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W.T.F. Japan: Top 5 hand gestures that Japanese people don’t understand 【Weird Top Five】

This week for my RocketNews24 W.T.F. Japan article, I wrote about the top five hand gestures that Japanese people don’t understand.

One of my favorite parts about different cultures interacting is when a person from one culture does something that is perfectly normal to them but completely foreign to the other. And nowhere else is this more apparent than in body language.

When your face, legs, or especially hands start doing something that the person you’re talking to has never seen before, then suddenly you’re exploring new cultural frontier.

It’s happened to me personally several times, so I thought it would be fun to write about the ones that come up the most often. The #1 item on the list comes up all the time, and it’s something that we take for granted so much in English that it’s hard to explain. But that’s exactly what makes it so fun to use.

If people like this article then perhaps I’ll have to do the obvious sequel at some point: Japanese hand gestures that we don’t understand. We’ll see how it goes!

Read the article here.

W.T.F. Japan: Top 5 most annoying sounds in Japan 【Weird Top Five】

This week for my RocketNews24 W.T.F. Japan article, I wrote about the top five most annoying sounds in Japan.

Some annoying sounds are universal. Nonstop crying babies and honking horns are enough to get most people’s blood boiling.

But there are some sounds that are unique to, or at least far more common in, certain countries. There’s a lot of sounds that I’ve only ever heard after coming to Japan, and while many of them are pleasant, there’s quite a few that I could’ve lived happily never hearing.

That’s why I decided to compile a list of the most annoying sounds I’ve heard in Japan. A lot of these are sounds that you pretty much don’t hear anywhere else in the world, so go ahead and enjoy some of the rare audial “delights.”

Read the article here.

W.T.F. Japan: Top 5 Japanese winter foods【Well-Fed Top Five】

This week for my RocketNews24 W.T.F. Japan article, I wrote about top five Japanese winter foods.

Back in October I did the top 5 Japanese autumn foods which people seemed to like, so it was only natural to follow that one up with a sequel.

Interestingly enough, for me personally the #5 item on the list is my favorite, and the #1 item on the list is my least favorite. I don’t want to spoil what they are, but I could probably eat #5 every day, and I dread being served #1 on a certain day of the year.

But hey, enough with the vague references to food!

Read the article here.

W.T.F. Japan: Top 5 strange things Japanese people do for Christmas 【Weird Top Five】

This week for my RocketNews24 W.T.F. Japan article, I wrote about top five strange things Japanese people do for Christmas.

Christmas in Japan is an odd combination of odd and familiar. On the one hand you go to shopping malls and grocery stores and Christmas music is playing on the speakers and there are bright holidays decorations everywhere, but then at the same time… you have the really weird things that made my list.

I don’t want to spoil some of the craziest things that happen here on Christmas, but suffice to say that if your first thought when reading this was “Wait, Japanese people celebrate Christmas?” then you may definitely want to give this one a read.

Read the article here.

W.T.F. Japan: Top 5 offensive Japanese insults 【Weird Top Five】

This week for my RocketNews24 W.T.F. Japan article, I wrote about top five offensive Japanese insults.

Coming after last week’s top five strange ways to be polite, it only seemed right to do a full 180 and talk about how to be rude with some Japanese insults!

A few months ago I looked at the top five most offensive Japanese swear words, and people seemed to like it. Luckily there were still plenty of terrible words left over ready to be brought to the attention of the internet, so I jumped on the chance.

Originally this article was supposed to be a true sequel to the original and be “top five MORE offensive Japanese swear words.” But after my editor looked it over, we deduced that some of the items in the list strayed a bit far from “swear” territory and into just “not-so-nice slang” territory. I had to rewrite it a bit, but I think it’s a lot stronger now, and I’m looking forward to writing that “not-so-nice slang” article someday in the future.

The reason I really like the rewrite is mostly because of the #1 item on the list. What is it? Check it out to see.

Read the article here.

W.T.F. Japan: Top 5 strangest ways to be polite in Japan 【Weird Top Five】

This week for my RocketNews24 W.T.F. Japan article, I wrote about top five strangest ways to be polite in Japan.

One of my favorite differences to examine between cultures is what is considered polite and rude. It’s always fascinating to discover that something you’ve been raised to do is considered rude in another culture, or how something that seems common sense polite to another culture seems bizarre to you.

For someone raised in the West, Japan abounds with these kinds of cultural differences. It was a lot of fun to think up the list of top five things, and there was a lot of shuffling and cutting that had to be done, though the number one item stayed firmly locked in its place the entire time.

What is it? Well there’s only one way to find out!

Read the article here.

W.T.F. Japan: Top 5 most insane kanji place names in Japan 【Weird Top Five】

This week for my RocketNews24 W.T.F. Japan article, I wrote about top five most insane kanji place names in Japan.

I wrote an article a few months ago about the top five myths of learning Japanese, and (spoiler alert!) learning how to read Japanese kanji was number one on that list. In my opinion learning how to read Japanese isn’t too much harder than learning how to read English.

English spelling has tons of exceptions and irregularities that sometimes make it seem more like a hieroglyphic writing system itself than an alphabetic one (I’m looking at you “colonel,” “indict,” and “mnemonic”).

But then there’s place name kanji. All bets are out the window when it comes to kanji used to spell place names (and people’s names too for that matter, but that’s for a different time). You could know every single reading a kanji has, and there’s a good chance you’ll still be completely wrong when it comes to pronouncing it correctly when used in a place name.

So that’s why this week I picked out some of the most insane kanji place names all over Japan that I could find. Even if you don’t know how to read Japanese at all, I think I wrote it in a way that will at least show how ridiculous some of these are. Enjoy!

Read the article here.

 

W.T.F. Japan: Top 5 crazy awesome features of Japanese restaurants 【Weird Top Five】

This week for my RocketNews24 W.T.F. Japan article, I wrote about top five crazy awesome features of Japanese restaurants.

I think I’m different than a lot of people in that I really, really don’t like going out to eat. In fact it’s something that I really don’t understand about other people. Let me explain with a list of the reasons why, in my opinion, going out to eat is usually miserable:

  1. It costs more (usually way more) than if you made it yourself.
  2. You may not be full afterward (can’t just go to the fridge and get more).
  3. It may not be prepared the way you like it (under/overcooked, something nasty mixed in).

Yes, I understand that there are some benefits of going out to eat (no cleanup, you can eat food you couldn’t prepare yourself, etc.), but in my personal opinion those pale in comparison to the three items on the list. Why would I want to go somewhere I have to pay more, may not leave full, and may not even like what I get? For atmosphere? Please. If I need atmosphere, I’ll go skydiving.

But all that changes in Japan. I really don’t mind going out to eat in Japan because most restaurants address those three issues like this:

  1. There’s no tips, so the meal is at least 20% cheaper.
  2. Most places offer some free food refill (rice, bread, cabbage) so you’ll leave full.
  3. Realistic 3-D plastic food samples so you know exactly what you’re getting.

It’s remarkable how much of a difference those three small changes make. And it’s not just those either. The whole dining experience from start to finish is always just less awkward, more relaxed, and overall more pleasant in Japan.

Why? Well go ahead and read the article to find out!

Read the article here.

W.T.F. Japan: Top 5 steps to immigrate to Japan 【Weird Top Five】

This week for my RocketNews24 W.T.F. Japan article, I wrote about top five steps to immigrate to Japan.

So originally I had a completely different W.T.F. article all set and ready to go for this week. But then, due to certain recent events, I decided that there was something much more important that needed to be written about – how to leave your country for Japan.

Of course, this is all a bit tongue-in-cheek. I doubt many people will actually be leaving the U.S. because of the election, but it’s still a fun fantasy for some. And hey, if someone really does want to leave, then my article might just provide them with some helpful information.

I actually didn’t know a ton about immigrating to Japan before I wrote this, and I feel like I learned a lot by doing the research and compiling it all together. Immigrating to Japan is certainly not easy, but it’s not impossible either. If you’re really determined to do it, there’s not much stopping you.

So whether you want to leave the U.S. and head to Japan, or if you want to stick it out and see what happens, either way hopefully it will be a fun read.

Read the article here.

W.T.F. Japan: Top 5 Japanese pet kabutomushi beetles 【Weird Top Five】

This week for my RocketNews24 W.T.F. Japan article, I wrote about top five Japanese pet kabutomushi beetles.

A few months ago I looked at the top five creepiest Japanese insects, and one notable bug missing from the list was Japanese beetles. The way they fly up and attack people, you might think they’d be a prime candidate.

Except for the fact that Japanese beetles are often kept as pets. I couldn’t possibly bring myself to include pets on a “creepy” list, but I knew I’d want to talk about them one day so here we are!

Keeping beetles are pets may seem crazy to those outside of Japan, but it’s basically the equivalent of keeping goldfish here. They’re popular with kids and don’t live very long, but at least with beetles you can get some of that creepy-crawly affection if you so desire.

Whether you love beetles or think they look like poops with legs, you’ll probably enjoy reading this one.

Read the article here.