Some unnecessary knowledge about Japan

Japan can be a strange country sometimes, but that’s one more reason I love it so much! I’ve researched some of my favorite facts about this extraordinary place on earth to share them with you:

You can buy isles in Japan!
They may not be cheap or too big but hey, an isle in Japan! If you are interested anyway, go check out www.aqua-styles.com/island_japan.html

The biggest crossing in the world
is of course, the famous Shibuya Crossing! Everytime the light goes green, up to 15’000 people are crossing the street!

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The Shibuya crossing from above, right next to the Shibuya train station.

Oshiya – Pushing people for a living? 
Maybe you’ve already seen it on TV or social media; a man in uniform, that pushes people into a full train – and that’s his job! Well, what else do you expect in a 40 million people city at rush hour? (Ps. Oshiyas exist since 1955)

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A very old picture of Oshiyas, pushing commutes into the train!

Hikikomori?
Japanese people, mostly young people, that live in their room. Only their room. For months or worse – even years! Yes, like the nerds in the movies that only watch Animes & play video games the whole day, but that’s not funny at all! They are overwhelmed by the tough Japanese society. Even the parents are ashamed to have a Hikikomori in their family, so they don’t talkabout it. Because of that reason, many Hikikomoris don’t get the help they’d need.

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Illustration of a Hikikomori

Fell asleep at work? Totally OK in Japan!

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“He must have been working hard”


Inemuri – that’s how they call it. Which means being awake physically but asleep in mind. There are any reasons: The Japanese have very long working hours & u
sually long trips to work, so there’s no time for sleep. So if you sleep at work, your colleagues will think “he must have been working very hard”

 

What does the chicken say?
In Japan, they use animal sounds (like meow or bark) for some animals, we wouldn’t even guess! some examples:

Cat/Neko                                    “Nya” (kinda accurate)
Dog/Inu                                      “Wan Wan” (hmm)
Chicken/Niwatori                     “kokekokko” (I mean, what?)
Kickup/Kakkou                         “ho hokekyo”    (say it loud!)
Horse/Uma                                 “hihiin“(depends on the pronunciation, I guess)
Monkey/Saru                             “kikii“(Never, ever heard a monkey speak)

Of course there are many more strange things about Japan, but for now this must be enough. Stay tuned for more soon!

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“KOKEKOKKO !!”

All pictures in this posts are not mine and belong to their creators

「The Japanese Hospitality 日本のお持て成し」

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Shinjuku, Tokyo

You sure may have heard, that the Japanese hospitality is pretty warm. They love to show foreigners their country and are very proud of it.

I can confirm and the reason I can, is my letterfriend. I actually stayed in Tokyo 東京, but she lives in Kōbe 神戸(about 3 hours distance). Anyway, I travelled with the bullet train (Shinkansen 新幹線) from Tokyo to Kōbe. She waited at the Shin Osaka train station for me, and we went to her parent’s apartment together. Her parents were already excited to meet me, they even made a “Welcome to Japan, Sabrina” cake for me! I did’nt expect something like this!

I could spend the night there, it’s been such a dream to sleepover at a real Japanese family. The next morning, Mayo san’s (my letterfriend) mother made us some Onigiri. What a feeling, sitting at the table with a Japanese family, feets under the Kotatsu 炬燵 (low, wooden table frame covered by a futon or heavy blanket, upon which a table top sits. Underneath is a heat source which keeps you warm) and biting in to a still warm Onigiri おにぎり.

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Rikscha ride through Gion, the Geisha town in Kyōto 

We spent some days together, she showed me the best spots around Kyōto and even visited the Universal Studio Japan (USJ) together with me. During my stay in Japan, i had the best time while traveling with Mayo san. It’s so much easier to travel and enjoy, when you are with someone that speaks the language, in a country where not everyone speaks english.

On my last day, I could experience the Japanese hospitality one last time for my stay. My flight back home was in the morning. I had to take the shuttle from Shinjuku Station 新宿区駅 to the airport. When I arrived at the Shinjuku Station, the shuttle was already full. Luckily, I was early enough to wait for the next one. I thought “hey, I should go to a Japanese supermarket for one last time!” So I started looking for a Family Mart, Seven Eleven or Lawson. When I found one, there was a little stair to reach the store. As you can imagine, my suitcase was pretty heavy so I could’nt lift it up those stairs. On behalf of the low criminality rate in Japan, i thought I’ll just leave it outside for a min. Before I entered the store, i picked my wallet and sorted out my last coins… So, a young, 18 years old girl, no make up & hair done, wearing a training suit and holding a suitcase and looking for her last coins. Must have looked funny, anyway a Japanese lady walked out of the store, holding for a second, then walked away. But she came back and gave me a piece of bread with two hands (respectfully). I took it, also with 2 hands and whispered “Arigato Gozaimasu!”. As fast as she came, the fast she’s gone. This story still makes me smile, whenever I think of it!

Sorry for that long post, here’s a picture of my Mayo san & me in Kimonos.

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My letter friend Mayo san & me in Kimonos

「One day at the Fushimi Inari Shrine 伏見稲荷大社」

I spent some days at the house of my letterfriend Mayo san, in Kōbe 神戸. She made up a little plan to show me the culture of Japan, but it was a surprise. We woke up early in the morning to catch the train to Kyoto 京都. In the evening, after spending the day in Kyoto, our next destination was the “Fushimi Inari Shrine”.
The final stations name was “Inari” 稲荷. We walked out of this little train station and the entrance of the shrine was just in front of us! I was surprised how small this little district was, even though this shrine is so famous.

Mayo san booked a hotel near the shrine, so we could visit it the next day. I think it’s a japanese thing, she booked 2 rooms even though we were only 2 persons. But for me, it was Ok 🙂

The next morning, we finally headed out to the shrine. There were many statues of foxes “kitsune” 狐, which symbolize a “Kami 神” – a god.
While walking upstairs, there was a group of school girls that were watching me. As soon as I got closer to them, they asked me if I want to take a photo with them (if you’re a foreigner in Japan, this will happen to you pretty often)

Walking through those red “Tōris 鳥居”, is really a nice & calming thing. It looks so cool, and sometimes you get to a crossing where you have to choose which way to go, (it doesn’t matter which one you choose, all ways go to the top) some are faster, some take longer.

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One time, we reached a beautiful place where you get out of the tōri way and see some shrines. Then the tōri continue.

 

At the end we walked back down a little street next to the tōris.

 

 

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We spotted an old lady, selling something to eat, so we got a little hungry. When we got closer, I recognized that she was selling Mochi 餅! Mochi are little rice cakes, that usually are gummy on the outside and soft on the inside.

 

The Mimg_3100ochis had rosish color, so I could imagine what kind of taste they had – Sakura さくら!(Japanese cherry blossom) There were only 2 left so of course we took this chance and enjoyed the end of this day with a little bite of Sakura Mochi ( ^ω^ )