Japanese Customs, Quirks & Other Fascinating Oddities
One of the things I love about traveling to new destinations is encountering new cultural oddities used in daily life. I’ve collected some things my friends and I found in our travels to Japan. See if you can guess what they are!
This is found in older locations in Japan. What is it?
- Sci-fi bidet.
- A machine for an oil change on a scooter.
- A sink for people with long hair.
I was not prepared for this. It is a “squatter” toilet. You do just like it says. You would need strong thigh muscles to make this work. I usually have the “when in Rome” philosophy when I travel but I couldn’t try this out. Which made for severe bladder-testing periods as we traveled thru some small towns where this was the only toilet available! What’s amusing also is in places where they had put in “western toilets,” they also posted signs to tell perplexed Japanese how to use the new toilet.
In almost every restaurant you will see some variation of this curious creature. What is it?
- Japanese sasquatch
- Goldilock’s bear
- Raccoon Bear
- “Tonko,” a human who was turned into a bear in an ancient legend.
My brother (who lives in Japan) tells me this is the Tanuki, or raccoon bear. It’s supposed to bring good luck. No one knows what’s up with its huge…sack though.. EDIT: Read Joanne’s comment below for more info on the Tanuki! Apparently the Japanese don’t have scrotum issues!
Variations of these plastic things are found wherever cashiers are found. What are they?. It’s the “money pad.”When I was in Japan, I saw many variations of this contraption. The Money tray, the money platform, the money pad. The purpose is for the cashier to return your change to you. At first I thought it was because they didn’t like touching hands exchanging money, but somehow GIVING the money to them isn’t a problem – no tray required. Can anyone shed light on this?
What is this building?
- A brothel
- Love hotel!
- Hansel & Gretel’s far eastern house.
- Where Raggedy Ann and Andy live
In much of Japan, kids in college still live with their parents because its prohibitively expensive to live on their own. So unlike their counterparts in the U.S., Japanese kids who want to have a little “private time” with their significant other must book time in a “love hotel.” This is a great article on the love hotel.
In Nagasaki, we found his rubber yellow line on many sidewalks. What does it mean?
- It’s the yellow brick road, silly.
- It’s a gender dividing line. Women walk on one side, men on the other.
- A track for carts that many Japanese roll with them during the day.
Your guess is as good as mine on this one- we saw this raised rubber yellow stripe snake across sidewalks in Nagasaki. Someone thought perhaps it was to assist the blind in feeing their way on the sidewalk but it was never confirmed.MAGICAL COMMENTER ANSWER: This is indeed for the blind!
What about this picture tells you you are in a Japanese bathroom?. Toilet slippers. It’s customary in Japan to wear these simple slippers only while using the bathroom. Note how they are facing inwards for the visitor to slip on as he enters the bathroom. Just don’t forget to take them off again as you leave or you will experience a look of horror on the face of your host!