An increasing number of schools and companies in Japan encourage their students and employees to cry as a way of relieving stress and improving mental health. There are also people who are called “namida sensei” meaning “tears teacher.”
Microsoft Japan introduced four days work-week for its employees for one month under its ‘Working Reform Project’, and the productivity jumped by over 40%.
Dr Seuss drew anti-Japanese cartoons during WWII. When he met the survivors of Hiroshima, he realized “A person is a person no matter how small”. He later created Horton Hears a Who! as an apology, dedicating it to a Japanese friend.
A Japanese rail company apologized after a train left a station 25 seconds early. The operator said, “the great inconvenience we placed upon our customers was truly inexcusable”.
There’s a long history in Japan of female pearl divers who start diving at the age of 12-13 and are active well into their 70s. They’re known as “ama” (which means “sea woman”). They endure freezing conditions and great pressure from deep-sea depths to get pearls, and they have a unique technique in which they release air in a long whistle as they resurface.
In Japan in 1968, 4 bank employees were transporting 300 million yen in the trunk of a car. They were stopped by a young police officer, who claimed dynamite had been planted in the transport car. When he crawled under to check and smoke came billowing out, they ran away. The “officer” then got in the car and drove away. The case remains unsolved.
The Japanese never ate salmon sushi until the 1980s when a Norwegian businessman, hired by Norway’s government to offload excess salmon, made a deal with a Japanese company to sell the fish in its grocery stores, leading to its popularity today.
Shinrin-yoku (meaning “forest bathing”) is considered a form of nature therapy in Japan which has positive effects on mental and nervous wellbeing. It consists essentially in taking long walks in forests.
Japanese vending machines are operated to dispense drinking water free of charge when the water supply gets cut off during a disaster.
Japan is giving its elderly population discounts on ramen if they give up their drivers licenses.