41. Japanese HostessesHostess bars are everywhere in Japan. A shockingly high percentage of young Japanese women work as hostesses. It's innocent enough. It's mostly about conversation, karaoke and having a good time.
Some hostesses may choose to date customers outside the hostess club. When this happens, the customer is often expected to buy the hostess expensive gifts. It isn't unusual for hostesses and customers to marry.
42. CosplayCosplay is a Japanese word. Cosplay may have started in Japan but it's more popular outside Japan. Contrary to popular belief there aren't that many Japanese cosplayers. Even cosplay conventions within Japan often have more foreign participants than locals.
43. Radio TaisoRadio Taiso is a national radio calisthenics program broadcast nationally each morning. People participate at home, in schools, offices and factories. It's one of the charming routines that makes Japan so fun.
Japanese companies feel they have the right to request that employees stay fit.
44. Video GamesEver since Pac-Man hit the shelfs in 1980 Japan has had a thriving video game industry. Here booth girls hand out pamphlets at the Tokyo Video Game Show.
45. Corporate BonusesJapanese companies have the lowest multiple of CEO pay to lowest paid worker (of G20 nations). As a result, Japan has a thriving middle class. There are millions of Japanese families with a net worth of over $1 million US. Anyone who owns a small house in Tokyo is half way there.
Japanese workers get two bonuses every year. They are based more on company performance than individual performance. In many cases they are paid to both white collar and blue collar workers.
In the bubble economy days, bonuses were often huge. These days bonus pools are shrinking. There are also fewer workers who qualify for bonuses — companies are saving money by shifting to temporary and contract workers.
46. RobotsJapan is betting big on robots. Half of the World's 800,000 industrial robots are in Japan. Up to 90% of the World's robot research happens in Japan.
47. TakyubinTakyubin is a type of Japanese parcel delivery service that's amazingly efficient, reliable and cheap. It blows comparable services in Europe and America away on all three fronts. There are several major companies competing in the takyubin market.
It's an important service in Japan because many people travel by train rather than car. Takyubin will pick up your bags at your door and deliver them to your hotel for a reasonable price.
48. JpopThe Japanese music industry churns out artificially packaged music groups every month and calls it JPop. For the most part it's not very interesting — but it's a big part of Japanese pop culture.
49. Public AnnouncementsThe other day I was awoken on Sunday morning by a announcement from our local city hall at 7:00 AM. It wasn't an emergency — they were announcing that it was "cleaning day" and that everyone should clean their home.
There are huge loudspeakers everywhere in Japan. There are regular announcements by government, political interest groups, politicians and commercial interests. Here the Japanese right wing drives through town playing nationalistic music.
50. ElectronicsJapanese electronic stores put Western electronic stores to shame. They have far more selection.