April 12, 2016 4:14PM (JST)
Sure, it is fun to travel to Japan and enjoy unique culture that are always wanted to see. Japan is known for its bizarre culture – anime, gaming, and other common (since I am aware that most tourists will see the exactly same attractions when they come to Japan especially for the first time and for short time) things that people definitely want to see during their visit in Japan.
Since I live in Tokyo, my focus is on Tokyo (Kanto) area, but since majority of travelers travel only in Tokyo when they have limited time, I will focus on central Tokyo area in this blog, briefly. If I were to write it in detail, I would need to write in separate topics where I can provide several examples after extensive research via internet and through personal contacts.
I will skip some common facts because I am sure many foreigners know. I will certainly write posts on these in the future as well, aside from the topics mentioned below.
Some of interesting facts that not many foreigners (or even Japanese) know about:
Did you know that…
- Roppongi Hills (六本木ヒルズ), one of the main attraction sites for tourists, having major top businesses such as Google and Apple Japan (and also Pokemon!), is a famous sight for 10 criminals killing themselves by thrusting sword into their stomach or slice their necks if not dying immediately, known as seppuku (切腹) in the Edo period.
Source: Jonathan Savoie
- Japan is famous for its high suicide Commonly known to many tourists who are highly interested in Japanese culture, Aokigahara (青木ヶ原) Extensive Forest (樹海) is a place in Mt. Fuji area that people want to commit suicide away from civilization. Although it is a secluded area that many loners kill themselves and many foreigners know about this, there are actually many other ways to commit suicide, including jumping into train line, also commonly known by foreigners. Group suicide is one of the most common way as it is more relaxing when people die together, as Japan is a country known for its group work.
Source: Amazing World Places
- You will commonly see school children (under college level) dressed in uniforms even on weekends, including Sunday. They usually have schools every second Saturday. They have lots of homework during breaks including spring break before the new school year starts. Many of them go to tutoring schools, but this is still, common among Asian countries – China and Korea are notoriously known for stressful studying at schools, even moving to work culture where the life is highly stressful with long overwork hours without pay.
Source: My and Your Anime world
- In Shinjuku, for an example, (since I am most familiar with Shinjuku as I have happened to see things without expecting), there are some areas (although I only walked through one of them) where you will see huge advertisement boards showing young good-looking punk/trendy style men (ikemen イケメン = handsome men) with bright colored hair. These are specifically targeted for both young and old women looking for intimacy with men, including cuddling and talking with closeness. Some girls are just happy when looking and talking with good looking men. Café bars are examples where to meet these men. Perhaps, gay bars are also one of the reasons that attract girls because they think gays are good looking while in women style.
Source: Recruit Lifestyle (in Japanese)
- Aside from good looking men targeting girls as noted above, there are also many areas with sexy hot girls (usually gals ギャル) targeting both young and old men. Occasionally, as you walk in the busy area, you will notice that there are old men (oyaji おやじ) hanging out with these women and these women put their arms around the oyaji’s arm. These usually indicate that these old men borrow the girls for specific amount of hours and pay hourly or a set.
Source: J-Cast (in Japanese)
- Japanese idols and its adultery industry are famously known by the world. If you go to major cities like Harajuku and Shibuya, you will definitely see idol-like girls or sexy girls (= gals) with heavy makeups and/or brightly colored hair. I could even say that Japanese entertainment industry ‘trick’ girls averaging 14-15 year olds into the idol world and most of the education they gain are very sexual (i.e. AKB48 singing extremely popular songs with sexual words) and these famous idols definitely make tons of money. Some of the ‘graduates’ are newly involved in acting and the roles they get are also sexual. With all these, there are even trucks with huge images with idol groups – both boy and girl groups – with music playing from the truck. It seems that these idols are usually in the young people area but the minor wanna-be’s are also active in less known areas, offering free and more convenient services (i.e. goods, hand shaking) to their local fans, mostly male Otaku’s.
Source: Tower Records
- I have recently discovered that there is a park called Shin-Edokawa Garden (新江戸川公園) in the middle of the central Tokyo, near the local famous Waseda University. The garden used to belong to famous Japanese clan, Hosokawa, which held significant power in the history, since 14th century. Very few local Japanese people know this place, not to mention foreigners. Because of the garden located in the middle of residential area, it is often overlooked and rarely visited by both Japanese (those who don’t live nearby) and foreigners.
- Dogenzaka (道玄坂) in Shibuya is famously known as area for love hotels and many foreigners know that. But, did you know that there are also night clubs and bars within the area and it is also part of the residential area? I was surprised to learn that there were actually ordinary-looking apartments. Night clubs and bars are understandable, but residence areas? That is totally wicked! – I saw kids!
Source: Japan Travel
Well here are only 8 of many other interesting facts. For now, these lists can keep you interested and read on them online or even watch some YouTube videos!
So, if you do come to Japan and want to see cool facts, do focus on less popular areas and you will be determined to see unique objects everywhere and there will be times you don’t know what you are looking for and you may find something amiss!