Japan is a country filled with history, culture, traditions, ceremonies, a country of paradoxes and one where stereotypes (the good ones) are real.
Here's a list of 8 things that will blow your mind when visiting Japan.
1. Football (Soccer) Fields Are On Top Of Buildings
Yes, Space in Tokyo is such a premium commodity that having a football field in the center of town is almost unthinkable, however if there's someone who can solve problems linked to space are certainly the Japanese. They have become masters in creating space where you would least expect it. Thus, you find soccer fields appearing on top of buildings so that sport crazy Japanese can enjoy a game without going out of the city.
2. There Is Seafood That Looks Like It Came Straight Outta Jurassic World
Waking up in the middle of the night so that you can be at the Tokyo Fish Market before dusk is something you will never regret doing. This is a great show you must not miss when visiting Japan. You will probably see fish and seafood that you've never seen before.
Calling them "gigantic" though, it's an understatement!
3. Fake Food Samparu
One of the first worries people have when they are about to visit Japan is the language. How will you know where to go and most importantly, if you don't speak Japanese, how will you order food? Knowing how to order a dish would be nice since you need food to live well, don't worry because the kind Japanese culture has thought of creating replicas of each dish and displaying it in their windows.
These food displays are called, "sampuru" a word that originated from the English word sample.
Food dishes are handmade and custom-tailored to the restaurants and even common items such as ramen are modified to match each establishment's menu. This craft has become a real form of art, and it's so appreciated that regular competitions are held in creating fake food dishes.
The replicas are so mouthwatering and gorgeous that you will probably feel hungry every time you'll take a walk someplace, even if you just ate!
4. A Traditional Tea Ceremony
If you made it all the way to Japan, and you refuse to take part in a traditional Tea Ceremony at least once, let me tell you openly that you made a huge mistake!
Tea Ceremonies are the essence of Japanese culture in... a tea cup!
The one we participated in was at the Cultural Art Center in Kyoto. During the ceremony, you will learn how each item and how you are handling it needs correct positioning because nothing is placed or used without a meaning, remember that!
5. The Mayonnaise Museum
Remember that legendary Kewpie mayonnaise we mentioned at number six? Well, Kewpie has its very own museum!
Yes, this mayonnaise is so loved, that they decided to create a museum that educate you about the brand, takes you through all the stages of its creation as well as hosting a family friendly place to eat and hang out.
6. Wood Is Everywhere
Wood is without a doubt the most loved material in Japan if you look at how much it's used. From rice spoons and hammers to furniture, floors and buildings: wood is everywhere! Woodwork and carvings are one of the most ancient Japanese crafts. They even built temples entirely out of wood.
In Nara for example, you'll find the Eastern Temple, the biggest wooden structure in the world. This temple also includes the biggest bronze statue of Buddha in the world which is 15 meters high and weighs 500 tons.
7. Snakes Drinks
Habushu is an Awamori based alcoholic indigenous drink unique to Okinawa.
Habushu is more commonly known as Habu Sake or Okinawan Snake Wine.
The name, as you have probably guessed takes after the fact that they put a Habu snake inside the bottle. Both methods used is quite cruel to the animal that either dies by drowning or by human hand.
Superstitions lead to believe that drinking Habushu brings positive effects such as energy and positively affect male libido as Habu snakes mate for up to 26 hours.
8. Zebra Crossings
If you visited big cities in the world like New York or London, you know how long it can take to cross a cross junction if you need to go to a place directly diagonally to you. In Japan instead it's easy as 1, 2, 3! On big junctions, zebra crossings go in fact diagonally in addition to the standard ways, making your city life a lot easier and faster. After all this is Japan!!