Friday, November 13, 2015

Guest Post: 5 Strange and Beautiful Facts About Japan

Pretty lamp with Japanese painting, Meijimura
Japan’s one of the world’s largest economies, but it’s also one of the most remote. Did you know that of the 127 million people in Japan, only two percent are foreign immigrants?

If you’re thinking about taking a trip to Japan in the not-too-distant future, here are a few fun facts to tickle your fancy.

Napping on the Job Is Perfectly Normal
 In most parts of the world, napping on the job would be an immediate cause for termination. Not in Japan! Japanese culture sees napping on the job as a proof of an employee’s commitment and thoroughness. The practice is referred to as “inemuri”, and is perfectly acceptable in Japan.

A few rules do apply: you need to remain upright while napping and only people in specific positions within the company are allowed to nap. Some people actually fake sleeping to show their bosses how hard they’re working.

 Slurping Is Not Only Ok, It’s Encouraged

There are a few universal norms when it comes to food etiquette—no speaking with your mouth full, no blowing bubbles in your drink, etc. When it comes to etiquette in Japan, however, some things are not only perfectly acceptable, they’re encouraged.

Take slurping, for example. Japanese culture dictates that when eating noodles it’s only proper for people to slurp them down. This is supposed to signify that you’re enjoying the meal. Just keep your burping to a minimum.

Maintaining Eye Contact Is Offensive

In some countries it’s considered rude not to look someone in the eye when talking to them, but not in Japan. Eye contact in Japanese culture is often seen as a sign of aggression, and people make an effort to look away when someone stares them in the eye.

Another body gesture to look out for is the thumbs down motion, as traditional Japanese culture views this as a way of telling someone off rather than showing your disapproval.

The Way You Hold Your Chopsticks Says a lot About You

The way you hold your chopsticks signifies a great deal in Japan. For instance, sticking your chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice is meant to signify an offering to the dead, and should never be made at a restaurant. Also, crossing your chopsticks is another taboo since it traditionally signifies death.

Japan's Trains Are so Punctual They Give You a Certificate When They're Late

Japan’s mass-transit system is widely regarded as one of the most efficient systems in the world. The trains move at lightning-fast speeds, and the buses are (almost) never late.  On the off chance that there is short a delay, the conductor will often make a formal apology and may even provide delay certificates to the people who were waiting.  

For longer delays, which are very rare, they sometimes appear in the paper. Passengers rely heavily on Japan’s mass-transit system, and as such are never expected to be late.

This is a guest post submitted by Arthur Baxter, Network Operations at ExpressVPN. Learn more about Internet privacy on their site here.
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