As a country that isolated itself from the outside world for 100s of years, it is no surprise that Japan has developed an incredibly unique and distinctive culture. This uniqueness helps to contribute to Japan’s popularity as a travel destination, but it also means that there are a few things about this country that you might not know about.
Lots of Japanese Streets Don’t Have Names
While you might be used to your streets having names or numbers, this isn’t usually the case in Japan. The Japanese system instead numbers the blocks of buildings, rather than the streets in between them. To make things even more different, the houses or buildings in these blocks aren’t numbered in a sequential order as you move down the street, instead, they are generally numbered in the order that they were built.
While this might be all rather confusing to a western used to their own systems, it works well enough for the Japanese and if you ever find yourself lost or unsure how to reach a certain block there are lots of maps to be found around Japanese cities. If you’d like something a little bit more foolproof, then I’d recommend sticking to GPS to find your way.
Baseball is Really Popular
Lots of people associate baseball with being an American sport, but it actually has incredible popularity in Japan to the point that it is often considered the national sport. In fact, baseball is so popular in Japan that many Japanese people have expressed surprise that it is also considered the national sport of America! When you’re in Japan you can regularly find people watching baseball or find a game to attend yourself.
Wearing Surgical Masks is Good Manners
The image of Japanese people wearing surgical masks while they go around their daily business has become somewhat popular in western imaginings of the country, but we often get the significance of wearing these masks the wrong way around. While many Australians might think that Japanese people wear these masks as a protection from other people’s illness, it is actually the other way around. It is considered conscientious and polite in Japan to wear a surgical mask when you are ill to avoid spreading it to the people around you. Some people also wear these masks for protection from pollen and to cover their faces without makeup.
Stick to Cash
Despite garnering a reputation as a high-tech nation, it might be surprising to learn that in Japan it is rather uncommon for businesses and restaurants to accept card payments. While some larger businesses might accept payment from cards, the vast majority of place require payment in cash – so make sure you have plenty of Yen while travelling in Japan.