字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 Have you ever thought it’s a good idea to take a nap in the middle of the street? Or, maybe, you cleaned your entire school when you were a teenager? If not, then you’re probably not Japanese. Here’s a little something for you from the Land of the Rising Sun — I think we could all learn a thing or two from them! On average, the Japanese live 4 years longer than Americans. Their life expectancy is the second longest in the world at 85 years, beat only by Monaco with 89 years. (But they have more yachts per capita.) By other accounts, though, San Marino also has a higher life expectancy. On the topic of age, by the way, Japan has many more elderly people than children. In fact, 21% of Japanese people are over the age of 65 — this is the largest proportion in the world. This might be since the quality of life, especially when it concerns the crime rate, is way better in Japan than in most countries. For example, as per 2018 statistics, there are just 3 robberies per 100,000 people in Tokyo. A paradise for law-abiding citizens! The situation with work, especially office jobs, is a whole ‘nother issue. Japan has a 40-hour work week, but most employees voluntarily work overtime, generally extending it to 60 hours. This is a habit taken from the mid-20th century, when the government encouraged people to work long hours to restore the country’s economy after the war. That’s why it’s become normal to take naps right in the workplace or even in the streets. Strolling around Tokyo in the evening, you’ll notice people dressed in neat suits just sleeping on the ground like it’s their own cozy bed. There’s even a word for it in Japanese: inemuri. Falling asleep on the job shows that you’re working hard, so some people even fake it to get appreciation! Wow, getting a pay raise for napping in your office chair… Sounds like fun to me! Zzzzzzz. Still, companies and the government alike are doing their best to make people go home earlier. One IT company, for example, makes its employees wear purple “capes of shame” on the last Wednesday of a month if they work too many hours. I wonder how hardworking these people are, then? Well, they’re like that for a reason, after all. All students are required to tidy up in their school during the day. The tradition is called o-soji, and it includes mopping floors and cleaning bathrooms. It teaches the students to help and respect other people, and they sure take it seriously! High social standards have a downside, though. There are currently over half a million people in Japan called hikikomori — these are young adults who seclude themselves at home and won’t go out no matter what. The government links this phenomenon to the psychological and social pressure, and frankly, I couldn’t agree more. Anyway, rigorous practice in education makes the Japanese successful in life most of the time. The literacy is close to 100%, which is the highest in the world, and the unemployment rate is only about 4%, which is, as you may guess, pretty low compared to most countries. But don’t think the Japanese don’t know how to have fun! There are numerous festivals taking place all over Japan, and oh how strange they are to us westerners. For example, Hadaka Matsuri, or “naked festival,” is where thousands of men and boys take off their clothes and fight for a sacred object to gain luck for the year. Well, okay. Whatever makes you happy, guys… Hakuna Matata. (oops sorry, that’s not Japanese, that’s Disney…) About happiness, there are “cuddle cafes” in the Land of the Rising Sun, which are made specifically for lonely and miserable people. There, you can pay to lay next to a person and share a moment of peace and understanding. For an additional fee, you can also stare at each other for a minute or stroke their hair. Hmm. I don’t know if that’s sweet or creepy. One of the reasons for loneliness might be that the Japanese are socially required to hang out with their colleagues after work. So you don’t just meet up with friends and forget about work after leaving the office; you go to a bar and drink with your coworkers, and sometimes even your boss. Now that’s a frightening perspective for some. Japan is a traditionalist society, so men are commonly breadwinners and seen as heirs to their families. That’s why an unusual thing has happened: there are more adults adopted there than children. Most often the adopted are men aged 20 to 30 years; this is done to have an heir or, for instance, to pass down a business. Remember I told you about their diligence? Well, it concerns every sphere of life, including public transport. Japanese trains are almost never late, and if they are, they must issue official delay certificates for passengers. This way, they have proof they weren’t late because of their own tardiness. Politeness is one of Japan’s trademarks known all over the world. There are numerous formalities to be observed in communication with different people, and they’re all rather strict. They also have about 20 ways to say “sorry.” Now let that sink in. What is considered polite in Japan may sometimes surprise foreigners, though. For example, slurping your noodles with gusto is a way to show your appreciation to the cook. So don’t restrain yourself, slurp! Ahhh! Avoid walking down the street with your food, however. It’s not exactly rude today, but still not very classy. Don’t be surprised when you see the Japanese standing right at the spot where they bought some treat, and eating it — they just don’t want to walk with it. It’s also considered impolite to talk on your phone in a confined public space, such as public transport. Great idea. Shall I repeat that one? There, you’re expected to put your phone in your bag or pocket, turn off the sound, and only answer it if it’s urgent. And even then, you should keep your voice down. You don’t want dirty looks from the locals, do you? You’ll probably find it next to impossible to talk on the phone on a subway train in Japan anyway. This is especially true for Tokyo, where there are special people called “pushers” on many stations. They do exactly what their name implies: pushing people into the train cars. Try pulling out your phone when you’re pinned to the wall! Back to work issues: if you ever find yourself in a Japanese restaurant, don’t even think about tipping your waiter. It’s considered rude, and the reason is simple: they do their job, and they do it well because it’s an honor. If you give them a tip, you offend them by assuming they do it for extra cash. You sporting tattoos? Then Japanese public baths are off limits for you, sorry. Tattoos are considered ugly and associated with yakuza (or organized Japanese criminal gangs), so no one will allow you entry to a public bath without them at least covered. Recently, though, this has changed in many baths because Japan is trying to be more open to tourists. Slippers are a real thing in all Japanese homes and in many establishments. When entering someone’s home, you’ll be offered a pair, so make sure you always take your shoes off. If no slippers are offered, you should still leave your shoes outside. Cleanliness is a virtue, you know. Make sure you wear sox without any holes. So, what other curious things do you know about Japan? Sound off in the comments below! If you learned something new today, then give this video a like, share it with a friend, and here are some more cool videos to check out from the Bright Side of life!