Quote Japan

Interesting, odd, outrageous or informative quotes about Japan

Insight Guides Japan- Quotes from the 2002 version of the guidebook

 “In the 1990’s, respected university researchers claimed that the Japanese were genetically unique in their ability to appreciate to the fullest the sounds of nature like crickets and waterfalls” Insight Guides Japan

“The awe with which the Akamon (gate of Tokyo University) is regarded is illustrated in tales of ambitious and kimono-clad mothers taking their five-year-olds to visit the gate before packing them off to their first day of school, seeking to impress upon the youngster the goal for the next 15 years of life” Insight Guides Japan

“Japan’s isolation from World War I had kept the nation free of Europe’s war weary cynicism, and, too, of the horrors of such war” Insight Guides Japan with an explanation for the Japanese route to war I haven’t heard before

 “Just two-thirds of Japanese dwellings are connected to a modern sewage system” Insight Guides Japan (2002)

“Building codes in some Western countries do not recognise this kind of [traditional Japanese house] top-heavy structure. Getting a building permit for a traditional Japanese house in the United States in not easy. Many of the post-and-beam homes destroyed in Kobe were the result of heavy roofs collapsing” Another nail in the coffin of the “we don’t build in brick because wood is better in an earthquake” argument, from Insight Guides Japan
“The Japanese garden is an artefact open to the sun and rain, but clearly made to been seen and appreciated from within a building. Gardens for walking exist but are rather exceptional and usually public.” Explains a lot. Insight Guides Japan.

“There was a period in the heady, decadent days of the Edo Period when there was women’s sumo as well. At first they appeared in just loincloths like the men, but eventually the law made them cover up; the engravers of popular woodblock ukiyo-e prints had to oblige by adding vests to cover breasts” Well, the men show their tits off so why shouldn’t the women?? Insight Guides Japan

“Although baseball is truly the athletic obsession of Japan…sumo remains the “official” national sport. This is fitting, partly because of its history that dates back as far as the third century. and too for its hoary, quasi-religious ritualism- but mostly because, in Japan, it’s a more exciting sport” Insight Guides Japan

“[In sumo] it’s a long physical and emotional climb to the top, with little sleep, lots of dirt and sweat, constant humiliation, cooking, running errands and scrubbing backs, and the awesome task of accompanying 200-kilogram (450lb) senior wrestlers to the restroom- all just for bed and board. Only those at the top receive a salary.” Insight Guides Japan

“In Nihonbashi [in Edo, now Tokyo]…the condemned were buried in the ground near the bridge with only the neck and head exposed. Lines were drawn on the neck and two saws left on either side. Any passers-by so inclined could saw off the murder’s head. Painful, but quicker than crucifixion.” Insight Guides Japan

“Some [people] will even charter a special train with tatami-mat cars and go nowhere in particular, just party in locomotive style” The Japanese love of trains knows no limits! A train driving game was also top of the computer game charts at one time. Insight Guides Japan
“Although in most Chinatowns, from San Francisco to London, restaurants prepare food for Chinese tastes, in Yokohama everything is adjusted to Japanese taste buds…. (Top chefs recruited from Hong Kong and Taiwan have to be deprogrammed to prepare Chinese food in Japan)” Insight Guides Japan. Another similarity with Italy, that one

“[Kamakura era Shogun] Yoritomo’s very unpretentious tomb is to found off to the right of the [Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu] shrine near a hill. It is an austere grave befitting a samurai, unlike the monstrous mausoleums for the Tokugawa shoguns as Nikko, which look as if they were built for mafioso dons” Insight Guides Japan

“The rain you are now experiencing is not the rainy season rain. The rainy season will start as soon as this rain finishes” A TV news weather forecaster, as quoted by Insight Guides Japan

“When French ski manufacturers first tried to export skis to Japan… the Japanese government declared the skis unsuitable for the special and unique Japanese snow….when American beef producers were trying to open the Japanese market the agricultural ministry argued that only Japanese beef was suitable for the special and unique digestive system of the Japanese people.” Insight Guides Japan

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