Japanese culture is unique and unlike anywhere else on earth. This is due to its past and the long periods of isolation from outside influences. Modern day Japanese culture is a combination of Western and Asian influences. In today’s Japan you are just as likely to see teenagers dressed in traditional dress, cosplay outfits or Western high fashion. Japan is such a melting pot of differing cultures that it’s impossible to list all of the nation’s quirks and aspects in one place.
The Japanese language is spoken only in Japan and some immigrant communities dotted around the globe. For Westerners it is one of the most difficult languages to learn as it is written in a combination of four scripts and none of the spoken words have a recognisable sound in Western Latin based languages. Modern Japanese has however embraced some Western words as the country embraced globalization. English has been embraced by Japanese business and international diplomats and the demand for English teachers remains high.
There are many religions being practised in Japan today but the most popular faiths are Shintoism and Buddhism. Religion does not play as important a role as in other cultures such as in Muslim or Christian countries but they do have customs and rituals for birthdays, funerals, weddings and religious holidays.
Painting has always been an important part of Japanese culture, encompassing a wide variety of styles and genres. Many of today’s Japanese painters work in styles that are heavily influenced by popular culture and anime. Japan is also famous for the art of folding paper called Origami and the art of arranging flowers called Ikebana. As well as painting the Japanese also created the art of calligraphy, the artistic writing of Japanese letters.
Some facts about Japanese culture
There are four different writing systems in Japan, romaji, katakana, hiragana, and kanji.
The Japanese language has thousands of foreign loan words, known as gairaigo. These words are often truncated, e.g. personal computer = paso kon. The number of foreign loan words is steadily increasing.
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 rasied 1-2 inches indicating you should to take off your slippers.