#1. Japan Has Over 6,800 Islands
Photo Credit: Stuart Rankin@flickr.com
Honshu is the main and largest island. There are over 6,000 tiny islands and 430 are uninhabited. There are islands around the Tokyo Bay, Osaka Bay, Ise Bay, the Pacific Ocean and much more.
#2. Japanese Trains are the Most Punctual in the World
Photo Credit:Andrew K. Smith@flickr.com
The average delay for a train in Japan is 18 seconds. When trains are delayed the conductor will make an apology announcement. If a salary man is late to work because of delayed train, he has to get a “delay certificate”. Since so many people rely on public transit, trains on time are taken for granted. Some people argue that the public puts too much pressure on the rail staff, as a result accidents happen such as the derailing on a train in 2005 in Amagasaki.
#3. Japan has Over 50,000 People Who are Over 100 Years Old
The average of Japan’s population is rising every year. There is even a national holiday, “Respect for the Aged Day”. In 2012, the amount of people 100 hit the 50,000 benchmark.
#4. Square Watermelons are Grown
Photo Credit: email@example.com
Japanese farmers grow square watermelons to improve efficiency in small refrigerators. They were invented by graphic designer Tomoyuki Ono in 1978 and presented in a gallery in Ginza. The popularity led to an increase and price, so they cost about three times more than a normal watermelon. There are other shapes such as hearts and pyramids.
#5. About 24 Billion Chopsticks are Used Every Year
24 billion pairs of chopsticks is equivalent to 200 pairs per person yearly. It is more recommended to use reusable chopsticks.
#6. 5 Million Vending Machines
There are five million vending machines in Japan, that means there is 25 per person. They are rarely even vandalized or not working. The most common thing to buy from a vending machine is a soft drink, coffee or water. There are beer and alcohol vending machines for sale from 5 AM to 11 PM and there are vending machines for cigarettes. Some more unusual items are uncooked rice, batteries, condoms, food, videos, and adult magazines.
#7. Godzilla is an Official Citizen of Japan
Photo Credit: Daniel Ramirez@flickr.com
Godzilla is a citizen of Kabukicho in Shinjuku Ward. Shinjuku Ward has was population of 17,000. Godzilla was born April 9, 1954. Godzilla is in Kabukicho to entertain and watch over the neighborhood. He is good at attracting visitors from all around the world.
#8. High Literacy Rate
The literacy rate in Japan is almost 100%. Even though school is only mandatory until 9th grade, almost everyone can read and write.
#9. Longest Monarchy in Japan
Emperor Jimmu was the first emperor of Japan. His accession is dated at 660 BCE. According to Japanese mythology he is a descendant of Amaterasu. Based on his accession, February 11 is National Founders Day. Emperor Jimmu led a military expedition from Hyuga near the Inland Sea, he captured Yamato, and that became his headquarters.
#10. The Reason Why Cherry Blossom Trees are Planted Around River Banks
A man from the Edo period came up with the idea, if many cherry blossom treats are planted near river banks people will gather. This prevents the river from overflowing because the soil gets harder.
#11. No Janitors at Schools
Photo Credit: miyakomainichi.com
Students in Japan clean their school and there are no janitors at all. It teaches the kids a sense of morality, ethics, community and a sense of responsibility.
#12. Intense Pokemon Episode Caused Seizures
In 1997, 685 kids were rushed to the hospital after watching an intense Pokemon episode that caused dizziness, vomiting, and seizures.
#13. Banned From Hot Springs
Many hot springs do not allow customers with tattoos. In Japan, tattoos are associated with yakuza groups.
#14. More Paper is Used for Manga than Toilet Paper
Manga is a billion dollar industry in Japan. Each book cost about four dollars and almost a third of the total output from publishing companies in manga. Over 556 million copies are published every year.
#15. Mario is 26 Years Old
The world famous character we all know and love is only 26 years old. Mario is a short Italian plummer who lives in the mushroom kingdom. He is well-known for combat and jumping.
#16. Floating and Fast Bullet Trains
In October 1964, the first commercial bullet train or shinkansen started service. It was finished just in time for the first Tokyo Olympics, the initial speed was up to 210 km/h (130 mph). Even today Japan is still is leading in high-speed train technology with the L0 Series magnetic levitation (maglev) trains, which set a land speed record for rail vehicles of 603 km/h (375 mph) on April 21, 2015. The L0 shinkansen is due to operate starting 2027.
#17. Norway Introduced Salmon Sushi to Japan in the 80’s
Sashimi was generally raw tuna and sea bream, salmon was never eaten raw. Japanese considered it to be too lean for sushi. Salmon was always cooked before eating. Later, raw salmon became so popular that the Norwegian seafood market prospered.
#18. Totoro Originally had a Different Name
Photo Credit:jennifer Broun Conor@flickr.com
Originally the character’s name was “Miminzuku (ミミンズク)”. Hayao Miyazaki’s friend has a daughter, she would mispronounce the city name “Tokorozawa” in Saitama prefecture and call it “Totorozawa”. Supposedly this is how the name for the character Totoro from “My Neighbor Totoro” came into place. Totoro is 1302 years old.
#19. People in Japan has the Worst Vision in the World
Genetics plays a part in bad vision. Another part could be kids study so much and sometimes they study in dark rooms. That makes eye sight worse.
#20. Same Sex Relationships were Common Among Samurai
Same sex relationship were very common among samurai. Marriages between a man and a woman were almost always political. Male samurai were advised to sleep with their sword to protect themselves from their wives. Many same sex relationships were between apprentice and teacher. The Shinto religion says nothing about homosexuality, and even in Buddhist temples where sex was forbidden, it was seen that sex between a man and a women was forbidden. There are countless mentions of male same sex activities in art and literature.