Thanks to our friend Ron from Japan:
1. More than 70% of Japan consists of mountains, including more than 200 volcanoes. While poor in natural resources, it is more successful than most in making use of human resources to compete with other countries.
2. Mt. Fuji, the tallest mountain in Japan, is an active volcano. It is said that one must climb Mt. Fuji once in one’s life, but “only a fool does it twice.”
3. Before climbing Mt. Fuji, how about a traditional breakfast? …
steamed rice, soy bean paste soup, and side dishes such as grilled fish, a small sweet rolled omelet, pickles, dried seaweed, fermented beans, and salad. It tastes a lot better than it sounds!
4. Sometimes the trains are so crowded railway staff are employed to cram passengers inside. But always the staffs wear white gloves when they do their cramming. Speaking of cramming, more than a million people are estimated to pass through Shinjuku Station every day.
5. Many Japanese celebrate Christmas with the purchase of Kentucky fried chicken and a birthday cake.
6. There are four different writing systems in Japan, romaji, katakana, hiragana, and kanji.
7. Japan is more than green tea. Coffee is very popular and Japan imports approximately 85% of Jamaica's annual coffee production.
8. Many toilets in Japan are heated, have a built-in bidet and a sound system to cover up embarassing noises. Most homes have special bathroom slippers that folks slip on each time they enter the toilet area.
9. When moving into an apartment it is often required to give the landlord a "gift" of money equal to two months' rent. This is called “key money”. The key is not gold-coated.
10. When traveling at top speed (300km/h or 187mph) the shinkansen requires 3 minutes and 45 seconds to come to a complete stop. Trains on some routes run approximately every 5 minutes. The trains leave on schedule to the minute under normal circumstances.
11. Shaving your head is a way to show contrition in Japan.
12. The term karaoke means "empty orchestra" in Japanese. Your “juhachiban” or “no. 18” is the song that you feel most comfortable to perform at a karaoke club as it is the song you sing best—or have sung the most!
13. On average, it takes about 7-10 years of intensive training to become a fugu (blowfish) chef. This training may not be needed in the future as some fish farms in Japan are producing non-poisonous fugu.
14. Ovens are not very common in Japanese kitchens. Most people use gas table and/or microwave oven. Refrigerators are small, freezer compartments are smaller! Daily shopping for food is the norm.
15. Japanese snowmen are made with two balls, not three. The man in the moon is seen as a rabbit.