From art, food and education to a strong cultural identity there is so much more to learn from Japan besides just planning a trip to see its beautiful natural environment.
This captivating country has a culture that stands out as one of the leading most prominent cultures around the world. With modern ideas mixing with more traditional ones, we take a look at some of the very interesting customs that still form part of the Japans culture.
Kabuki is a traditional performing art that has a very distinctive style and music. It has been around since the 1600's but continues to flourish in the modern world of Japan. With singers and an orchestra of drums, flutes, violent actions, and captivating dances, Kabuki actors have a very recognizable dress code. Their thick makeup is designed to express the characters they represent, red strips around cheeks and eyes signifying power and youth.
Fugu is Japan's toxic blowfish and is in fact, one of the most lethal natural products on the planet. Chefs are required to train for a minimum of 3 years before taking an exam and being legally allowed to cook and serve the fish. Fugu has deep historical roots in Japanese culture and people pray for a good pufferfish catch before a special shrine. There are 30 prescribed steps in preparing this dish, and it can be served in stews, broths or fish.
In Japanese homes, the area inside the front door is known as genkan meaning entrance. it is a regular custom for one to leave their shoes at the front of the house for slippers, yet it is required for one to change their slippers again when going to the bathroom. Cleanliness is an inherent part of Japanese culture and Buddhism describes cleanliness as a prerequisite for a peaceful mind. It is said that the Shinto gods hate filth or dirt, and therefore in the Shinto shrine one is always required to wash one's hands before praying.
Japan's wealth of great writers is also linked to the country's focus on literacy, with its literacy rate being one of the highest in the world. Japanese education continues to have both traditional and modern influences. With music and art taught in almost every school, the high value placed upon the arts in its educational systems forms part of a bigger picture that the country aims to achieve. One of excellence, cultured diversity and success.
There are many things that we can learn from the people of Japan. Whether it's their calmness and zest for a fulfilled life, passion for the arts or their persistence for greatness. Japan continues to be a place of evolving change and growth.