1. There Is A Thing Called "Crying Sumo" Contests
There is a festival called the Nazikumo Festival held annually at the Sensoji Temple in Tokyo. The purpose of the festival is to see which sumo wrestler can make a baby cry first.
While this may seem cruel, the Japanese believe that the tears ensure good health for their children.
2. Godzilla Is An Official Citizen Of Japan
Godzilla is an official citizen of Japan. The giant monster can be seen terrorizing Japan in multiple Godzilla movies, but they recognize him as a member of society.
His citizenship certificate says he was born April 9, 1954, and his reason for special residency is, "to promote the entertainment of and watch over Kabuki-Cho neighborhood and drawing visitors from around the globe."
3. Death From Overworking Is Common
Earlier we mentioned that it is a sign of dedication to nap at work because it means you are working to exhaustion, but that sometimes leads to death.
Many people in Asia are overworked, which contributes to health problems, including heart attacks and strokes caused by starvation and stress. One woman worked for 159 hours of overtime and then died of a heart attack.
4. There Is A Building With A Highway Passing Through It
The Gate Tower Building in Osaka, Japan, has a highway running through three of the floors. The building is 16 stories, and cars can drive right through.
There were a lot of compromises that went into this design because people wanted to build an off-ramp and a building in the same place. In the end, they created an interesting piece of architecture.
5. Unmarried Men Aged 30-40 Are Usually Virgins
Today, men in Japan are making half as much money as they were in the 1980s during the economic boom. Many men feel that their salary is related to their self-worth, so they feel threatened by empowering women.
Instead of putting themselves out there, they are holding back due to their insecurities.
6. Sleeping On The Job Is Accepted
In most places of work, sleeping on the job could be a fireable offense, but in Japan, it is common and tolerated. It is a sign of diligence because people work themselves to exhaustion.
Employers want their workers to work so hard that they need to take a nap in the middle of the day.
7. There Is A Festival To Celebrate The Penis And Fertility
Although the birth rate is low in Japan, there is an entire festival dedicated to the penis and fertility. In Kawasaki during the springtime, people celebrate Kanamara Matsuri, also known as "Festival of the Steel Phallus."
The festival raises awareness for STD's and HIV. It is also during the blossom season, so it is quite the sight to see.
8. Adult Diapers Are More Common Than Baby Diapers
In Japan, the adult diaper market grows six to ten percent every year and rakes in $1.4 billion dollars. The country has the highest percentage of over-65s in the world, and they make up 20 percent of Japan's population.
The birthrate in Japan is declining, so the need for baby diapers is much lower than adult diapers.
9. Cafes With Anti-Loneliness Companions
Sometimes, people like to sit at a cafe alone, and other times, people wish they had someone or something to keep them company.
There us a cafe called Moomin House Cafe in Tokyo that sends one of these furry stuffed animals to join you when you order alone. They are called anti-loneliness companions.
10. The Toilets Have More Buttons Than A TV Remote
The toilets in Japan are very advanced. The ToTo washlets have a remote that has many different purposes. The toilet has so many unique features that you won't find anywhere else.
The toilet has a seat warmer, bidet, and perfume, to name a few. The traditional Japanese hospitality extends to the bathroom.
11. A Hotel Staffed By Robots
The Henn-na Hotel in Nagasaki, Japan, is the world's first hotel to be staffed by robots. You can check in with multiple different robots including a dinosaur.
It is a significant tourist attraction that people come to see from around the world. Japan is very fond of using robots, and over the years, they have placed robots in many establishments.
12. Japan Has 1,500 Earthquakes Each Year
Japan is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire which is the most active earthquake belt in the world. Japan accounts for 20 percent of earthquakes in the world.
These earthquakes cause lots of damage, such as houses collapsing. The Philippine Sea Plate is beneath Japan, and as it subducts, it causes continuous earthquakes.
13. Death Row Inmates Are Not Given An Execution Date
When someone is given a death sentence in the Japanese court system, they are not told when they will be executed until a few hours before it happens.
In places like the US, inmates are told their execution date far in advance, and they get a choice for their last meal.
14. The Vending Machines Have Everything
The vending machines in Japan are wild. The country also has the highest density of vending machines in the world. You can get pretty much anything you need in these machines.
You can get anything from rice and sake to batteries and t-shirts. There are few things you can't purchase from a vending machine in Japan.
15. Bizarre Kit-Kat And Pringles Flavors
Japan is known for having interesting food flavors, and that extends to their Kit-Kats and Pringles. Have you ever heard of a baked potato flavored Kit-Kat? Well, Japan has that along with many other bizarre flavors.
They also have some unique Pringles flavors such as eggs benedict and smokey potato salad. You will never be bored with the flavors Japan has to offer.
16. Square Watermelons For Easier Stacking
In Japan, people grow cube-shaped watermelons. They are usually given as gifts or purely ornamental. The square watermelons are very expensive and can cost up to $100.
They first started appearing in the 1980s when a farmer/artist used a plastic mold to change their shape. People believed that they were easier to stack in the grocery store, but not many people buy them regularly.
17. Chewing Loud Is Polite
In many countries, chewing loudly or with your mouth open is considered rude, but in Japan, it is rude if you are not slurping and chewing loudly.
It is a common practice in Japan to slurp noodles and soup. When you have a bowl of broth, it is customary to bring the bowl to your mouth to drink instead of using a spoon.
18. Eel Flavored Ice Cream Exists
Usually, people enjoy ice cream flavors like chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and many other typical flavors. In Japan, they serve eel flavored ice cream.
Eel is a summer delicacy, so it makes sense why they would create ice cream out of it even though it sounds bizarre.
19. There Is A Small Island Only Inhabited By Bunnies
Okunoshima is an island off of Japan that is only inhabited by rabbits. It is still a mystery how these rabbits got on this island. They roam free, are well-fed, and free from predators.
This destination often comes up in viral travel videos, and each year thousands of tourists come to see the phenomenon.
20. Blue Color Traffic Lights
In most countries, the traffic light colors are red, yellow, and green, but in Japan, the colors are red, yellow, and blue. This happened to cover up a mistake in the language.
In Japanese, the word blue is "ao," and it is also used for green. When traffic lights were introduced in the 1930s, in official documents, the color of the light was referred to as "ao," which was confusing. Instead of changing the description, the government decided to make the bluest shade of green for the light.
21. There Are 70 Flavors Of Fanta
Japan has an interesting variety of flavored foods and drinks, including the 70 different flavors of Fanta soda. They expand the flavors of drinks themselves because they want more than the original flavors.
You can taste flavors like melon cream, peach, and salty watermelon. You will never be bored with the soda choices in Japan.
22. There Are 80,000 Ramen Shops
In Tokyo alone, there are 4,000 different ramen shops to try. You could spend your entire life trying every single ramen shop in Japan.
If you are unaware of what ramen is, it is a traditional Japanese dish with long wheat noodles in a meat or fish-based broth.
23. Burger King Has An All-Black Burger
There is a slim budget for Burger King in Japan, so they have to come up with creative marketing tactics. Burger King in Japan created this all-black burger with black cheese and black sauce.
They also created a red burger using tomato powder. They have to find ways to get people to see their products without using expensive creative ad agencies.
24. People Live For A Really Long Time
There are around 70,000 people in Japan who are over the age of 100, and 88 percent of those people are women.
The average age in Japan in 47, which makes it the second oldest country behind Monaco. There are low birthrates in Japan, so the median age will probably increase in the next few years.
25. There Are More Pets Than Children
In Japan, there are around 23 million registered dogs and cats, and the number of children below 15 is only 16.5 million.
Despite having small living spaces, people in Japan love to have multiple cats or dogs, and who wouldn't want a family of pets?
26. Homeless People Can Live In McDonald's
There was an influx of people staying in a 24-hour McDonald's, and they were nicknamed "McRefugees." This lasted for two months.
Although homelessness is not very common in Japan, it still happens and people have turned to McDonald's as a place to stay overnight.
27. There Is A 99% Conviction Rate
Japan has strict court systems, and it is thought that its high conviction rate is due to suspects being bullied into a confession.
There are many wrongful convictions because of the police and prosecutors, but they think highly of their conviction rate.
28. Unique Capsule Hotels
Japan was the first country to introduce capsule/pod hotels. These feature small bed-sized rooms, and they are an affordable way to stay overnight. Like the idea of a hostel, many amenities are shared communally, including toilets, showers, and dining rooms.
The pods are stack on top of each other like bunk beds. They are $18 to $30 per night, or you can upgrade to a sauna and miso soup for $46 per night.
29. Clubbing Was Illegal Until 2015
Until 2015, dancing at night clubs was illegal in Japan. The ban forbid public dancing unless the venue had a license.
People would break the rules often, and police turned a blind eye, but now people can dance freely. The decision was made because they were hosting the 2020 Olympics, and they wanted visitors to have as much fun as possible.
30. All Beer Cans Have Braille On Them
The beer cans in Japan have braille on them so blind people will not confuse sodas for alcohol. Braille is textured writing made of different sequences of dots so blind people can read through touch.
The braille on the can spells out "alcohol" on the top of the drink. These cans are manufactured in the Kirin brewery.
31. Tipping Is Rude
Good service is a standard and expected for servers in Japan, but tipping is considered rude. If tourists tip waiters, they accept it, but their managers will be unhappy because it is a dent to their quality.
If people really feel the need to give a tip, it is recommended to put the money in a decorative envelope t make it more discreet.
32. Public Transportation Is Always Punctual
Japan has the best public transportation when it comes to being on time. The longest delays are around 20 seconds.
There was once a train that arrived 20 seconds early, and the operator apologized. Yes, you read that right, the train was early, and someone said sorry.
33. The Unemployment Rate Is Less Than 4%
There must be many job opportunities in Japan because they have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world.
This is also affected by their aging population, who end up retiring and not needing work. As the population age rises, the fewer people there are that need jobs.
34. Bitcoin Is An Official Payment Method
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that can be sent from user to user without a central bank or single administrator. In Japan, it is accepted as a form of payment, but it is not considered as a currency.
Japan's Financial Services Agency recognized Bitcoin as a way for companies to do financial exchanges, and it was a significant step to further the country into the digital age.
35. Black Cats Are Good Luck
Many superstitious people believe that black cats are a bad omen, but in Japan, they are thought to bring good luck.
When women come across a black cat it means that there is a higher chance of them finding an attractive male.
36. There Are 20 Different Ways To Say Sorry
In Japanese, there are 20 different ways to say sorry. The most common and casual way to say it is "gomen." To make it more formal, you can say, "gomen-nasai," or more friendly with "gomen-ne."
There are also variations to say "my bad" in a casual way by using "warui warui." It is a complicated language, but very interesting.
37. The Snoopy Museum
The people of Japan must love Snoopy because they dedicated an entire museum to him in Tokyo. It is a satellite museum of the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, California.
The museum features multi-dimensional exhibitions that introduce the legacy of Charles M. Schulz and the whole Peanuts crew. You can also find original Peanuts merchandise in the museum's gift shop.
38. There Is A Museum Of Rocks That Looks Like Faces
There is a museum called Chinsekikan in Japan dedicated to rocks that look like faces. It is another oddity that people can see when they travel to Japan.
The museum s home to over 1,700 rocks that look like human faces, and there is even one that resembles Elvis Presley.
39. People Use Stamps Instead Of Signatures
For official purposes, people use stamps with their signature instead of signing documents. This is because forgery was a problem in Japan in the past.
Some people have multiple stamps, just like other people have various passwords. It decreases the chance of forgery.