Would you ever believe that in Japan, it’s actually polite to slurp your soup? Or that black cats are an omen of good luck? Japan is one of the most fascinating countries in the world thanks its incredible mix of modernity and tradition. To prove it to you, we’ve rounded up nine crazy facts we’re sure you’ve never heard before.
1. Late-night dancing was illegal in Japan until last year.
In an effort to curb prostitution after WWII, Japan instated a law that prohibited late night dancing. 67 years later, thanks to a petition and preparation for the influx of tourist for the 2020 Olympics, the ban was finally lifted.
2. When eating soup, it’s polite to slurp.
You’re also expected to bring the bowl of soup close to your face, and stuff the noodles into your mouth with chopsticks.
3. Japan imports 80% of Jamaica’s annual coffee production
Highly regarded for its aroma, sweetness, and clean brew, Jamaican coffee from the blue mountain region is Japan’s favorite type of coffee. It’s made from the Arabica Typica variety, which has two-thirds less caffeine than other beans.
4. The country of Japan is composed of 6,852 islands.
While Japan is filled with islands, only 430 are inhabited by people! The main island, called Honshu, houses Japan’s main cities: Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, and Kobe.
5. The literacy rate in Japan is 99%.
Thanks to programs outside the classroom, close to all Japanese children receive access to school and learn to read.
6. Black cats are actually omens of good luck.
That’s right! Plus, the are believed to bring single women many suitors.
7. 70% of the country of Japan is a mountain and volcanoes.
Japan is composed of 70 volcanoes that have risen above the sea level and formed a land mass. Mountains and volcanoes are evolving structures, however, so they can cause earthquakes and other natural disasters.
8. There are 5 million vending machines in Japan.
Vending machines are so popular that customers can buy much more than snacks and drinks. Some vending machines in Japan sell flower arrangements, hot food, fresh eggs, clothing, cooked meat, and more!
9. Karaoke, the popular game of singing to popular songs, means “empty orchestra” in Japanese.
Karaoke machines emerged in the 1970s and quickly caught on in restaurants and hotel rooms. Later, businesses that rented rooms with karaoke machines emerged in Japan and spread to the rest of the world.