51. Japanese SuperstitionsJapan is filled with interesting superstitions that people take half seriously. The first dream of New Years will come true. If you whistle at night a snake will come to your bed when you're sleeping.
52. Ganbatte! (頑張って!)Ganbatte can be translated "you can do it!" or "try your best!". In Japan, giving one's best effort is greatly respected. Ganbatte is a common phrase of encouragement. It's an important concept that helps to explain how people think in Japan.
(日本頑張って! － Japan Ganbatte!)
53. Elevator GirlsOne of the great things about Japan is that people hold on to traditions. In some cases, they even hang onto western traditions longer than the west does.
High end department stores in Japan still have elevator operators (they're always women).
54. Vending MachinesIn Japan there is one vending machine for every 23 people. That means there are more than 1 million machines in the greater Tokyo area. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to their placement. It's not unusual to find a machine in the middle of nowhere or a bank of 30 machines all together.
55. Low CrimeThe crime rate in Japan is very low. The theft rate is particularly low. There are 1.3 robberies per 100,000 population compared with 233.0 in the United States. Japanese view theft as a pathetic crime. Domestic organized crime groups such as the Yakuza shun theft.
56. Mottainai (もったいない)Mottainai is another concept that's important to understanding how people think in Japan. Mottainai could be translated as "what a waste".
Japan is an highly populated island nation with few natural resources. Historically Japanese culture has focused on quality over quantity. Small, high quality, efficient things are less likely to be wasted (see the Japanese dessert below).
Now that Japan has become a rich modern nation the mottainai ethic is fading fast. It's been replaced with a disposable, throw away mindset.
57. Japanese InventionsJapan spends $144.1 billion a year on research. That's second after the US (although China is about to overtake Japan for second).
Japan also has a tradition of chindougu — fake inventions that on the face of it seem like a good idea but in reality are completely silly. Western bloggers sometimes confuse chindogu as being real (adding to Japan's crazy image).
58. Japanese WeddingsJapanese weddings illustrate Japan's practical approach to religion. It's common to mix Western and Japanese traditions in one wedding to get the best of both worlds.
59. OtsukareOtsukare is another concept that helps to explain how people in Japan think. Otsukare means "tired". In Japan, it's highly respected to work yourself to exhaustion. This concept is so powerful that people sometimes work themselves so hard that they actually collapse and die in the office (literally).
For the most part, Otsukare is a positive thing. It's great to get respect when you work hard. When people leave the office in Japan they say "Otsukare sama desu". This could be literally translated as "you are tired sir". It indicates respect to the person who stays in the office longer.
60. Buddhism / ShintoJapan has two major religions: Buddhism and Shinto.