Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Why you should add Japan to your bucket list NOW!

If a mention of Japan just churns up images of tiny-eyed people, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, kimonos and a thriving metropolis with a booming economy, we’re afraid you need a 21st century reality check. 

There is so much more to Japan, and as travel junkies, we’re duty bound to bring you fascinating insights and experiences from around the world. So don’t you worry! We’ve experienced Japan’s wonderfully special and downright weird culture and traditions, and we bring you our list of favourite quirks which will make you want to add Japan to your bucket list NOW:

1. Beer vending machines: No, you don’t have to double up and re-read that. And no, we’re not kidding. Japan has one vending machine for every 23 people. Don’t want to do the math? That’s more than 1 million machines in the greater Tokyo area alone! These machines stock chocolates, chips, biscuits and beer! How cool is that? Top marks from us, this country sure knows how to welcome people.

2. Valentines Day, twice over: The great thing about Japan is that they can take something foreign and make it uniquely Japanese. In Japan, Valentines Day is split into two days.
On February 14th, only women buy gifts. A month later on March 14th men reciprocate. This is called White Day. Now there’s a win-win situation we’d love to replicate, ain’t it? More power to even gift distribution!

3. Hello Kitty, what’s up? Earlier this year, Japan sent its official ambassador of cute to Space, on a government-funded mission. Ummm, yeah. Capitalizing on its large fan base, the white cat was sent up on a mission to get more private companies to work with satellites and fuel economic growth. Use this unusual tidbit in conversation, we promise you’ll get entertaining reactions!

4. Gambling Haven: Japan has the largest gambling industry in the world, and it’s all legal! Revenue from Japanese pachinko parlours is around 4 times the revenue of all the legal casinos in the world combined. So bring out the stakes, there’s a ton of legal money waiting to be won!

5. The Shogatsu extravaganza: Shogatsu, as the New Year is called, is the most important holiday in Japan. You absolutely have to visit Japan and celebrate the end of the year in their special way! From unbelievable Black Friday-esque shopping discounts, men and women in kimonos (no, it’s not an everyday affair!), counting down to the New Year with a crowd fixing its eyes on an electric bulletin board at Tokyo tower and crowds thronging to shrines in prayer for a healthy year to delectable dishes specially tailored for the season and a stunning display of fireworks and decorations, a New Years trip to Japan will go down in your books as a uniquely enriching experience.

Join The Backpacker Co to Japan from the 26th of December to the 2nd of January, click here for further details!

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