Japan is both ancient traditions and overcrowded streets with sushi restaurants and karaoke bars on every corner. Teenagers in imaginative clothes live by the Kawaii ideology, a typical Japanese fashion concept that can best be translated as “sweet and cute” in everything they do. In parallel with the modern, exaggerated lifestyle, the tradition and the calm pace live in the best prosperity with kimonos, temples and tea ceremonies. Everywhere in Japan one encounters great contrasts between the country’s ancient culture and the almost futuristic cities.
History of Japan
Japan has been populated for many thousands of years. The indigenous people, the Ainu, were displaced by Mongol immigrants who founded the Japanese Empire. The original religion was Shinto, which worshiped nature and the emperor as divine revelation. In the 5th century, Buddhism reached the country and mixed with Shintoism, and this combination is recognized by most Japanese to this day. In the following centuries, Japan was a major confusion of various emperors, warring families, and complex feudal systems of daimios, samurai, and shoguns.
From the 16th century, Europeans came to the country with trade and Christian missionaries, something that was received with open arms until missionary work became too much, and Japan almost isolated itself from the rest of the world. However, this isolation did not last long. Around the beginning of World War II, the Japanese islands became too small, and the country conquered French Indochina, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, and several Pacific islands. Shortly afterwards, the attack on Pearl Harbor led the United States to join the war. In August 1945, however, Japan’s war was abruptly ended with the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In today’s Japan, business is booming. Japan is the world’s largest car manufacturer, the world’s second largest ship manufacturer and an absolute leader in the field of electronics and technology. Unlike most other Asian countries, only 5 percent of the population is employed in agriculture. However, some rice is produced – because it requires some for all sushi.
Customs and traditions
Politeness is a virtue in Japan. Therefore, do not forget to say hello, thank you and goodbye in the store or at the restaurant. It is very bad behavior to get excited and scold others. That means you lose face. Problems are best solved by discussing things calmly and objectively. Although the level of service is generally high, misunderstandings can arise due to cultural differences or language confusion. As in so many other places in the world, you solve this best with a smile – smile, and you get a smile back. The Japanese are usually a friendly, polite and accommodating people. Many are shy towards foreigners, but if you ask for help, most people do what they can to help. Visit securitypology for Japan Culture.
In private homes, you always take off your shoes, and you never wear shoes in areas with tatami mats (traditional rice mats); this can be experienced, for example, in restaurants with traditionally set up areas, where you sit on the floor and eat your meal at low tables. On the other hand, a pair of “indoor shoes” are available.
The Japanese eat with chopsticks and there is a certain label attached to the use of chopsticks that should be remembered. If you need to put the chopsticks away from you, place them on the chopstick holder or on the side of your bowl or plate. It’s very rude to leave them stuck in a bowl of rice! Do not suck on the tip of the chopsticks, and do not use them to “tip” the food with – the food is picked up between the sticks. Most people learn the technique quickly, and the Japanese food is as it was made for the purpose: the rice is sticky and that makes it easy to catch the rice grains. The vegetables, fish and meat are usually cut to chew-friendly size. Give it a shot. Otherwise, it is no problem to ask for a knife and fork at most eateries.
For tourists, Japan is as relaxed as other places and there is therefore no reason to bring an evening dress or evening dress. Since our travels are relatively active, it is most important that the clothes are practical and comfortable. Shorts can be used almost anywhere. You do not have to, as in so many other places in Asia, think specifically about how to dress in temples etc. They are also not as strict when it comes to how women should dress.
Expenses for meals, which are not included in the price, are around SEK 140-160 per lunch and around SEK 240 per dinner. When it comes to pocket money, we know from experience that you usually manage on about 70 kronor a day. If you want drinks etc. in addition to that, it is usually about 120-170 kronor extra per day per person. Such a sum can cover drinks, postcards, stamps, ice cream, etc. If you plan to buy things to take home, you need to bring extra money.