Thursday, May 29, 2014

Japan Trivia : Why do cars drive on the left in Japan?

As you know, cars drive on the right in the United States and nearly all countries in Europe. Only in a few countries - the United Kingdom, Australia, India, Malaysia - do cars drive on the left as in Japan.

Australia used to be a British colony, as was India, so it's easy to understand why those countries drive on the left: they were imitating Britain. But why does Japan also stick to the left?

When Japan was Westernizing, it used Britain as a model for its railroads and many other things. You might think that automobile driving was copied as well, but in that case you would be wrong.

The keep-to-the-left tradition in Japan dates back even earlier than the Meiji period. There were no automobiles then, so the roads were used only by horse-drawn carts, palanquins, and pedestrians. The latter group included samurai who strutted along arrogantly, always keeping to the left, just as students at driving schools are taught to do today.

The samurai had a reason for walking on the left. The swords they wore at their waists usually hung to the left, so they had to walk on the left side of the road in order to be able to draw their swords quickly.

To avoid bumping into samurai and making them angry, the carts and other passersby followed the samurai and kept to the left. Following this tradition, it was decided in 1900 that both pedestrians and vehicles should keep to the left.

In 1950, the rule was changed and required only cars to stay on the left. As automobile use began to grow, pedestrians were shifted to the right. Although lip service is paid to putting pedestrians first, in today's car-obsessed Japan everyone knows that cars, like samurai of old, barge down the roads and force others to get out their way.
Credit:Japan Trivia-Simple Questions Research Association

Monday, May 26, 2014

10 Things You Can Only Do in Japan

Plan to go to Japan but didn't know what to do once arrives? Here's some extraordinary tips and places that you could never try in other countries. So, if you are already in Japan, try all of these so that you won't miss out Japan's uniqueness.
  • Visit a pachinko parlour
What is pachinko? It is a huge entertainment rooms with row after row of vertical pinball machines patronised by people of all ages. Every town has its pachinko parlours. Pachinko is a mechanical game originating in Japan and is used as both a form of recreational arcade game and much more frequently as a gambling device.
  • Stay in a ryokan
Ryokan or in English we called it Japanese Inn. Ryokan is a type of hotel / homestay that let travelers experience how Japanese stay in the Tatami-matted rooms, with communal baths, and also have public bath as well. Besides, travelers may wear yukata provided in each ryokan and talk with the ryokan owners.
Most ryokan offer dinner and breakfast, which are often included in the price of the room. Most visitors take their meals at the ryokan, which usually promote themselves on the quality of their food.
  •  Travel in the bullet train
Have you experience this before? It is very expensive for me since my country's currency is below Japan currency yet it is best experience to treasure. I depart from Osaka and arrived in Hiroshima Station. The bullet train or shinkansen is one of the best thing you should try when you go to Japan.

  • Try and eat at food stalls
Outdoor carts and stands that sell ramen are popular even with young women. It is doesn't matter what you eat, but how you feel when you eat in the stand food stalls matter. You might suddenly realize why Japanese people like to eat at food stalls. During the samurai era, they believed soldier must be ready to fight anytime. So, "eat fast, shit fast, and prepare fast". The style of food style begin during that time.
  • See sumo or kabuki
Most people regard sumo as the national sport of Japan, so the grand champions of sumo, the yokozuna, are supposed to have not only strength and skill but also character. While kabuki is a classical Japanese dance-drama. Kabuki theater is known for the stylization of its drama and for the elaborate make-up worn by some of its performers.
  • Visit a public bath
For me, to clean yourself in public with people we don't know is embarrassing. But still you can visit the Japanese public bath. Some of them is open 24 hours. You can even sleep at the public bath if you don't want to go back to your home / hotel.
  • Stay in a capsule hotel
Capsule hotel is a type of hotel developed in Japan that features a large number of extremely small "rooms" (capsules) intended to provide cheap, basic overnight accommodation for guests who do not require the services offered by more conventional hotels.The guest room is a modular plastic or fiberglass block roughly 2 by 1 by 1.25 m (6 ft 7 in by 3 ft 3 in by 4 ft 1 in). Facilities differ, but most include a television, an electronic console, and wireless internet connection.
  • Picnic under cherry blossom
Cherry blossom or sakura is Japan national identity. Sakura can be found in Japan especially during spring. When is the most suitable time to have the picnic under sakura tree? Go to Japan during sakura view time (Hanami). It is usually around early of April.
  • See a geisha on her way to work
By doing this, you will always realize and remember that you are now in Japan because you will never seen any other geisha outside Japan. Enjoy viewing it and observe how they behave with the geisha costumes. Geisha is a traditional Japanese female entertainers who act as hostesses and whose skills include performing various Japanese arts such as classical music, dance and games.
Okay, enjoy do things in Japan. There's thousand more interesting things to do and hundred more exciting places to go. But try all those things above first. ^_^

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Study Abroad to Japan?

Since this is my first entry, I would like to begin with study in Japan. I love Japan and its culture. For me, they have their own identity that differentiate them with other countries. Foreign students should take entrance exams to qualify them for the admission of university in Japan regardless on what course you are pursuing. Comparing with entrance examination that is made for Japanese student, content of examination, subjects required are easier and fewer than those of which Japanese student should take. It is better for foreign students to take these entrance examinations.
  • Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU)
This examination is recommended because without taking EJU, the range of your choice of university will be narrow. Therefore, try your best to take it. EJU will be held twice a year, in June and December. In Japan or in some countries located in Asia such as Indonesia, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and some more.
  • Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT)
I have experienced taking this test. JLPT N3. It was undeniably difficult. My weakest point in Japanese Language is kanji. This examination is a standardised criterion-referenced test to evaluate and certify Japanese language proficiency for non-native speakers. But now the number of school requiring this test is decreasing since EJU debut.
  • Test of English as a Foreign Languages (TOEFL)
Lots of national-established universities require applicants to submit their TOEFL scores. There are totally four sites to take TOEFL. Two places in Tokyo, one in Yokohama and one in Osaka. TOEFL is one of the two major English-language tests in the world, the other being the IELTS.
  • Written Examination, Short essay in Japanese, and also Interview.
You can choose which method of examination entrance you want depending on what schools and courses you enroll. But before you decided to take the examination, please refer to the homepage websites of your preferred university and learn the admission procedure.

Wish you good luck on your study abroad and enjoy learn about Japan !