If you are a fan of everything Japanese you have probably heard this question a couple of times: “What’s so special about Japan?”
Why is anime different from cartoon? Why do you eat Japanese candies and snacks? What makes Japan so fascinating to thousands of people all over the world? Answering all of these questions might be impossible, but today we want to explore at least list a few of the things that make Japan stand out from other countries.
Some of these things might not seem that important to you, but it is the combination of all of these smaller aspects that makes Japan so special. Let’s get started with our journey into the craziness of modern Japan. Enjoy!
Old and New
Japan has ancient traditions and a long history. Japan also has some of the newest technologies available on the market. Nowhere else in the world can you find such a unique combination of old and new.
When you walk through the streets of Tokyo you are constantly reminded of the technologies of modern days. You will use an amazing public transport system, walk into skyscrapers, hear automatic voices talk to you on seemingly every corner, all while looking at your smartphone. That is, until you stumble upon a small shrine waiting for lost travelers offside the hectic rush of Japanese streets. Not only on the streets, but almost anywhere you go will traditions remind you of the ancient history of the country. Combining tradition with technology truly makes Japan special.
Hospitality is an important value in Japanese culture and Japanese will try their best to make everyone feel as welcome as possible. Some foreigners might be afraid of the reactions of the locals when visiting their country. This fear is unjustified since most foreigners are treated with lots of hospitality and a warm smile, despite any language barriers.
It is also an important part of many Japanese traditions. Apprentices of the Japanese tea ceremony are taught early on that their first concern should be hospitality and creating a relaxing environment for all the participants. Japanese restaurants as well will try their best to make all guests feel welcome and at home. Even at department stores will employees serve you with a big smile and greet you with a warm “Welcome!”.
We have already talked about Japanese subcultures in past blog posts, but when talking about Japan as a country current trends in pop culture just need to be mentioned. New subcultures and street styles emerge almost every single day. Some are just popular for a period of time, others stay and shape the face of modern Japan.
Despite the rigid standards set by society, Japanese culture also enables people to explore new sides of themselves and express who they want to be. Just go out to the streets of Tokyo during the weekend and you will see cosplayers, fashion divas and eccentrics galore. Life in Japan never gets boring.
Japanese people are hard-working. No one can claim that the nation of approx. 130 million people likes to lean back and put its feet up. Of course, there are also darker sides to the tough working environment of Japan. However, what really makes Japan special is not the amount of hour spent inside an office, but how many Japanese locals approach work in general.
From a young age, hard-working people are admired and persistence as well as passion are encouraged. Japanese students know that they need to work hard in order to get a good job later on in life. At the same time, they are not known to complain about their tough schedules, but rather cheer each other on to continue working even harder. This mentality continues all the way into adulthood to form a diligent Japanese work force. After all, work is the main part of Japanese life, for better or for worse.
Last but not least, I just cannot talk about Japan without mentioning its amazing food. The street stalls, the restaurants, the fresh ingredients and delicious taste – Japanese food is pure pleasure for your taste buds. But it is not simply the quality and flavor of the food that makes Japan so unique; more importantly, it’s the Japanese attitude towards it.
Japanese people value good food. They want to know where ingredients come from, how fresh they are and in which way they are prepared. While they love the traditional meals of their country, most Japanese people are open to try something new. They enjoy seeing twists to meals they already know or trying the cuisines of different countries. This love for good food enables visitors to get high-quality food almost anywhere they go. Japan is a must-visit for fans of delicious meals.
This list is far away from being complete. There are many other reasons why Japan is so unique and attracts thousands of visitors every year. The ones we have presented above just cover the most important factors from a personal point of view. The good food, old shrines, new technologies and the cosplayers all make Japan what it is today. When you stand in the streets of Tokyo you just cannot help it but be amazed by everything that’s going on around you.
Let us know what makes Japan unique to you! Your comments are always welcome down below.