1. Mikoshi (神輿)The best judge of a culture is what people do for fun. One favorite pastime in Japan is carrying mikoshi that weight up to 5000 kilograms (11000 pounds).
2. Futon (布団)If you've ever slept on a Japanese futon you'll know they're hard. Many people in Japan believe that a soft bed makes your body soft.
3. Sashimi (刺身)Japanese fishermen catch a fish, cut it open and eat it raw. That's tough.
4. Salary Men (サラリーマン)Japanese salary men work hard and play hard.
5. Kendo Girls (剣道)There are more than a dozen Japanese martial arts. Over 50% of Japanese people have studied at least one. Millions of Japanese people have reached a high level of achievement (equivalent to a black belt).
6. Cold Houses (冬場、家が寒い)In many regions of Japan (including Tokyo) most houses don't have central heating. You only heat the room you're in. Hallways and bathrooms have no heat at all. You can often see your breath when you go to the bathroom.
Japanese people keep warm under special tables called kotatsu.
7. Seiza (正座)Seiza can be literally translated "proper sitting". It's incredibly painful for gaijin who aren't accustomed to it.
8. Natto (なっとう)Natto is the smelly, slimy, stringy, bad tasting food that Japan loves.
9. Packed Trains (満員電車)No matter how full a Tokyo train is — no one complains.
10. Winter Fundoshi (冬場にふんどし祭がある)Several well known Japanese festivals involve men running around in the middle of winter in fundoshi.
11. Everyone Over 60 Is Always Hiking(いくつになってもハイキング)Hiking is the most popular hobby amongst Japan's elderly people. For some reason, elderly hikers and faster and tougher than their younger compatriots. Japanese women have the highest life expectancy in the World.
12. Dangerous Festivals (危ない祭)Japanese festivals (matsuri) tend to be a little on the dangerous side.