Kimono and geisha.
Walking through the streets of Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto or any other city, you can meet young girls dressed in traditional costumes, with bleached faces and painted lips. These are geishas.
It is believed that the geisha (芸者) in a traditional kimono symbolizes Japan as we are used to seeing it. The image of a geisha as a dancer for samurai is far from the truth. After all, the name of the profession consists of two hieroglyphs meaning “art” and “man”.
A real geisha can not only dance, but also play musical instruments, tell legends and legends, conduct tea ceremonies. Geishas are also conversationalists, sometimes as wise as Buddhist monks.
Samurai and yakuza.
Many people mistakenly believe that every Japanese is a samurai. This is not true, real samurai (侍) were closer to the image of a European knight than a commoner with a sword. Talking about samurai is best in the past tense, in modern Japan they do not exist. However, the spirit of the samurai, their goals and philosophy are close to many Japanese. Perhaps this is why their character is purposeful, persistent, courageous, and at the same time loyal, obedient, and respectful to their elders.
Yakuza (ヤクク) – the Japanese mafia, which considers itself the successors of the samurai, has long been known outside of Japan. Walking through some of the entertainment districts of Tokyo, you can meet men dressed in black suits with ties. They look more like office clerks, but don’t flatter yourself. Perhaps it’s a yakuza, and under his shirt, his body is covered with symbolic tattoos.
However, the Yakuza is an “honest” mafia, which is exactly the image they try to maintain both among the Japanese and among tourists. Disciplined and monolithic, strong and sometimes violent Yakuza maintain a firm order both within their clan and in the streets they control.
Drift and JDM.
Thanks to the films, we know that the birthplace of drift is Japan, and the famous racer Keiichi Tsuchiya became the founder of the movement. The main and most striking feature of any drift race is the” sliding ” of the car sideways.
The term JDM, which has become very popular among motorists, is used to refer to Japanese cars, drift, tuning and driving style.
However, despite the popular image of Japan as the birthplace of street drift competitions, in reality such competitions are held at specially designated venues.
Anime and manga.
Anime is one of the images of modern Japan. To perceive anime as just cartoons is not true, because it is primarily aimed at adults. There are no single plots in anime, the action of cartoons can unfold anywhere, in any era and universe. The only thing common in anime is the way the characters are drawn.
Big eyes, touching smiles, bright expression of emotions-these are the main features of all anime characters.
The progenitor of anime was manga (漫画), a Japanese type of comic book. Despite the external similarity to the American ancestor, manga comics are sometimes distinguished by a deep philosophical approach.
Anime culture, having reached its apogee, spilled out into the city streets, becoming a familiar part of life in Japan. No one else is surprised to meet girls in gaiters, pink suits and cartoon makeup on the streets of Japanese megacities, or young people dressed as sea pirates. Such images, shocking tourists, have become the daily norm.
Shinto and Buddhism.
Shinto and Buddhism are the two pillars of Japanese beliefs. Despite all the strangeness, most of the inhabitants of the Land of the Rising Sun profess two religions at once.
Shinto is the native religion of Japan, which worships numerous deities, spirits of places and ancestors. The capacious philosophy of Shinto is that everything on Earth, like itself, has a soul.
Buddhism, once in Japan, changed the country and changed itself. After mixing and absorbing some of Shintoism, it became the main religion of the country. However, it is difficult to understand what the Japanese actually worship in a Buddhist temple-the Buddha or the ancient gods embodied in his image.
Music of Japan.
Japanese music (音楽) is little known outside the country. Traditional motifs have a monotonous sound, it is melodic, but does not differ in variety.
More popular is modern music, which gave rise to such genres as J-pop and J-Rock. Having their roots in the world of rock and pop music, they developed in their own direction and acquired a special sound, musical performance and meaning of the lyrics.
Among the musicians and bands in Japan, such artists are known as: Gackt, X Japan, BUCK-TICK, Luna Sea and others.
Karate and sumo.
Loose pants and a shirt, a black belt that wraps around a manly torso – this is karate (空手道). A popular Japanese martial art, the essence of which is not only to defeat the enemy faster, but also to do it in a certain manner.
The beauty and grace of karate lies in the smoothness and grace of the movements, in the clarity of the blows and in the amazing self-control of the fighter. Experienced craftsmen can break ice blocks and wooden bars, which symbolizes not only their strength, but also their willingness to make sacrifices for the sake of the final result.
A funny fight between two fat men on a small sandy area is actually an ancient Japanese martial art-sumo (相撲). Sumo combines the traditions of wrestling, sports and ritual. It’s also a successful business, and the wrestlers are considered local superstars.
For the uninitiated, the essence of sumo is that one of the wrestlers must end up outside the ring. However, for the Japanese, sumo begins from the moment of entering the ring, with the clothes of the wrestlers and judges, with the welcome address of the wrestlers to the audience. Old fans of sumo sometimes only by one type of fighter can determine whether he will win or lose.
In Japan, there are 15 official holidays, called Shukujitsu (祝日), which are also days off. In addition to them, there are also matsuri (祭り) holidays, which are essentially any festive event. Each region of Japan has its own matsuri, and there are celebrated throughout the country, for example, the Day of Flowering and admiring sakura.
The day of the god Ebisu-the patron saint of fishermen and traders.
Coming of Age Day in Japan – on this day, young Japanese people receive rights and opportunities on an equal basis with adults.
Sapporo Snow Figure Festival.
The day of the founding of the state in Japan.
Hina Matsuri is a celebration of girls in Japan.
O-Hanami is a festival of cherry blossoms and admiring cherry trees.
Constitution Day in Japan.
Children’s Day in Japan.
Mother’s Day in Japan.
Father’s Day in Japan.
Memorial Day in Nagasaki.
Day of Honoring the Elderly.
Sake day in Japan.
Day of gratitude to labor.
Birthday of the Emperor of Japan.
National characteristics of Japan.
Japanese people are reserved and calm at work or in the family. However, all these norms of behavior disappear as soon as they go to a karaoke club or a sake bar.
Hard work and pragmatism, perseverance and loyalty to ideals are common traits of the majority of Japanese people. The population of the Land of the Rising Sun is emphatically friendly and polite to foreigners, but they consider them something foreign, unnatural on their land.
The individualism that is so evident in the entertainment areas immediately disappears at work, in the family, among colleagues or at the university. Instead of a personal ” I “here you can see” we”, which makes the Japanese sometimes look like hardworking ants.