, you would be hard-pressed to find any. This can represent some inconvenience and a shock to first-time observers, but trash cans were removed from the public to reduce fears they could be used to hide terrorist weapons following a 1992 subway attack.
Locals Sprinkle Water On The Streets
This stems from a desire to keep temperatures cool enough as well as to reduce dust swirling around. It originated from tea preparation ceremonies during the Edo period.
KFC Is a Big Tradition During The Christmas Festivity
While a KFC takeout doesn’t sound like a first-choice option for a Christmas meal, they are a popular Christmas feature in japan where you may even have to book your KFC Christmas delivery weeks in advance.
‘How are you’ Is Not a Prominent Feature Of Conversations
Inquiring after the affairs of others is a conversation opener in many cultures, but the Japanese, which encourages minding one’s business and not probing excessively, are a culture of people who will not probe into your affairs if you don’t want to share the information yourself.
Drinking Is a Big Part Of Business Life
This may come as a little shock as most people in other cultures may prefer to be clear-headed when doing business deals. However, in Japan, drinking together is seen as a great way to form social bonds, and social bonds play a crucial role in business transactions in Japan.
The Shutter Sound On Your Phone Cannot Be Switched Off
This is an inbuilt feature to most Japanese made or sold phones. Though no law officially requires this, this was put in place by significant phone brands to reduce the surreptitious capture of people on camera that was behind many pervert attacks.