(The State of Japan, 日本国,
Nippon-koku or Nihon-koku)
- Location: East Asia
- Capital: Tokyo
- Language(s): Japanese
- Population: 127,973,234
- Total Area: 377,944 sq km
- Currency: Yen
- Curious Alcohol Fact: There is a popular wine called sake and is made from rice.
- Annual Average Liquor Consumption Per Capita: 8.02 liters
- Most Popular Drink(s): Tea, local wines
If countries can be considered living legends, the Empire of Japan will be right there at the very top. Japan is a nation that has taught the world how to overcome and cope with seemingly-insurmountable obstacles. From atomic bombs to natural disasters, Japan is a country that is to be truly admired. An island nation, the name of the country can be translated to mean the Land of the Rising Sun. Japan is actually not a single island but an archipelago of almost 7,000 islands. Of these thousands of islands, four stand out as the largest and contain almost all the population. These islands are Kyushu, Shikoku, Honshu and Hokkaido. The capital city is Tokyo, and with more than 30 million people, Tokyo (formerly called Edo) holds the enviable title of the largest city in the world.
One thing that I have always loved about Japan is its homogenous nature. Almost 99% of the citizens are Japanese, and to be sincere, I am yet to see a nation that is as homogenous as this island nation. The Japanese have always been hardworking, courteous, admirable and amiable people. You need to meet only one Japanese for your heart to melt at the deeply-ingrained humility, respect and calmness. Today, Japan has some of the highest living standards not just in Asia but in the world. It is also interesting to know that with life expectancy regularly over 80; Japanese live longer than any other people in the world. An overwhelming proportion of Japanese are followers of the Buddhist faith or Shinto. Very few of the citizens profess Christianity.
The lovely nature of the Japanese is quite evident in their cuisine. Throughout my voyages in Asia, I kept thinking of the mesmerizing meals of the island nation. Upon getting to the country, the first meal I tried was sushi. After all, the best place to eat sushi is Nippon itself. After that, I decided to sample the meal called domburimono, which was made from rice, chicken, shrimp, eggs and beef. Although my intention was to ‘sample’, the food, I finished the plate to the delight of my Japanese hosts who could not help smiling at a foreigner devouring traditional Asian food. One thing that you will like about many Japanese foods is the generous use of seafood in the meals. What else do you expect from a nation surrounded by water on all sides?
You can also experience the rich culture of Japan by sampling the traditional alcoholic beverage made from rice, which is called sake. There is also another local brew made from potatoes and is known as shochu. However, it must be pointed out that after water, the next popular drink is tea. Just as in the neighboring China and Korea, tea is an integral part of Japanese culture and you will marvel at the elaborate tea ceremonies. For those who want stronger drinks, beers are sold in supermarkets and bars. From whichever angle you look at Japan, it is an amazing country full of nice people.
If there is any sport that is always associated with Japan, it will be sumo wrestling. This sport of giants is the country’s national sports and is hugely popular among all age categories. Judo (and other martial arts), baseball, golf and football are also enjoyed in the country.
- Japan is one of the most generous donor nations on the planet.
- The Japanese are very respectful, honest and hospitable.
- The country’s capital, Tokyo, is the largest in the world.
- Japan is a group of almost 7,000 islands.
- Unknown to many, Japan is a constitutional monarchy with Emperor Akihito as the Emperor and he is widely respected in the island nation.
Story By World By Shotglass
©2013 World By Shotglass. All Rights Reserved
Special thanks to our contributors:
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola (Ilorin, Nigeria).