There are so many different cultures in the world and most of them differ from each other. We can often look at other cultures and think of something that is normal to them but is very strange to us. This is often a divide of cultures due to the location in which these cultures originated. For example, culture in the eastern hemisphere is very different from the western hemisphere. It’s divided even further than that, often having different countries with different cultures. This can even be seen if you travel through different states of the U.S.
However, nowhere is as strange as Japan’s culture. They are very unique, and you won’t find a culture quite like theirs. While they pride themselves on their ability to work hard, and have great school rankings, they can also have fun. Often some of the strangest forms of entertainment comes out of Japan. The biggest form being anime which has hit eastern cultures full force.
If you dive deeper in the Japanese culture, you’ll find even stranger things. Things like different lore, fashion trends, places, and even some creepy things. Japan is a place that everyone should experience first hand, but this list should give you some idea of what to expect when you arrive.
15. Giant Octopus
This huge beast supposedly lurks in the Funka Bay located in Hokkaido Japan. In the book The Ainu and Their Folklore, John Batchelor is quoted as saying the monster would attack passing ships and spray a black noxious ink that would fill the lungs of crew members on board. It’s said the creature can reach up to 125 meters in size.
In the practice of Shintoism, the beast plays a bigger role than just an octopus that attacks boats. It is said to carry kami with it, which is a spirit that is practiced in the Shinto beliefs. This is similar in many ways to a guardian angel in western civilization. The beast is seen as a self-purification ritual to be performed by those who seek to follow Shintoism. It is strange to see the big beast as anything but terrifying, but it does make it less scary to see it as a positive influence.
14. Snaggletooth Trend
Japanese culture can seem very strange to people around the world. From entertainment to fashion, the Japanese culture is unique to say the least. There is a fashion craze that has hit Japan in the last decade that sees extra teeth as fashionable. The fashionable trend often has what is known as a “snaggletooth” to be its main draw, something that people are shunned for having in the States.
The trend has become so popular that there are even dentists that perform the surgery to implant new teeth in front of your real ones. The procedure costs a lot and can be comparable to getting a piercing. The strange trend has now begun to show that the one who has a snaggletooth can be seen as wealthy. This trend will probably stay in Japan, and will most likely not make it to any other part of the world, which probably for the better.
13. Kicked out of the Graveyard
A strange practice that would surely not work here in the States, Japan has evictions for their residents who have passed. The dead can be evicted from their grave, if rent isn’t payed for the plot of land by whoever is left in charge. While not all gravesites in Japan practice this, the more expensive places do. The dead can’t pay for their spot in the warmth, so the living relatives are expected to, but if they can’t they’ll be dug up and removed.
The main reason for evicting the people who can’t pay is because of the growing population, and in turn the growing number of people who need a gravesite. Therefore if someone can’t pay to have their dead buried in a gravesite, they have to make room for people who can. With a small island like Japan, and its rapid growth in population, every piece of land counts.
12. Banishment Rooms
The Japanese culture focuses around great work ethic. If someone doesn’t have great work ethic, you think they’d just be fired right? Well you’d be wrong, because the Japanese have faith in those without the knowledge of correct work ethic. So much so that they keep them on board, but isolate them in a room alone to continue their work. You can think of it as a time out session when you went to grade school.
The banishment room is a small isolated room where you are set up with things you need to perform your job. These rooms are located mostly in office buildings where it can be easy to start slacking off. In the banishment room, people not only have to continue their normal work, but their work load begins to stack up in order to teach them a lesson. This seems like a good idea, and they seem to work given that they’re still around. However, sometimes it might just be easier to fire somebody.
11. The Doll Village
A small village located in a smaller town in Japan is home to a village of dolls. The village is so small that there aren’t any businesses or even a market there. Many people have moved away from the village due to the lack of any resources that they’d find in bigger cities. Therefore, the town was slowly becoming a ghost town.
A lady living in the village was worried about its decreasing population and decided to do something about it. She was going to repopulate the ghost town, not with people, but with dolls. She began to examine the people leaving so she could recreate their faces in doll form. Soon over 350 dolls would populate the remote location in Japan. It would’ve been less creepy if it was just left empty…
10. Abandoned Island
Hashima Island, sometimes called “battleship island” is located right around Nagasaki. It was once inhabited, but is now abandoned and desolate. The island truly showcases the industrialization of Japan in the ’90s. Its bleak concrete buildings along with its oil drilling locations off the coast prove that battleship island was a rapid growing town during industrialization.
The island saw a large decrease in population due to the fact that the coal industry was depleting, however recently the island has become a tourist spot for curious visitors. It is described as being a step back in time, and tourists gather there to experience what it was like to live in an industrialized place. The town is bleak, and sends creepy vibes to those who visit it.
9. The Suicide Forest
The Aokigahara Forest located in Japan is a forest where people go to commit suicide. This forest’s more popular name is the “Suicide Forest.” While exploring the forest, you can find several people who’ve passed by taking their own life. People have seen pill bottles and even nooses. Many people who travel through the forest are looking to help the people who’ve taken their lives, by identifying them, and gathering information on the people to get back to their families.
Sometimes, explorers will find people “using” the suicide forest for its intended purpose, and sit and talk with them to try and befriend them before they take their own life. With so many deaths here, people get an eerie feeling that they’re being watched when walking through the forest, and there have been many accounts of seeing, and hearing spirits walking through the forest.
8. Dragon’s Triangle
Everyone has heard of the Bermuda Triangle located off the east coast of the States, right? But did you know there was another triangle that was eerily similar to the Bermuda? Probably not, but the triangle is located off the south coast of Japan, and connects at three separate points forming a triangle. The spot is known as the “Dragon’s Triangle.” The triangle lines up perpendicular with the Bermuda one across the map.
The Dragon’s Triangle is said to feature similar paranormal happenings to those of the Bermuda triangle. Many planes and vessels during the world wars would suddenly go missing when traveling through the triangle. The monitors inside planes and boats wouldn’t read and would bounce back and forth just like in the Bermuda. It is strange how the Dragon’s Triangle shares similar characteristics to the Bermuda, almost as if the two are connected somehow…
7. Adopting a Full Grown Man
Adoption has always been a great option to obtain a child if you didn’t have other means of producing one. However, have you ever thought of adopting a full grown man? Well in Japan, you can! The practice first began years ago when it was important to extend bloodlines and family names. When an adult was adopted, they could carry out certain roles in extending a family and keeping a legacy alive.
Other benefits to adult adoption are financial. An adult is able to work, which means more income. You may think that this is an old practice that isn’t done much anymore, since carrying the family name has become more obsolete as time passes, but you’d be wrong. Records show that in 2011, over 80,000 legal adults were adopted. Adoption is already a big thing in Japan, but now you know that can include full grown adults!
6. Quick Naps
With the work culture in Japan being very brutal and long, it’s no wonder we often see Japanese people sleeping. With such long workdays, the Japanese people have to sleep whenever they can. This sounds like a luxury, but they often don’t get the luxury of sleeping for 8+ hours a night. Therefore they’ve taken to adapting the ability to take quick power naps to fuel themselves throughout the day.
Often times at the workplace, if a person is seen taking a nap, instead of being scolded, they’ll be praised, as it’s a way of showing the person is a hard worker. It is said that people even fake nap when their supervisors are around to gain praise in the workplace. This is strange as most other places in the world are the complete opposite. This just means that the Japanese people are hard workers, and they have to replenish their energy.
5. Pool Art Illusion
When taking a look at this art piece, you may have to do a double take. As you could see people standing at the bottom of a pool fully clothed, and breathing! This is a unique art exhibit present in Kanazawa Japan. It was made by artist Leandro Erlich, and is simple in design. It’s a hole that is made to look like the bottom of a pool, and two sheets of transparent glass is where the magic lies.
It has become one of the biggest tourist attractions in Japan, and people will often take pictures of each other on either side. Guests can enter through the bottom of the pool, and look up, or look down on other people from above. Many people have taken things to another level, and posed as if they were swimming in a pool fully clothed. The art exhibit is an amazing piece of modern art, and should be on anyone’s list of places to visit.
4. The Oldest Business in the World
The oldest known business that is still operating to this day is located in Osaka, Japan. The building dates back to 578 AD and was founded by Prince Shotoku. The scroll that is still around is 10 feet long, and dates back 40 generations of owners that previously operated the business. The business was often passed down to new members of a family such as son-in-laws. It was either passed down to a son-in-law or daughter when the previous owner was no longer able to operate it.
The business sadly isn’t still under the same name, as it fell into hard times, and the owner had to sell the place in January of 2006. However the original building is still located there, and it operates as a construction company now. The original owners are still welcome to the business, where they continue to practice the art of carpentry.
3. Tako Tamaga
Tako Tamaga is a hit street snack in Japan. The snack smells and probably tastes just how it looks. It is an octopus head that is stuffed with quail eggs. Don’t worry, the octopus is grilled to add flavor. Put all that on a skewer, and you have yourself a nice Japanese treat. The odd flavor mixing of both the eggs and the octopus are a strange match, but it must be good, right?
Many street vendors sell them for cheap, and they’re often seen on most street corners in Japan. It would be an interesting thing to try for any tourist who goes there. While it may not sound appetizing, or even look that appetizing, it’s got to taste great! Tako Tamara is definitely one of the stranger Japanese cuisines, and combines two things people have never even thought of eating together.
The word hikikomori translates to “pulling inward, being confined.” This is otherwise known as introverted or socially withdrawn. It is most seen in adolescents and young adults who have the strong need to isolate themselves within the confinement of their rooms. People who suffer with hikikomori are often referred to as hermits or loners.
It has such a large presence in Japan due to the large amounts of societal pressure that is present in Japanese culture. Young adults and adolescents are expected to perform perfectly in school and get an education that will provide for their own family one day. This can be a lot of pressure for a young person, causing them to shut themselves in all the time. This mixed with the anxiety of a teenager growing up makes it no surprise that hikikomori is a phenomena that many suffer from.
1. Gas Mask Island
It is a common occurrence to see people in Japan wearing surgical masks to keep safe from spreading diseases, but have you ever seen a population of people who only wear gas masks, all the time? The Miyake Island is home to exactly that: a population of people forced to wear gas masks. The reason for the constant need of a gas mask is the fact that an active volcano is located on the island. The past few eruptions have made it dangerous to walk outside without filtering due to the poisonous gasses emitted from the magma.
The residents don’t wallow in the pity of living near an active volcano. They have actually made it a tourist destination. All tours offer gas masks to protect those who are visiting, and it takes people thought the whole island to see people living their lives around such a dangerous volcano. It should definitely be somewhere to visit if you’re visiting Japan just to see how the residents manage to live in peace there.
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