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japan-no-further-description-required

Michael over at Gakuranman.com is hosting this month’s “Japan Blog Matsuri” – to be honest, I’ve never taken part in one of these (kudos to Michael for all the reminder e-mails and Tweets), and I’m already breaking every single rule he put down. “Your blog post can’t be more than 200 words… You can only pick one thing… I’m Briiiiitish” (you have to pretend I’m talking in a fabulous British accent for that one). But, really though, you should go check out the Gakuranman and all his blogging adventures, because it’s a pretty neat site, which somehow relates bioluminescence to Japan. So here goes with the actual post (these words don’t count towards my word limit, yo!), 10 absolutely crazy things about Japan:

10 “Crazy” Things About Japan

Of course, I say a lot of these things tongue in cheek. I also am comparing them to Western culture, which really just means they’re different and not crazy. I just used the crazy word to get you to read this post. Did it work?

  1. Japan is full of little Butt Pirates: Watch your butt, because little kids love sticking their finger up it. It’s called Kancho, and it’s not pleasant, especially if you don’t know what’s going on. Yarrr.
  2. Japan is the only place with four distinct seasons: This comes from the fabulous files of the Nihonjinron. People don’t really believe most of the stuff here anymore (like Japanese evolved from a separate superior monkey, Japanese brains are different thus only Japanese can truly learn Japanese, etc), but I’ve found that the season one is the most prevalent of the bunch.
  3. There are #$#$%ing Gigantic Hornets: These hornets are not to be messed with. They’re huge, deadly, and wipe the floor with weak European bees. I fear.
  4. Monkeys like hot baths: There are lots of hot springs in Japan, and in the last fifty years monkeys figured out they could stay warm in them. I really want to go to there.
  5. Japanese novels remind me of LSD: Enough said?
  6. Japanese Commercials: I love ‘em – Just do a search on YouTube for “Japanese Commercials” and you’ll wonder where the last six hours went.
  7. Everything seems to have Mayonnaise on it: Pizza, sushi, mayo on mayo with extra mayo… You name it. There are even all-mayonnaise restaurants in existence.
  8. People Bathe at night: Maybe you don’t think this one is weird – this is how I got to grow up, and it was wonderful in college because I got the dorm showers all to myself. How do you sleep at night being dirty, anyways?
  9. Christmas is ridiculous…ly awesome: What? You don’t get a Christmas cake, celebrate Santa’s birthday, and get your Christmas KFC chicken? You’re missing out.
  10. Everything is available via vending machines: Drinks, hot drinks, hot food, t-shirts, used underwear, alcohol, cigarettes, toys, porn, and who knows what else. In fact, I don’t want to know.

There you go Gakuranman. I hope you enjoy this last-minute (which post isn’t last minute?), horribly rule-breaking post! I did try hard though, I kept the actual matsuri section somewhat close to two-hundred words, right? But, of course, I love his blog and you should too! Besides, you get to see all the other things that people think are crazy about Japan (starting on Monday now now now, I think).

So what have you found “crazy” (i.e. very different) about Japan in your experiences or readings?

  • http://inventorspot.com/writers/steve_levenstein WordsnCollision

    Hey no problem Koichi, i'm often checking out Tofugu for topic sources
    anyway and when i saw the “10 Best” post had a link to my Mayonnaise
    Kitchen article, well, the little light-bulb went off. Tofugu is my
    leading traffic source today, woo-hoo!

    So, just returning the favor and it's my pleasure to do so. Could happen
    again some time, ya never know ;o)

    ..Steve

  • http://www.japaninmotion.com/ japaninmotion

    ah yes the four seasons….wow you're from Chicago? does Chicago has four seasons like Japan? well if you're going to compare a whole country to a city I guess yes….but I live in tokyo and in the winter things grow. . You have winter flowers and vegis….in Chicago…hell i try not to go cuz of the ball shattering cold. I think it snowed once last winter and the snow never stuck. They are f…ing retarded bout this shitty question

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  • gray

    Well this article was posted on a Japanese news website and they interpreted it as “foreigners amazed that Japan is the only country with four seasons.” Talk about misinterpretation to their favor…

  • Zhana :]

    What exactly are you talking about? o.O
    Where are you getting this Chicago business? If you're talking about Koichi, as far as I know, I don't think he's even from Chicago. Not that I would know. Cuz im not a stalker or anything >_>

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  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    Yeah, the Chicago thing confuses me too, haha.

  • aarond10ster

    Just stumbled across this and it made me laugh and think back a bit..

    Theres a really cool monkey park in Arashiyama, Kyoto if anyone's interested. No hot springs there but they do a feeding session at lunch time and there are literally hundreds of the little critters running around.

    Excuse the shameless self promotion but I also just uploaded my first “taste of japan” story as well that has a few interesting, yet annoying things I'm guessing others will either relate to or be interested in: http://www.aarondrew.com/blog/2009/08/28/ineffi

  • ren

    I'm a U.S. ex-pat in Tokyo and these are my observations of things I find strange about Tokyo, Japan.

    ) Tokyo doesn't have sidewalks on every street. It is very dangerous as the police in no way enforces traffic safety. I'm talking about drivers running red lights, speeding around young people walking or riding a bike, and other dangerous activity. There was just an election and nobody seemed to think this was a problem — though 3 children were killed by speeding cars just last month. In some areas, to atone for the death of a pedestrian there are large sidewalks on both sides of the street with barriers. Tokyo seriously needs standardization of sidewalks. Nothing fancy, just a white line wide enough for a single bike or walker to get through and a cheap green bar every 2 meters to discourage speeders. This is an affordable solution and will actually create more driving space in many areas while keeping kids safe.

    ) Tokyo is great because of its ban of firearms. However, some very bitter salary men and older women are openly hostile to everyone because they know they are not likely to be shot. Constant drunkenness here is considered to be a part of the culture. And people often ignore the harassment of people just trying to get home from work by seriously inebriated assholes who secretly want to die because they have no dreams.

    ) Many people in Tokyo just shower. But they shower at night. It just doesn't make sense if you're sweating in the heat of summer while having sex. You can distinctly smell this on the train every morning.

    ) People in Tokyo don't believe in vegetables. Unless you are eating Wa-Fu, a Japanese traditional meal, then you get maybe 5 pieces of a vegetable on your plate.

    ) Chicken breast meat isn't popular in Tokyo. Chicken just isn't very popular unless it is fatty and on a stick.

    ) Many Japanese people, especially older people like poor food. Lots of rotten mayonnaise, rotten eggs, baloney, fatty bacon, or deep fried “tonkatsu” crap.

    ) Actually Manga and Anime is not popular at all with mainstream Tokyo. The opinion is that people who like these things are still immature. Adult Manga and Anime is Akiba-Ke. Akihabara, Tokyo Style — not cool.

    ) Onsen or Hot Springs would be better if everyone could wear a bathing suit and both men and women could sit together in the hot bath. I don't know about you but I don't like to sit around and watch naked men get in and out. I enjoy the healing volcanic water though.

    All in all, I am quite happy living in Tokyo. These are mostly silly complaints. I've got National Medical Insurance even though I am a foreign national. I don't have to worry about guns. Families are happy and thriving here. Employees are still being paid survivable wages. There is still respect between executives and operations workers. The good list goes on and on.

  • mikimiki

    Actually, they are made of wax!

  • mikimiki

    Sadly, not so many Hot Spring places allow their customers wear swimming suits. I think why not. My friends did not want to go to hot springs only for that reason. I really wanted to enjoy Japanese-style hotel with hot springs with them.

    In most hot springs, there are women only and men only bathrooms, so don't worry if you do not want to see naked men; you won't see them. However, you need to be careful: some hot spring hotels switch bathrooms for women to for men and vice versa because they think the customers should enjoy the hot springs in different settings. For example, only one room has the window with water-fall view, only one room has the connection to the outside hot springs, and so on.

    Tokyo has hot springs, but I recommend the ones in Tochigi and Gunma prefecture. They have hundreds of hot springs. Hope you can enjoy it!

    Oh! I forgot to mention about sex and shower. Of course, Japanese people that I know of at least take shower after having sex. If not, I need to emigrate to another country. Having sex and going to work without shower sounds totally disgusting, really.

    Anyways, a bath tub is not the place to clean your body in Japan. You need to wash your body with soap and rinse off the soap throughly before you can get into the bath tub. Bath tub is the place to relax. You cannot move a lot inside the tub anyway, because the water temperature is usually above the body temperature. (So, there will be no grown-ups swimming in hot springs, though many children try.)

  • mikimiki

    There are vending machines for eggs and flowers. I found both of them in my rural town.

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    This made me laugh when i read this post, great article, great site, keep it up

  • Urgh

    Mikado is freaking addictive. I actually prefer it to Pocky o//o

  • JDillon911

    I don't think many people have commented on the picture at the top “Japan: enough said”
    tbh I think it looks liek the guy (o.O) is trying to explain the birth of teletubbies?? :O!

  • http://blogdesignmonster.com/p/2/nan desing

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  • JackiJinx

    So those, um, hornets. Are they a common site? Because I have a very strong fear of bees, especially wasps. I'm not allergic, but those suckers really scare me.

  • tetsusnipple

    Haha the picture is from Naisu no Mori, right? That is totally the weirdest movie ever.

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  • http://twitter.com/AnnabellePanic Anne Phan

    AHA. I shower at night too. But I'm Asian,so I guess it's pretty normal.

  • meiji

    From what I've heard, the weird part is not that they have hornets from hell, but how calm they are about it.

    I knew some friends who were out in the countryside in Japan, and the locals said “If you get stung, you need to get to the hospital within an hour!” “OK, where's the hospital?” “About 2 hours away…”

  • meiji

    From what I've heard, the weird part is not that they have hornets from hell, but how calm they are about it.

    I knew some friends who were out in the countryside in Japan, and the locals said “If you get stung, you need to get to the hospital within an hour!” “OK, where's the hospital?” “About 2 hours away…”

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  • http://mistersanity.blogspot.com Jonadab

    Personally, I don’t think kancho is really much weirder or worse than wedgies and swirlies and so on. Kids do mean things to each other all over the world, yo.

    Mayonnaise, ugh. Then again, in North America it has in the last ten years or so become increasingly difficult to find food that’s safe to eat at carry in dinners and similar functions, because everyone wants to slather everything in sour cream or put cream cheese in the icing, both of which are a good deal nastier than mayonnaise. I mean, there are a couple of foods containing mayonnaise that I actually like to eat (most notably deviled eggs), so it’s not totally toxic like sour cream. I still don’t want it on my pizza, though.

    When I was a kid, I took a bath at night… once a week, on Saturday. As an adult, with active sweat glands, I find it necessary to shower shortly before going to work, whatever time of day that happens to be, especially in the summer time. If I’m going in to work at 12:30, I shower at 11:45. If I were to shower first thing in the morning (let alone the night before), I’d need a shower again before work.

    I can ignore hornets, and they’ll basically leave me alone. It’s mosquitos I worry about, because they’re out for blood — literally. Does Japan have bad mosquitos?

    I don’t think the perversion of Christmas in Japan (where nearly everyone is Buddhist or Shintoist or somesuch anyway, so you can’t expect them to care) would bother me in the same way it does in America, where 95% of Christians, who ought to be outraged, just go happily right along with it.