Five weird things that only exist in Japan

Jul 05, 2020

Although Japan is known as one of the most innovative and creative societies in the world, the country is known for its distinctive culture and unique traditions.

Visiting Japan for holidays is fun, but sometimes it can give you a culture shock, as there are many weird things that we can’t find anywhere, but Japan.

Prepare to raise an eyebrow, or two, as we introduce five things that only exist in Japan, which make Japan weird and wonderful at the same time.

They still use fax machines

It’s 2020 and when it comes to sending documents, most of us would go paperless, wouldn’t we?

Although Japan is known as one of the most technologically advanced countries, Japanese still send documents using fax machines.

They tend to fascinate printed documents more than digital documents. Most companies still send invoices through the post instead of the e-mail, and they still hand out paper documents during meetings.

Hikikomori: people who never go outside

Within the last decades, the number of people withdrawing from all social ties – work, school, friends, hobbies – has increased to more than half a million Japanese.

Hikikomori lock themselves in their bedrooms, spending their time on the Internet, playing video games, or watching TV. Around 80% of the hikikomori in Japan are males.

They don’t use signatures, but name stamps

Sounds so weird, huh?

Japanese use name stamps instead of signatures, and most legal documents in Japan have a space, or sometimes multiple spaces for the parties to stamp their name stamps.

Since Japanese’s names are written in kanji characters, it’s difficult to create signs that resemble their names, so signing culture is never common in Japan.

Students clean their own schools

Unlike other countries, where janitors clean schools, students clean their own schools in Japan.

Cleaning the classroom is a part of the education, so students set aside time every day, usually before the day ends, to clean and maintain their schools by cleaning the classrooms and the bathrooms.

They celebrate Christmas with KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken)

In most countries, fast food joint might be the last food choice you’d want to have when celebrating Christmas, but KFC is the go-to spot in Japan.

The Japanese eat KFC on Christmas Eve, and apparently the tradition started in the 1970s, when the manager of the first KFC branch in Japan overheard foreigners saying they missed having turkey on Christmas day.

KFC’s good marketing help the tradition to stay popular, and now, if you want to eat KFC on for the Christmas Eve, you might need to order it weeks in advance to avoid the risk of spending hours waiting in line for it.