Many Japanese customs, values and personality traits arise from the fact that Japanese live so close together in such a crowded place. Everyday the Japanese are packed together like sardines on subways and in kitchen-size yakatori bars and sushi restaurants. A dozen lap swimmers may squeeze into single lane at a swimming pool. Bicycles and pedestrians fight for space on crowded sidewalks, which are especially packed on rainy days and sunny days, when umbrellas are out in force. If there weren’t such strict rules and strong pressures to obey them people would be all over each other, in each other’s face, and at each other’s throats.
Businessmen spend the night in coffin-sized sleeping capsules. People entertain outside their homes because there is no room to entertain guests inside their homes. Lawns are so small they are cut with scissors and gardens are so small Japanese say they will fit on a “cat’s forehead.” The shortage of space has been the inspiration behind Japanese engineering wonders such as the Walkman, candy-bar size cell phones, compact cars and wafer-thin television sets.
Common Japanese tools include a nata, a wonderfully functional Japanese tool–sort of like a cross between a long-bladed hatchet and a heavy fish cleaver, and a kama–a short, single-hand sickle, for cutting heavy brush, and a short-handled bamboo rake. [Source: Kevin Short, Daily Yomiuri]
With personal space being so hard to find in Japan the concept of privacy is more of state of mind than a condition of being alone. The Japanese are very good at shutting out the world around them and making their own privacy by losing themselves in reading a comic book or sleeping while they are surrounded by people. But even that is not enough for some people. All over Japan, you see men parked in their cars sleeping or reading, sometimes for hours at a time.
Every person in Japan belongs to a family registry that documents marriage, births and deaths. The registry system was introduced in the Meiji period in the 19th century as means of keeping track of its population. The government also keeps track of people through tax, pension and health care records. The government issues identity cards and requires anyone who moves to record the move with local authorities. Some say the bests way to make sure you get along with your neighbors are quickly passing along the kairanban clipboard of local announcements and observing the garbage disposal regulations properly.
Japan was rated No. 11 in the United Nation Quality of Life Index in 2010. Norway, Australia, New Zealand and the United States were the top four rated countries.
Good Websites and Sources:
Good Photos at Japan-Photo Archive japan-photo.de , japan-photo.de , japan-photo.de ; and japan-photo.de ; A Day in the Life of a Japanese Kid cusd.chico.k12.ca.us ; Google-E-Book: Japan “ Why It Works, and Why It Doesn’t: Economics in Everyday Life books.google.com/books ; Everyday Scenes jun-gifts.com ; Fixed in Life Blog, with Lots of Photos jeromesadou.com ; Photos funzu.com ; Statistical Handbook of Japan Family Budgets and Prices stat.go.jp/english/data/handbook ; 2010 Edition stat.go.jp/english/data/nenkan ; News stat.go.jp < Links in this Website: URBAN AND RURAL LIFE IN JAPAN Factsanddetails.com/Japan
Sites for Expats Japanable site for Expats japanable.com ; That’s Japan thats-japan.com ; Orient Expat Japan orientexpat.com/japan-expat ; Kimi Information Center kimiwillbe.com ; Foreign & Commonwealth Office Report on Japan fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad ; Student Guide to Japan www2.jasso.go.jp/study ; Japan in Your Palm japaninyourpalm.com
Things to Love About Life in Japan
On things to love about life in Japan, Andrew Bender wrote in the Los Angeles Times: “1) Vending machines. Sure, we have vending machines in the States, but machines that sell hot and cold canned drinks, with temperatures that can be changed seasonally. All kinds of awesome. Vending machines are a way of life in Japan, selling subway tickets, Coke on a mountainside by a middle-of-nowhere hiking trail, beer, toys, even underwear. [Source: Andrew Bender, Los Angeles Times, March 11, 2012]
2) Tatami rooms. Minimalism may have been discovered by the rest of the world over the last 50 years, but it goes back ages in Japan. A traditional Japanese room has tatami (mats) on the floor, simple stucco walls supported by wooden posts, and an alcove called a tokonoma, used to display your changing selection of hanging scrolls, pottery and seasonal ikebana. 3) High-tech toilets. Are heated toilet seats necessary? Maybe not, but they sure are nice on a cold winter morning. Japan has elevated plumbing to an art, and the graphics on the push buttons are adorable.
4) 100 yen stores. Japan is famously expensive, but more and more (not just) Japanese are shopping at the equivalent of dollar stores. You’re not going to get top-shelf stuff, but the wares “ rice bowls to rice crackers, neckties to knickers “ are often equal to what you’d buy elsewhere. Where else can you outfit your entire kitchen for the equivalent of $50?
5) Taxis. Sorry, America. Japan has us beat on this, white-gloved hands down. Taxi doors open and close automatically, lace doilies cover the seats, drivers are unfailingly polite and tipping never enters their mind. If you don’t know the route or can’t speak Japanese, it’s a good idea to have a map to your destination. In the unlikely event that the driver takes the wrong route, I’ve had instances where he (or, increasingly, she) will shut off the meter.
6) Tokyo subways. Other cities only wish they had a Metro. Tokyo’s amazing train network is the envy of the world, spotless, punctual and genteel. With 13 lines below ground and a tangle of additional lines above ground, it’s the life blood of the city. If you hear anyone talking loudly on board, it’s almost certainly not in Japanese. Those images you’ve seen of packers shoving folks into cars “ only at certain stations during rush hour.
Source : http://factsanddetails.com