Your Random Questions about Japan Answered
I’m currently overwhelmed by so many quality anime shows it’s hard to know what to select for today, so I decided to do another “Ask me Anything” type post, answering questions about Japan from our readers on Facebook and Twitter. If you have questions about Japan, we have answers!
I heard the birth rate is declining in Japan. Is it because women are pickier, and men are glued to their 2D waifus?
I once started to write 100 reasons why the birthrate in Japan is falling and had to stop at around 50 or so. All countries experience lower birthrates when they industrialize and increase education, especially for women. Various trends, including urbanization, improvements in public health, concern about the country’s fiscal future, and yes, new technology that might replace the role of a “3D” partner for some men or women, all play a role. However, the situation is far from dire. At 1.5 babies per female, Japan’s birthrate isn’t actually even in the top ten low countries. South Korea, Taiwan, Italy and Spain are all lower than Japan (2017 data).
Are there Japanese who go overboard with their love of America?
Yes, there are “America and Britain otakus” here, usually older men who lived through the era of James Dean and Elvis. J-List’s DVD buyer is an extreme Beatles fan, who buys two sets of every CD release every year, one to listen to and one to keep, pristine in its package.
What’s the working culture in Japan like?
Japan is definitely a work-centric place, where words like gambaru (to do one’s best) are commonly used. People who don’t work hard face social pressure to get with the program.
Are there super Big Gulps at Japan 7-11 and if so, what size do they go up to?
While interesting flavors of Coca-Cola exist, Japanese drink sweetened soft drinks only occasionally, and are always shocked when they encounter the “buckets of Cola” sold in America. Instead, they nearly always reach for unsweetened bottled Asian teas.
Is it easy to be sociable in Japan, or are people introverted?
As usual, people come in all varieties, and some will be outgoing and others shy. At my gym, I notice both kinds. Some will come up to me and engage in conversation, asking where I’m from and how I like Japan, while others might clearly want to talk but be too shy to do so. I have met quite a few Japanese who went out of their way to befriend foreigners.
What was it like raising kids in Japan?
There were a lot of cultural things to learn, like how “baby talk” worked in Japanese, and the odd custom of throwing a child’s baby teeth onto the roof (if it was a lower tooth) or under the house (if an upper tooth), to encourage the child’s healthy growth. I often had a giant sweat drop on my head like Sailor Moon, wondering what was going on around me.
What is healthcare like in Japan?
Japan has a British/Canadian style healthcare system that works well, as the longevity of the Japanese demonstrates.