10 Surprising Things About Japan
Japan has always been a dream for most of us. The country is rich in culture, always at the top of the line in terms of innovation and technology, and is the home of the world’s most beloved animes. Aside from that, the country also boasts amazing spots and sceneries that has million of tourists flying in every year.
And just when we thought we all know about Japan, surprise surprise. Here are 10 surprising things you probably don’t know.
Japan is made up of islands
Japan’s often depicted with highrise buildings that we often forget that it is an island nation, referred to as an archipelago.
The country is made up of 6,852 islands. Out of that, only 403 are inhabited with Honshu as the main island. The rest are considered “ghosts.” The archipelago is about 1,869 miles or equivalent to the East Coast of the United States.
Pushing people into trains is a job
Also known as “Subway Pushers”, these hired individuals’ main job is to cram as many people as possible into the train tram to close its doors, especially during rush hours.
About 57% of Tokyo’s, the most populated city in the world, residents use public transportation in their daily life. With these much people, railways operate at 199% capacity.
Japan has millions of vending machines, from food to sex toys
If we talk about vending machines, no country could ever defeat the vending machine culture of Japan. The nation has roughly 5.52 million vending machines nationwide that sells cigarettes, magazines, flowers, drinks, a whole meal, and yes, even sex toys.
The country’s interest with automation can be seen with the amount of vending machines, as almost every corner, every street in Japan, has at least one.
BDSM might have originated from Japan
Interesting. And for those who are fascinated with bondage or BDSM, this is something to thank Japan for.
Back in 1400, Japanese police use the technique of shibari (the art of rope bondage) to hold prisoners captive, as well as the Samurais, who use this tactic to treat their prisoners well. When the late 1800s rolled by, shibari evolved and was brought into the privacy of the bedroom.
The positioning of the knots on certain pleasure parts of the body is said to stimulate sensuality and strength.
Japan’s Suicide Forest
The Aokigahara forest is considered as the “perfect place to die” and is one of the world’s most-used suicide spots. Because of this, signages are all over the forest, urging suicidal visitors to think of their families and contact the suicide prevention association.
In 2003 alone, 105 bodies were found in the forest and 2010, it is recorded that more than 200 people have visited the forest to commit suicide, with 54 who completed the act. In 2011, the most common means of suicide committed in the forest is either drug overdose or hanging. Since 1970, an annual search is conducted by the authorities and volunteers.
Japan has almost no crimes
Japan is, generally, a very safe country, with only 2 gun-related homicides per year on an average. It was said that if you leave your wallet on a random bench on a crowded area, you’d come back an hour later and still find it there.
More senior citizens than children
This is actually one of Japan’s alarming issue. The fact that they significantly lack childbirth, so much that there are a lot more elderly than kids. Along with this, is also a bizarre fact that they sell more adult diapers than baby diapers.
This concern stems from the current Japanse society having no time or money to start a family. In Okinawa resides two of the world’s oldest humans, with age 116 and 117 years old.
Japan’s Penis Festival
Just when we thought we’ve read it all. This Japanese festival is known as Kanamara Matsuri, which roughly translates to Festival of the Steel Phallus and is held each spring at the Kanayama Shrine.
The festival is centered around a legend that says a jealous sharp-toothed demon who fell in love with a young woman and hid inside her vagina and bit off the penises of two young men on their wedding nights. The woman sought the help of a blacksmith, who made an iron phallus to break the demon’s teeth.
During the festival, the phallus is seen on illustrations, candy, carved vegetables, decorations and even on a mikoshi parade.
Slurping is polite
Contrary to a lot of countries and their culture, slurping noodles in Japan is considered polite, shows that you appreciate the meal, and is one way to savour the flavor of the soup and the noodles.
In 2016 Twitter, “noodle harassment” was a keyword that raised a lot of eyebrows, only to find that a user claimed that Japanese noisily slurping their noodles is a cause of discomfort for foreigners and is a type of harassment. Soon after this, social network services and television media were involved in a huge debate on the topic. By default, eating noisily is frowned upon in Japan but noodles are an exception to this.
You can pay to cuddle someone
As discussed above, the current Japanese generation has either no time or no money to create a family of their own. Which means to say that it is either couples who are not ready for little kids just yet or Japan is just littered with single individuals.
While there are perks that come with being single, it can also get really lonely, especially when you are stressed at work and you come home to an empty apartment. That’s why in Japan, cafes, where you can pay for cuddles and intimacy, is a thing.
Take note, there’s nothing sexual about it. You can come in, get a hug, lie on somebody’s lap or just spend time together with another human being. However, this is not a typical occurrence and not every lonely Japanese man or woman visit these cuddle cafes. It is still a minority.