For several years in the 1980s and 1990s I was a consultant to several resort owners/operators in Japan, and also to the Japanese Ministry of Education. During my many trips there I learned some truly interesting things about the country and its people. What follows is a short collection of facts about this very interesting country.
- More than 70% of Japan consists of mountains, including more than 200 volcanoes.
- Mt. Fuji, the tallest mountain in Japan, is an active volcano.
- A nice musk melon, similar to a cantaloupe, may sell for over $300 US.
- There are four different writing systems in Japan, romaji, katakana, hiragana, and kanji.
- There are around 1,500 earthquakes every year in Japan.
- The Japanese language has thousands of foreign words, known as gairaigo. These words are often truncated, e.g. personal computer = paso kon. The number of foreign loan words is steadily increasing.
- Tsukiji market in Tokyo is the world’s largest fish market.
- The term karaoke means “empty orchestra” in Japanese.
- Raised floors help indicate when to take off shoes or slippers. At the entrance to a home in Japan, the floor will usually be raised about 6 inches indicating you should take off your shoes and put on slippers. If the house has a tatami mat room its floor may be raised 1-2 inches indicating you should to take off your slippers.
- Geisha means “person of the arts” and the first geisha were actually men.
***This article was written by one of our contributing writers: Malcolm Noden