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What are some strange things about Japan?

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  1. Most Japanese people, especially those in major cities, can't drive. The public transportation system is set up so well that only those in the most rural of areas ever need to find their own transportation.
  2. Restaurants in Japan (including many fast-food places) give you moist towels or wipes before your meal.
  3. At many businesses in Japan, they offer alcohol to the employees after six pm.
  4. It is common to give your landlord a small gift upon moving in.
  5. On Respect for the Aged Day, tobacco companies will hand out free cigarettes to the elderly outside of train stations and department stores.
  6. Japanese pizza toppings include corn, mayonnaise, sesame seeds, and squid.
  7. There are no 24 hour ATMs in Japan. ATMs are usually only open during normal bank hours.
  8. Many Japanese teachers think that Japanese parents are lazy.
  9. The words for green and blue are the same in Japanese (unless you're referring to plants), so the word for green traffic lights is "blue."
  10. It is polite to slurp your soup.
  11. Newspaper editors make their headlines so as to not attract attention.
  12. In Japan, Christmas is spent with friends and New Year's Day is spent with family--the exact opposite of most Western cultures.
  13. Japan has about 1,500 earthquakes each year.
  14. In the Japanese language, it is considered rude to say the word "no" directly. Instead, people often say "hmm" or reword things as a question.
  15. It is nearly impossible to become a naturalized citizen of Japan.
  16. You can smoke just about anywhere. There are no public smoking bans.
  17. Japanese people shower first, then get into a hot bath. Everyone uses the same bath water, but it's clean water because they clean themselves in the shower first.
  18. There is no insulation or central heat in most Japanese homes. The Japanese believe in heating people, not rooms, so they wear layers and eat hot foods in cold weather. Rooms generally have their own heating system, or a space heater is used.
  19. Japan has roughly 200 volcanoes.
  20. It is considered inappropriate to show signs of affection toward a loved one in public.
  21. When you go to a funeral or a wedding you must take a gift of money.
  22. Toilets, especially in private homes, often have heated seats and a bidet function.
  23. In Japan, flower arranging is an art that requires intensive study to be properly practiced.
  24. The new generation of Japanese people are not as short as Westerners think (but the average height of men is still around 5'8").
  25. You can buy batteries, beer, wine, condoms, cigarettes, comic books, hot dogs, light bulbs, and many other things from vending machines. Contrary to popular belief, it is actually illegal to sell used underwear in a vending machine; this falls under decency laws.
  26. Many Japanese people eat rice with every meal.
  27. Never stick your chopsticks upright in your rice. This is an old Japanese custom and is what is done when food is offered to the dead. When it is not an offering it is considered to be a very ill omen.
  28. In Japan you will find cars by the names of "It's," "Let's," "Sunny," "Perky," "Gloria," "Move," "Toppo," "Lepo," and "Dump".
  29. McDonald's employees will run outside to give you your drive-thru order.
  30. The Japanese visit shrines and give each other money for New Year's.
  31. It is impolite to tear the wrapping paper off of a gift.
  32. Japanese junior high school students do not need to pass any of their classes to graduate. Education is only compulsory through junior high school.
  33. Packets of tissues with an accompanying advertisement are often handed out on streets and in train stations.
  34. There is almost no vandalism in Japan.
  35. Gas stations are usually full-service; attendants will bow as the car pulls out of the station.
  36. It is not socially acceptable to pick or blow your nose in public, but it is not uncommon to see elderly men urinating onto the tracks or platform at train stations, especially in rural areas.
  37. Most Japanese people have never tasted turkey.
  38. Japan is about the size of California and has half the population of the entire United States.
  39. Snowmen in Japan are made of two large snowballs instead of three.
  40. It will always take one to two hours for a pizza to be delivered.
  41. Contrary to popular belief, there is toilet paper in almost every public place in Japan, with the notable exception of shrines and temples. Paper towels and napkins, however, are found almost nowhere, including in public bathrooms and restaurants. People commonly carry a small washcloth with them and use this to dry their hands.
  42. Fruit in Japan is often expensive. It is not uncommon to pay $2 for a single apple, and a watermelon only slightly larger than a grapefruit can easily cost $15.
  43. The sun is not red in Japan and it would be silly to think that it is. The country itself is referred to by Japanese people as "the land of the rising sun"
  44. Eating or drinking while walking or on the train is considered rude.


This list is mostly correct #2 and 17 are incorrect. I lived in Japan for years and outside of Tokyo most folks can drive many just take the bus or train to work as it saves money. In reguards to smoking there are a number of areas on the street that prohibit smoking you have to smoke in the area that allows it when outside.
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