Japan is an island country in East Asia with Tokyo as its biggest city and capital. It’s the 62nd largest country in the world by area, but 11th largest by population. It’s the 3rd largest economy in the world by nominal GDP and Japan’s life expectancy is the longest in the world, which is 84.3 years.

Japan has not only gained economic influence, miraculously standing up on their feet after World War II, but cultural too; for example, anime and manga, which originated in Japan, are popular all around the world, in some places even more popular than in Japan. And sushi has become a common food that you can easily order in restaurants or find in supermarkets outside Japan.

These are some of the obvious things we think about when we’re talking about Japan, but Bored Panda prepared you a list of the most interesting and fascinating facts about the country of the rising sun that you may not have heard of before. So enjoy and don’t forget to upvote the facts that surprised you the most!

#1

Part Of A Japanese Student's Daily Routine Is Cleaning The School After Classes

Part Of A Japanese Student's Daily Routine Is Cleaning The School After Classes

There is a tradition, that after classes, students remain at school to clean it. At the end of the day, students spend about 15 minutes vacuuming, sweeping, and cleaning various spaces in the school. It is believed that it helps to promote students' understanding of life skills such as personal responsibility. It is also an opportunity to engage with other students that are not classmates and spend time with teachers in a less formal environment. Students become aware of cleanliness and don‘t make such a mess in the first place because they know they'll have to clean it themselves. Just 15 minutes a day have a huge impact so that a child will grow up into a more responsible and respectful adult.

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Pezor Zass
Community Member
1 month ago

This should be everywhere

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#2

Japanese Football Fans Stay After The Game To Help Clean The Stadium

Japanese Football Fans Stay After The Game To Help Clean The Stadium

The world was so impressed when Japanese football fans stayed after the games during the World Cup 2018 and helped stadium workers clean up. They did that regardless of whether Japan won or lost. It’s actually part of their culture, as cleaning up is a part of their school lives, so the habits learnt at a young age stick with them through adulthood.

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Max Thompson
Community Member
1 month ago

Heh helping the community.

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#3

In The City Of Shimabara, In The Street Drainage Canals, Water Is So Clean That Koi Fish Live In It

In The City Of Shimabara, In The Street Drainage Canals, Water Is So Clean That Koi Fish Live In It

Because of the volcanic activities of Mount Unzen, there was a earthquake and tsunami in 1792, which triggered fresh water springs that now flow through the city of Shimabara on Japan’s Kyushu island. The water was so clean that in 1978, authorities decided to release colorful koi fish into the 100-meter-long waterway. It is even more amazing when you know that koi fish can survive only in extremely pure water, so that proves the quality of the water and it is just so cool to look at.

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Jam
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

Woahhhh I did not know that

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#4

Many Toilets Have Sinks Attached To Their Tanks To Save Water

Many Toilets Have Sinks Attached To Their Tanks To Save Water

There are many toilets in Japan that have sinks attached to their tanks. A person can wash their hands with clean water, which then goes to the tank and they flush the toilet with the same water they just washed their hands with. It’s such a simple, yet clever way of saving water.

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Andrew Gibb
Community Member
1 month ago

they should all have this

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#5

Many Public Toilets Have Baby Holders In The Stalls

Many Public Toilets Have Baby Holders In The Stalls

Many public toilets have baby holders attached to the wall so your hands are free and you can keep your eyes on the baby the whole time without fear of them running off or getting in some other trouble.

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Joey Sanchez
Community Member
1 month ago

seen this a couple times in america

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#6

There Are More Than 6,000 Manhole Covers Decorated With Art In Japan

There Are More Than 6,000 Manhole Covers Decorated With Art In Japan

The Japanese have managed to make boring and unattractive things such as manhole covers into something you can call art. There are thousands of different designs: different municipalities have their own unique ones that you can't find in other places, reflecting their local culture. In the 1980s, Japan installed new sewers countrywide and to generate some PR around this project, local municipalities decided to decorate the access points with beautiful covers. The craze took off and now there are almost 6,000 artistic manhole covers through the country.

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Susan Green
Community Member
1 month ago

This is gorgeous!

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#7

Japan Is A Super Clean Country

Japan Is A Super Clean Country

The cleanliness on the streets, in buildings, and on public transportation may surprise you if you’re not used to it, but in Japan, cleanliness is a lifestyle. What is more, spaces are kept tidy not by hiring more staff to do it, but the residents themselves keep it that way. Japanese people are taught from a young age to clean up after themselves. For 12 years while they’re at school, cleaning their environment is a part of the daily routine, so the habits the Japanese acquire remain their whole lives and even if they aren’t really up to cleaning, they still do it out of a sense of duty and responsibility.

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Susan Green
Community Member
1 month ago

I wish every country was this clean.

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#8

Some Bathrooms Have Electronic Maps Showing Which Stalls Are Occupied

Some Bathrooms Have Electronic Maps Showing Which Stalls Are Occupied

When you enter some bathrooms in Japan, you can see an electronic restroom map showing which stalls are occupied and which are open. Furthermore, these screens show if the toilet in the stall is squatting or not. It’s a really useful idea saving people the awkwardness of checking which stalls are free, especially if the doors are closed.

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TheReader19
Community Member
1 month ago

I like this

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#9

In Japan, Cars Are Usually Parked In Reverse And Always Between The Lines

In Japan, Cars Are Usually Parked In Reverse And Always Between The Lines

There is an unwritten rule that people park only in reverse and then leave their parking spot going forward. That is because Japan is so densely populated and parking spaces are small, so it is safer for them when leaving a space for a driver to be able to see oncoming traffic and not to worry about pedestrians that you accidentally may not notice. Also, because of the limited space, drivers park their cars very neatly between the lines.

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Vicky Z
Community Member
1 month ago

So i guess you can spot the tourist immediately!

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#10

Japanese Researchers Developed Ice Cream That Won’t Melt For Hours

Japanese Researchers Developed Ice Cream That Won’t Melt For Hours

Researchers in Japan discovered an ingredient that helps ice cream to not melt as fast. The ice cream innovation is called Kanazawa Ice and the secret ingredient is strawberry polyphenols, which was discovered by accident. This type of ice cream is already being sold in some places and the dessert can maintain its shape up to several hours.

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Susan Green
Community Member
1 month ago

I wish I wouldn’t have seen this. Now I want one.

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#11

In Japan, You Can Find Cane And Cup Holders Next To An ATM

In Japan, You Can Find Cane And Cup Holders Next To An ATM

Next to an ATM, you can find this strange-looking contraption. It’s meant for you to put your cup in, or for elderly people to prop their cane safely so it won’t fall down while they're taking some cash. It’s nice that services think about it, as nearly a third of Japan’s population is people older than 65 years old.

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Joey Sanchez
Community Member
1 month ago

much more considerate

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#12

In Some Hotels, Lamps Have Different Brightness For Double Beds

In Some Hotels, Lamps Have Different Brightness For Double Beds

Some hotels have lamps that can be half-lit, so if one person needs light and the other doesn’t, they can keep only their side on and less light will be directed to the person who is ready to go to sleep.

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TheReader19
Community Member
1 month ago

Good idea

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#13

Ground Staff Will Wave Goodbye Until The Plane Is Ready To Take Off

Ground Staff Will Wave Goodbye Until The Plane Is Ready To Take Off

In Japan, the ground staff, working to help the plane to take off, often waves the passengers goodbye until the plane is on its way.

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catta•mrow
Community Member
1 month ago

that's cool!

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#14

People Queue Up In Lines And Can Wait For Long Periods Of Time Patiently

People Queue Up In Lines And Can Wait For Long Periods Of Time Patiently

Japanese people are known for their discipline, and that includes queueing up too. To buy something or get a service, Japanese people line up and maintain order, even if it’s for long periods of time; no one is pushing or yelling, no matter if it’s a three-person line to get ice cream or in crowded train stations. There are actually signs on platforms that show you how to line up, and people follow these to maintain order.

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TheReader19
Community Member
1 month ago

England 1970's dis you? 😢

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#15

There’s An Island With Hundreds Of Rabbits

There’s An Island With Hundreds Of Rabbits

The small Ōkunoshima island in Japan is often also called Usagi Shima, which literally means “rabbit island.” It gets that name because it’s largely populated by rabbits. It is forbidden to hunt them and you’re not allowed to bring cats or dogs on the island. People guess that rabbits occupied the island when children released a few pet rabbits when the islands were evacuated in the 1940s, or that the rabbits are escaped test subjects from the island’s former toxic gas production labs, as there was a secret poison gas factory built on the island at the start of the 20th century.

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Susan Green
Community Member
1 month ago

I love this! An island full of little bunree’s!!

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#16

Popular Accommodation For Short Visits Is Capsule Hotels

Popular Accommodation For Short Visits Is Capsule Hotels

The first capsule hotel was opened in 1979 in Osaka. It is a type of hotel that provides bed-small rooms. They are cheap, usually to stay just for the night, and most often used by Japanese businessmen. Capsule hotels are usually found not too far from the major train stations in large cities. Capsule hotels have washrooms, toilets, and showers, but these are shared among all the guests. Also, there are other services like restaurants, game rooms, or manga libraries.

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Lauren Caswell
Community Member
1 month ago

My claustrophobia is screaming intensely

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#17

There Is Approximately 1 Vending Machine To Every 23 People In Japan

There Is Approximately 1 Vending Machine To Every 23 People In Japan

Japan has the highest density of vending machines in the world. There is approximately 1 vending machine to 23 people. And you can find anything from drinks and candy to hot food and alcohol. Sociologists and economists have offered potential reasons for why there are so many vending machines. Firstly, it’s cheaper to own a vending machine than a shop, because of cost of labor and expensive real estate, and because of the low crime and vandalism rate, companies don’t have to worry about that.

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Vicious Insect
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

Yet here in Europe I have only used 1 in my life

Adam C
Community Member
1 month ago

You have to leave your house in order to see one.

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CatWoman312
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

Meanwhile in the US we still have the old ones where there’s a 50% chance your chips will get stuck

Aunt Messy
Community Member
1 month ago

Boss Coffee. Hot coffee in cans out of a vending machine.....What's not to love?

Sasy
Community Member
1 month ago

I read recently that many of them are programmed to give free stock in case of disasters, so if another tsunami etc, people would have access to supplies, that is thinking ahead and of others, but i hope never a need.

Uber Mensch
Community Member
1 month ago

First time I saw a combo hot & cold machine ( canned coffee, etc on one side, sodas on the other) was early 80s. 'Bout fell over at how much sense it made.

Christina Wang
Community Member
1 month ago

I remember these in Japan when I went there, the drinks are amazing, there were even vending machines with warm/hot drinks

jjdubs W
Community Member
1 month ago

I've only seen soft drinks and coffee in vending machines in Okinawa. My son and I make a game of trying to notice the most remote place we visit that still has a vending machine. We do have two just outside our house. At work, I can get a hot cup of coffee, which is freaking awesome!

Ji
Community Member
1 month ago

When I lived there I used to get my ramen out of the vending machine. Came out hot too.

Kevin3475
Community Member
1 month ago

Love those stuffs!!!!!!!!!!! like gashagashapon!!!!!!!!!!!!!! from delicatessen to weird things!!!!!!!!!!!

Juan Alcorta
Community Member
1 month ago

there´re everywhere, but, you have to drink/eat close to the machine, since Japanese consider gross eating and walking. Also, the only trash cans you´ll find, are located besides de machine and nowhere else to be seen.

the child
Community Member
1 month ago

There's one on every other street. There's one on Mt. Fuji!

ADHORTATOR
Community Member
1 month ago

Where I live we have vending machines for fresh eggs, cheese, pizza, bread and potatoes :-)

Christie Schmitz
Community Member
1 month ago

We loved the vending machines!! My husband was happy that the vending machine 5 minutes from our hotel was stocked with Dr. Pepper LOL. Everytime we headed back we always grabbed one or two.

Luna Lovegood!
Community Member
1 month ago

they literally have ramen, and pizza vending machines!

lakitha tolbert
Community Member
1 month ago

Seriously y’all gotta watch the videos on YouTube! The Japanese will fend absolutely anything from alcohol, to cooked foods, to fruit! They even have special vending restaurants just for hot foods. Try: Japanology/vending machines

Farid Red
Community Member
1 month ago

I spot a garbage between the machines.

Mike Rodrick
Community Member
1 month ago

Does this include condoms?

DetongLhamo
Community Member
1 month ago

In Germany we saw cigarette vending machines in suburban streets!

Mary Peace
Community Member
1 month ago

In the UK they are in hospitals, railway stations & office blocks, etc. Kind of funny getting unhealthy crisps & chocolate in the hospital.

Amy Zettek-Cosgrove
Community Member
1 month ago

That’s handy!

Sue Clifford
Community Member
1 month ago

The sell beer in vending machines too.

Robin Ellison
Community Member
1 month ago

Vending machines are EVERYWHERE!

Hugo A-niro
Community Member
1 month ago

Fabulous

ahmad fauzi md sharif
Community Member
1 month ago

This is my favorite!

Milord Cutter
Community Member
1 month ago

Even MORE unusual is the stuff you can get in their vending machines--women's underwear!

Merty Robinson
Community Member
1 month ago

The thing that amazed me most about the Japanese vending machines is you can get hot tea or coffee (in a can) from the same machine that sells cold drinks. The hot drinks arrive hot, the cold drinks arrive cold.

James F. Wilson Jr.
Community Member
1 month ago

I will see that bet and raise you two McDonalds.

I love the 80’s
Community Member
1 month ago

Bits and Bobbles (to my fellow Sims players)

Anita Pickle
Community Member
1 month ago

And there is still no Garbage strewn about. These people are so admired by me. How amazing to live in a country where people care about the cleanliness of the environment and surroundings.

Judith Wilson
Community Member
1 month ago

what a concept - right???

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Randomcthulu
Community Member
1 month ago

I remember loving the vending machines when I got to visit in 2006, but there aren't a lot of trash cans, so I'd end up carrying around a bag of trash until I found one to sort snack trash into

Paul Beebe
Community Member
1 month ago

F-ING LOVE JAPANESE VENDING MACHINES!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You can get ANYTHING,,,

Ni Na
Community Member
1 month ago

But if you can buy your drinks in a supermarket. much cheaper.

Johanna
Community Member
1 month ago

In my town such machines would likely get blown up at sylvester. Every there are demolised trashcans, even this year when there were some really nice new ones.

J. Cole
Community Member
1 month ago

Yep, they love their automation, lol!

Cain Hargreaves
Community Member
1 month ago

I so want to see the vending machines in Japan lol. They're wild. Sure, let me see Ise Shrine, but I might stop for an interesting beverage and/or snack on my way back to wherever I'm staying.

catta•mrow
Community Member
1 month ago

when will I ever go to japan.............

Tiny Dynamine
Community Member
1 month ago

Do they still sell schoolgirls' knickers?

Danieletc
Community Member
1 month ago

Subtext: Japanese are quite okay with cartoonish amounts of waste.

TheReader19
Community Member
1 month ago

This comment is hidden. Click here to view.

Not sure if that's necessary

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#18

Napping At Work Is Considered Acceptable

Napping At Work Is Considered Acceptable

Sleeping during work is normal and acceptable in Japan. If in other countries, that would get you fired, in Japan, it is seen as a good sign that shows dedication to the work and that the person worked themselves to exhaustion. The companies may see it as a good thing, but Japanese are the most sleep-deprived nation in the world. People take naps not only at work, but wherever they can. It’s so widespread that there is a word for this phenomena – inemuri.

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Lauren Caswell
Community Member
1 month ago

Inemuri will be my word of the day

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#19

There Are More Than 300 Pedestrian Scrambles In Japan

There Are More Than 300 Pedestrian Scrambles In Japan

Pedestrian scrambles or diagonal crossings are very common in Japan. There are more than 300 such intersections. Japan's largest, and most famous, diagonal crossing is found in Tokyo, outside Shibuya station. Over 3,000 pedestrians can cross during the two minutes of green light and it is one of the most well-known pedestrian scrambles in the world. It is so popular that it has become a symbol of Tokyo and Japan as a whole.

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Jam
Community Member
1 month ago

I wanna go to Japan

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#20

You Can Find Foot Baths On The Streets And They Are Usually Free

You Can Find Foot Baths On The Streets And They Are Usually Free

A popular onsen type in Japan is ashiyu, or foot bath. Foot baths are different from regular onsens because you can find them literally on the street. Usually they are free, or cost just a few dollars. The hot spring tub comes up to the knees, you don’t need to take off all of your clothes, but you still get the benefits of the hot spring experience. It is also great for people who can’t handle heat very well as it’s not as strong as a standard hot spring.

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AppleDragon
Community Member
1 month ago

Is this sanitary?

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#21

It's Common And Sometimes Required To Leave Your Umbrella Outside In A Stand

It's Common And Sometimes Required To Leave Your Umbrella Outside In A Stand

From the beginning of June to mid-July, Japan enters the rainy season, tsuyu. Then, no one is seen without carrying an umbrella. But the wet umbrellas can make a mess when you take them indoors, and it’s extra baggage you have to carry, so the Japanese have a solution for this inconvenience. Stands for umbrellas are very common; they stand outside buildings and it can be even required that you leave your umbrella there. Many hotels, sports centers, and government offices even provide brolly lockers so you don't have to worry that someone will take it.

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TheReader19
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

So long as they're not stolen; however it's Japan I doubt it

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#22

You Can Find Watermelons In The Shape Of A Cube In Japanese Stores

You Can Find Watermelons In The Shape Of A Cube In Japanese Stores

To get the cube shape, the watermelons are grown in boxes and they take the shape of the containers. The idea came so that it would be easier to store them in the fridge and easier to cut without them rolling around. Although the cube watermelons were meant to be more practical, now they are essentially ornamental and it’s not an everyday fruit as it can cost up to $100.

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Jam
Community Member
1 month ago

Well that’s expensive

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#23

In Tokyo's Narita International Airport, There Were Phone Wipe Dispensers For A While

In Tokyo's Narita International Airport, There Were Phone Wipe Dispensers For A While

Phones can carry even more bacteria than a toilet seat and we are constantly touching them or bringing them to our faces. That is why the Japanese thought it would be a good idea to have phone disinfecting wipes in bathroom stalls. These were installed in Tokyo's Narita International Airport. The dispensers dubbed ‘toilet paper for smartphones’ were set to remain in place until March 15, 2017.

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Lauren Caswell
Community Member
1 month ago

It's water soluble, fancy!

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#24

Restaurants Display Fake Food In Their Windows To Attract Customers

Restaurants Display Fake Food In Their Windows To Attract Customers

Many restaurants in Japan will attract their customers by displaying examples of their delicious food in their windows. But those mouth-watering dishes most probably are made of plastic. The food replicas cost more than the dishes themselves, but they last for a long time and don’t lose their tasty appearance. Previously, the fake food was made out of wax, but currently non-biodegradable polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is used.

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AppleDragon
Community Member
1 month ago

This is in some Chinese restaurants too, when I was 5 I saw one and I wanted the ramen.

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#25

When You Use The Restroom In Someone’s Home You May Need To Put On Designated Bathroom Slippers

When You Use The Restroom In Someone’s Home You May Need To Put On Designated Bathroom Slippers

You will notice a common trend through this list that Japanese are quite obsessed with keeping everything clean, to the point that they have separate slippers dedicated solely for the bathroom. These slippers are worn to the toilet only, because even if you can’t see the germs, that doesn’t mean that they are not there and you wouldn’t want to spread them throughout your whole house.

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Jill
Community Member
1 month ago

It is not "may need to", you should use the slippers...unless ofc your feet are too big for them (like mine). BUT you should never wear the other slippers you have on when you go around the rest of the house.

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#26

Some Urinals Have Mini Games

Some Urinals Have Mini Games

In some Japanese urinals, there are mini games installed, controlled by a player’s urine stream. The urinal is installed with pressure sensors and the screen with the game is mounted on the wall. The purpose of the Sega Toylet games was to encourage urinal users to be more accurate in public bathrooms and leave them less messy.

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Jam
Community Member
1 month ago

Whaaaaaaaa

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#27

A Traditional Christmas Dinner Is Considered Chicken From KFC

A Traditional Christmas Dinner Is Considered Chicken From KFC

In Japan, the traditional meal for Christmas is KFC. It is estimated that every year, 3.6 million Japanese families chose fried chicken from this American fast food brand. There are several origin stories as to how the idea was born to make eating KFC a Christmas tradition, but what is for sure is that the campaign started in 1974 and it was successful.

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Vicky Z
Community Member
1 month ago

I find this quite sad to be honest

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#28

Japanese Keep To The Left Side On Stairs And On Escalators

Japanese Keep To The Left Side On Stairs And On Escalators

In most of the cities in Japan, when you are facing a staircase or an escalator, you walk up or down the left side. There is also such a thing as escalator etiquette that you don’t stand in the middle, but on the side instead. Usually you stand on the left side and leave the right side for people who hurry and walk up and down the excavator. However, recently, many subway stations banned walking on escalators.

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Max Thompson
Community Member
1 month ago

Why did they ban it

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#29

Japan Has Restaurants Where You Are Served Canned Food

Japan Has Restaurants Where You Are Served Canned Food

Japan has unique places to eat, like maid cafés or other themed restaurants. One of the most unusual places is a tiny food bar, Mr. Kanso, which serves 300 different kinds of canned foods from all over the world. There is no chef, no menu, no kitchen or waiters, and the prices vary depending on how rare the canned food is. You can find canned egg omelet, bacon with potatoes, rice, tuna, Japanese curry, or egg cakes.

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TheBlockSmith
Community Member
1 month ago

that sounds fun!

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#30

There’s A Robot Restaurant In Tokyo

There’s A Robot Restaurant In Tokyo

The robot restaurant is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Tokyo. It’s not your traditional Japanese restaurant, but rather a spectacle and the food here is secondary. The shows are loud and wild and they are changed every month, along with costumes and music. The shows are exciting, with bright lights, although not recommended for people sensitive to flashing lights. And, of course, everything is robot-themed.

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Asy EnderDragon
Community Member
1 month ago

i know a friend that went there. she said it was cool but loud and she really liked the cool drink she got even though there are fewer drinks for minors there.

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#31

More Adult Diapers Are Sold Than Children Diapers

More Adult Diapers Are Sold Than Children Diapers

More adult diapers are sold in Japan than baby diapers. The reason for this is that the population is getting old—almost a third of Japanese people are over 65 years old. Also, the birth rates are low: the birth rate in 2020 was 7.301 births per 1000 people, which is 1.3 percent less than in 2019. For comparison, the birth rate in the US in 2020 was 11.990 births per 1000 people, which is 0.09 percent more than in 2019.

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TheReader19
Community Member
1 month ago

Well they do have a very high aging population

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#32

Smoking Indoors Is Prohibited, But There Are Some Trains That Have Designated Smoking Passenger Wagons

Smoking Indoors Is Prohibited, But There Are Some Trains That Have Designated Smoking Passenger Wagons

In most crowded outdoor areas in Tokyo, it is prohibited to smoke and there are designated areas for that. In April of last year, a law prohibiting smoking indoors came into full effect. Exceptions apply to private homes, hotel rooms for smokers, and cigar bars. Smoking is also prohibited in such public closed spaces like trains, buses, and airplanes, but there are some trains that have designated smoking passenger wagons.

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TheReader19
Community Member
1 month ago

So it should be, second hand smoke is bad

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#33

Maid Cafes Are A Popular Type Of Cafes In Japan

Maid Cafes Are A Popular Type Of Cafes In Japan

The first permanent maid cafe was opened in the Akihabara area in Tokyo in March 2001. These types of cafes are predominantly found in Japan. They have a unique service system. The waitresses are dressed in maid costumes, which usually are based upon French maids, and act as servants for their masters and mistresses. They have some distinctive rituals, such as greeting customers with "Welcome home, Master (Mistress, My lady)!" Although people go to maid cafes for the experience, you can find menus that are similar to ordinary cafes. However, maids will decorate a customer’s order with cute pictures or sayings.

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Kitty Luna Darrow
Community Member
1 month ago

This is cute, but... I dunno, it's giving me weird vibes.

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