Seldom-Asked Questions About Japan

This is fantastic; full of odd little facts about Japan. Here’s one I really like:

  1. ‘(How do you explain) the frequency of Japanese people (usually women) running or jogging for no apparent reason. In the travel agency, ‘let me get you a copy’ and she runs away. In my office a woman runs to the bathroom (can be explained) and then runs back to her desk (huh?). Most of the teachers I work with wait for the bell in the teacher’s room, and then practically sprint to their classes. Do you know why all this running is going on? Fitness? Service? An Edo-era leftover?’–Question submitted by Ben Schwartz
  2. I once teasingly asked a female with whom I worked why she always did a sort of feigned jog to and from the copier, especially since her jog was slower than her walk. The humour wasn’t lost on her, but she explained that many Japanese do this at work because the appearance of urgency is important in more traditional office environments. You don’t have to truly run around frantically, but just offer the gesture.–Answer kindly submitted by Lou C.

Another good one — it seems Bob the Builder had to have a finger added for the Japanese market, in order to not look like a yakuza.

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