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Ten Interesting Facts About Japan

1. The country has a size of 377,873 square kilometers, which is equivalent to the combined sizes of Germany and Switzerland.

2. The land area of Japan is mainly 70% mountain, making the country an ideal mountaineering and hiking destination. However, this preponderance of mountains results in cramped urban communities in the lowlands.

3. Bowing is a traditional Japanese greeting. A long, low bow is formal and signifies respect, while a small nod is informal.

4. Contrary to popular notion, a geisha – which literally means “a person of the arts” – is not a prostitute. Geishas are professional female Japanese entertainers who are rigorously trained to do different traditional performing arts.

5. There are presently 10,000 geishas in the country, a steep decline from the 1920’s figure of 80,000.

6. Literally translated as “random pictures,” manga is Japan’s version of comic books. Mighty Atom is the most famous manga, written by Tezuka Osamu and shown as Astro Boy in the United States.

7. Japan has an amazing literacy rate of 99%.

8. Japan has around 5.5 million vending machines, which not only sell the usual softdrinks, coffee, and juice, but also offer things such as cigarettes, beer, noodles, eggs, sandwiches, and toys.

9. Japan has four writing systems: Hiragana (ordinary syllabic script), Katakana (part syllabic script), Kanji (Chinese characters), and Romaji (Roman letters).

10. Japan is the birthplace of karaoke. It literally means “empty orchestra.”