Japan – some unusual facts. We go regularly to Japan,yet I still wander about discovering new and yes unusual facts about this intriguing country. Maybe the following might explain what you have also wondered about.
- 1 Inemuri
- 2 Noodle slurping
- 3 KFC on Christmas Eve in Japan – some unusual facts
- 4 Why do Japanese take their shoes off when entering a house?
- 5 Why are there so many vending machines in Japan?
- 6 Anybody who owns property can put a vending machine outside their premises.
Japanese can literally sleep anywhere. It constantly amazes me that they can fall asleep so quickly and seemingly so deeply. Also, they tend to just hang their head down and off to sleep they go. This is called ‘inemuri’ or ‘sleeping while present,’ and the Japanese are masters of this.
We have seen it on trains and buses and pretty well everywhere. Japanese businesses recognize this and that their employees work hard, so napping is encouraged. As with everything Japanese, there is etiquette involved. At work, you must remain upright. Some people fake inemuri, to make their bosses believe they are working harder than they are.
Slurping your noodles very loudly is considered to be a sign of enjoyment of the meal. The louder the slurping the more that you have enjoyed to meal. It always throws me when I hear this because they must enjoy their meals a lot.
KFC on Christmas Eve in Japan – some unusual facts
Although Japan doesn’t traditionally celebrate Christmas, KFC outlets became popular among foreigners when they couldn’t find a turkey elsewhere during the festive season. KFC very quickly filled the void and mounted a hugely successful marketing campaign in the 1970s. The Japanese now place their orders up to two months in advance to meet demand. See one of the KFC ads designed for the Japanese people on our site “Why the Japanese love KFC for Christmas?
Why do Japanese take their shoes off when entering a house?
The floors in traditional Japanese houses were covered with tatami mats and with very little furniture. Most houses still follow this tradition. These mats were used to sit on and to sleep on instead of chairs and beds. As the streets were muddy and dirty, they did not want to bring this dirt onto the mats and into the houses. So shoes were taken off outside, and slippers were put on inside.
This still happens today so get clever and make sure you have slip-on, slip-off shoes as you spend much of your time taking them off and putting them on. There are even some places where you need to take your house slippers off before you go into the toilet where you put the toilet slippers on. Even when Gordon went to the dentist recently in Japan, he had to leave his shoes at the door and put the slippers on that came from a vending machine at the door. The dentist similarly had these slippers on. As an aside, the dental services in Japan are beyond excellent and the cost is worth flying there to have any major dental work done.
Vending machines in Japan
There is not much that you cannot get from a vending machine in Japan. I will leave at that. They have more vending machines per head than any other country, and it is quite a good thing. When we got stuck on the shinkansen for 10 hours when a freak snowstorm stopped the bullet trains, the vending machines were our friend. I was able to get hot coffee of many varieties, while Gordon enjoyed some Ashanti beers. There were many food options and should we have wanted toiletries they were available.
Why are there so many vending machines in Japan?
The main reason that there are so many vending machines is that they are convenient for a very large and very busy population. They are also regularly stocked and re-stocked particularly the food vending machines. Nothing is even close to the use-by-date, so meticulous are the Japanese.
Anybody who owns property can put a vending machine outside their premises.
Coke, Suntory or any of the other beverage companies will come and set a vending machine on a piece of land that you own, and all you have to do is to pay for the electricity. You will then get a share of sales, which starts, at 20% of the sale cost. They also come to fill up and provide the maintenance of the machine. Each and every vending machine is different and to be quite honest it was not until it was pointed out to me and I started looking more carefully that I could see this. You learn to differentiate between the various companies of vending machines by their branded logo on the side and also by what they offer.
These are just some of the things that I wonder about in Japan. I also want to know why the Japanese have such seriously good hair.
Here are some more unusual things about Japan.
Hope you enjoyed “J is for Japan” in the 2014 Blogging from A-Z Challenge and tomorrow we look at some of the weird and zany things associated with a country starting with “K”.
Paula, This post brought back such good memories of our three years we spent in Japan. I think I learned how to sleep anywhere in Japan…I’m really good at it now…sometimes too good. Also, my favorite vending machine snack is…corn soup! Nothing better in the winter to warm you up!
We love Japan and are continually drawn back there year after year.
Wonderful post. I’ve not made it to Japan yet, apart from a couple of overnight stays in airport hotels while transiting on route to Europe, but even the airport is so fascinating, it’s definitely on my list!
Put Japan way up the top of the list for sheer tradition and history and paradoxes that just keep you on your toes