5 Weird Things in Japan that the Japanese Don’t Consider Strange At All!

  • CULTURE
  • Internationally (in)famous for strange inventions, Japan has a lot to offer if you are interested in the unusual, exotic or just strange. The number of things that often surprise foreigners but are ‘totally normal’ to Japanese is infinite.

    1. Yaeba (八重歯)

    Having uneven teeth or a ‘snaggletooth’ is considered a sign of youthfulness in Japan. In Japanese it’s called ‘yaeba’, and some Japanese women even undergo cosmetic alteration in order to get that special look. The custom is not that widespread, but still!

    2. Hadaka Matsuri (裸祭り)

    This festival is a rather bizarre one: thousands of men are (almost) naked wearing just a small piece of loincloth, and observe this festival in order to receive luck for the year. The name ‘Hadaka Matsuri’ literally means ’naked festival’. It is funny to watch, and should you ever have the chance to join in, do not hesitate!

    3. Kancho (カンチョー)

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    This is a mean prank that’s popular among children (and some adults). To do this, you would need to clasp your hands together, so they are shaped like a gun. Then the most important part happens: the purpose is to ‘attack’ the victim by attempting to insert the index fingers quickly into the ‘derrière’ of the victim while yelling “KANCHO!”
 The original meaning derives from the medical term for ‘enema’ written in Kanji.

    4. Rabbit Island / Fox Village / Cat Island

    A small island in Japan’s Inland Sea has become famous due to its floppy eared population. There are rumors that rabbits have been brought to Okunoshima island in WW2 for animal testing, and then numbers increased dramatically due to the predator-free environment.

    In ‘Zao Fox Village’ (蔵王キツネ村) located in Miyagi prefecture you can experience fox heaven. It is a sanctuary where hundreds of foxes are roaming free. You can click here for their official website.

    Finally there is cat island: located in Ehime prefecture, you can find a large stray cat population on Aoshima island.

    5. Weird hats

    If you are in search of a funny hat, you will definitely find it in Japan! Animal hats, food hats, instrument hats: anything you can think of is produced and sold in the Land of the Rising Sun. It’s for some extra fun, just let go a bit in your free time since daily life is serious enough.

    As you can see, there are many strange but interesting things to see and experience in Japan (though most would opt to skip on the ‘kancho’). Of course, there are plenty of other typical Japanese experiences to have, which ones are on your to-do list?

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