When you think of Japan, the first things that come to your mind can be sushi, geisha, tea ceremony, ninja, samurai, anime, sakura (cherry blossom) or its electric industry. Those elements do play important roles in Japanese culture but there are a lot of more things to learn about.
First of all, if you want to know about Japanese culture, it is best to find out their values.
After the Second World War, Japan amazed the world with their rapid recover and development, which is thought reasonably due to their solidarity, conformism and discipline.
Japanese children are taught form the earliest developing process that human fulfillment and achievement come from close association. Early in their lives, they learn that they live in an interdependent society. They start from small to larger groups, family, school, playground, community and company. That’s how Japanese people unite to make strong solidarity. It’s also the reason why in interpersonal relationship, most Japanese avoid open competition and confrontation. In addition, discipline has contributed to Japan’s success. It is not much exaggerating to say that discipline is interwoven with psyche of Japanese citizen.
Those values have a profound effect on Japanese culture which is composed of language, music, cuisine, clothing, customs, folklore, arts, religions and literature.
Japanese cuisine is the combination of both native and foreign cuisine. It is not only about culinary but also about art. Japan is the home of some of the world’s most exquisite ingredients and dishes with best presentation and beauty. It can be said that this cuisine is a kind of ritual, always full of care for design as well as nutrients and taste. Best 10 dishes to try in Japan: sushi, ramen, unagi (river ell), tempura (deep-fried foods), Kaiseki, Soba (long, thick buckwheat noodles), thin slices of beef or pork boiled in water, Okonomiyaki (pancake with other ingridients), onkatsu (breaded and deep-fried pork cutlet), yakitori (charcoal grilled chicken).
Music is an important part of Japanese culture. It has a wide variety ranging from traditional to modern Western music. Traditional music has been used in daily life activities like planting rice, making sake (wine), cutting grass and parties. Modern music namely Western and American music is commonly sung as karaoke, a popular hobby in Japan.
The distinguishing character of Japanese arts is the inner beauty, spirit deep below the picture rather than the exterior. There are 3 main categories of paintings are flower and bird, landscape and people.
Calligraphy is an artistic way of writing Kanji (similar to Chinese) using brush and ink. It is a popular hobby among both children and adults. It is also regarded as an expression of the artists’ souls, thoughts and feelings.
Flower arrangement (Ikebana)
This is a way of arranging flowers so that they will look in a beautiful, simple and natural way. The goal is to find harmony between the vase, flower and branches.
Tea ceremony (sado)
This is a ceremonial way of preparing and enjoying tea which consists of a lot of rituals. Those rituals must be learnt by heart and carried out exactly under instructions.
Origami (paper folding art)
This art is folding paper without using glue or scissors. Crane is the most famous and popular origami in the world. It has become the symbol of hope globally.