9 Things You Can Only See in Japan Even If You Travel the Whole World

5 years ago

Elements from Japanese culture are in our lives right now: many people watch anime and Japanese TV series, they eat wok and sushi, and they listen to songs by Japanese singers. And even such a seemingly ordinary thing as karaoke actually originated in Japan. However, there are still some things that can only be seen in the Land of the Rising Sun.

We at Bright Side have found out which cultural things can’t be seen anywhere but in Japan.


“When you see a green man, start crossing the road,” we learned this back when we were children. But on some pedestrian crossings in Japan, you won’t see a green man. Instead, you will see the rabbit Miffy — a character created by Dick Bruna, a Dutch children’s book author. But how did this character make it into Japanese culture? The answer is simple: Miffy looks a lot like Hello Kitty — the “face” of the famous brand.


We are used to sitting on chairs in local cafes and bars. But the Japanese are used to a high level of comfort wherever they are. So, the chairs in Japanese cafes look a lot more like low armchairs that you can lie on. The Europeans call this piece of furniture Izakaya — just like the type of establishment where you can see these low chairs.


In order to reduce stress and get rid of headaches, we often use special massagers which have a very simple design. In Japan, there is a more creative and “lazy” variant — electric devices that look like multicolored octopuses.


Pringles have been very popular in a crazy number of countries for many years now. But in Japan, Pringles is a brand of noodles that people in this country eat very often.


It seems to be completely normal for us to stop by the nearest cafe to drink a cup of coffee or just sit alone at the table during our lunch break. But in Japanese cafes, the visitors who are alone get huge plush Moomins so that they don’t feel sad.


Most coffee vending machines across the world are very similar — all of them have several buttons for choosing a drink and traditional paper cups. In Japan, a service that allows you to order a coffee in an app and pick it up from a store at a certain time is becoming more and more popular. Instead of paper or plastic cups, there are bottles with multicolored tags you can customize.


Have you eaten animal-shaped cookies? It is always fun to put your hand in the bag and try to guess which “animal” you are going to pick — a crocodile or a turtle? Or maybe a lion? And in Japan, they have the same things but with Pokémons.


In the rest of the world, on New Year’s and on Christmas, people cook a lot of tasty foods and have a huge party. This is what separates a regular meal from a celebration. This is strange, but in Japan, people have a different attitude toward these things: on Christmas night, they love eating chicken from KFC which replaces the traditional Christmas turkey.


If you eat sushi often, you might have noticed that the rice often falls off pieces of fish once you pick it up with chopsticks. However, there is no such problem in Japan because they have a special recipe: rice is mixed with a sauce that contains sugar, salt, and rice vinegar.

And what other things about Japanese life can only be found in Japan today? Do you know about any?

Illustrated by Yekaterina Ragozina for Bright Side


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We have a japanese sto with some souvenirs and other tings in my city, and Iactyally was there tosay. I saw a massager in a shape of an octopus there.. :D

I found it a bit weird but now i see what it meant


when I'm a bit bored I watch videos about vending machines in Japan.. they have so many! Some of them even peel coconuts and drill holes in them so you can drink coconut water with a straw


I wish I could eat KFC for newyear :D Sadly my parents don't like it


I don't know what the deal with KFC and Christmas is, I've never heard of it in my 20+ years in Japan. Most Japanese work on Christmas if it's a weekday, even moreso now that the previous closest Japanese holiday, December 23 (the previous emperor's birthday) is no longer a holiday.


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