30 common characteristics of people who fall in love with Japan



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Chances are since you’re visiting our site, you probably already have an interest in Japan or other Asian countries. But have you ever had a friend who knows next to nothing about Japan, but you just have a feeling that they would come to love the island country given the right incentive?

If so, you may recognize some characteristic qualities of that friend in the following list written by Japanese blogger and all-around-life expert Madame Riri. This time, she’s come up with some common traits of foreigners who grow to love Japan based on her own observations from time spent abroad.

Do you find yourself conforming to any of the following patterns?


In English, we’ve got a lot of terms for lovers of Japan. We’re sure you’re all familiar with at least one Japanophile, whose deep interest in Japanese culture leads him or her to study Japanese and visit the country several times. Maybe you also know a “weeaboo/Wapanese,” who tries a little too hard to sound like he knows what he’s talking about and borders on the slightly obsessive side with his huge anime DVD collection. The term otaku has even made its way into the English lexicon, despite its negative connotations in Japanese. But before those people had any connection to or knowledge about Japan whatsoever, was there some kind of hint that would predict their later infatuation with the Land of the Rising Sun?

The following list by Madame Riri tries to answer just that. As you’re reading, remember that the list refers to people who don’t know much about Japanese culture yet, but if you were to, say, introduce them to some cultural aspect or bring them to Japan just once, then BAM!–the spark of love towards Nippon will grow by leaps and bounds.

Madame Riri also stresses that these items are to be taken with a grain of salt. This list is not meant to imply that every Japanese person shares these common features, nor that people who have these commonalities are guaranteed to fall in love with Japan. They’re just personal observations that she has noticed in many people who fit a general trend.

Enjoy her list!


1. They like one or more of the following: manga, anime, or video games.

Yep, let’s just get this one out of the way nice and early.

2. They are vegetarian. Or, they’re health conscious and take great care in what they eat.

We think what she’s trying to say here is that these people place a high value on fresh, seasonal food and take great pains with presentation.


▼A traditional Japanese breakfast



3. They think that a society with men in charge is for the better. 

Despite slow progress, Japan remains a male-dominated society, with women largely expected to quit working once they start a family.


4. They think characters like Hello Kitty are adorable.

Along with that, they have ridiculously large collections of character goods, like one 29-year-old Brit Natasha Goldsworth:




5. They harbor good feelings toward unassuming people,  even if their own list of career achievements is impressive.

Maintaining a sense of modesty is emphasized, as in Japanese culture.


6. They like polite people, and are personally always thanking people with a smile. 

Tied in with Japan’s culture of extreme hospitality, or omotenashi.


7. They would choose fish over meat, given the choice.

But that’s not to say they don’t go wild for yakiniku, either!




8. They somehow feel at ease when they see shy people, or people who can’t express themselves well. 


9. They get irritated when others aren’t punctual or can’t keep promises. 

In other words, they’ll probably get along well with people from the country where station staff have mastered the seven-minute-art of cleaning the bullet train:




10. They aren’t religious, but believe there’s a god out there somewhere. 

If asked, most Japanese people would say that they have no religious affiliation, though they do regularly participate in several Buddhist and Shinto (arguably more of a spirituality than a religion) practices.

On the other hand, Japan does have a comic about young Jesus and Buddha living together as roommates in modern Tokyo


11. They think that couples will do better if the women walks a little behind the man (metaphorically speaking). 

See #3 above.


12. They dislike parties that last for a long time. They’d rather go home early. 

Perhaps along the lines of Japanese work-related drinking culture (see nomikai), which is a necessary but usually time-restricted aspect of Japanese work culture.


▼A typical nomikai



13. They often feel like shouting, “Don’t just talk about yourself but listen to others, too!” 

Group harmony is valued over individualism, perhaps?


14. They have slightly unconventional hobbies. They are probably seeking approval from somewhere. 


15. They live by a sense of the changing of the seasons–appropriate flowers are displayed during each month, only vegetables in-season are consumed, etc.


▼Extra points if they love cherry blossoms!



16. They constantly check up on the latest technology.


17. They can’t not go to the latest popular travel spots.


Case in point: What happened to Mt. Fuji after becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site last year:



18. They don’t get along with people who tend to think that America and Europe are the center of the world. 


19. They have a weak stomach. They often get stomachaches.

We’re not quite sure what she means by this one…


20. They enjoy taking baths–it’s the height of relaxation.




21. They are skilled at working with their hands, such as when wrapping Christmas presents. 

Furoshiki add a nice touch to any present, don’t you think? 


22. They are often told that they are too serious.

The key word here is majime, which suggest a strong sense of earnest diligence.


23. They think people should be praised for working hard and long. 


24. They don’t like to smell sweaty, but they don’t like to use perfumes, either. Unscented is the best. However, they do enjoy sniffing a waft of fragrant shampoo.


▼We recommend Shiseido’s popular Tsubaki Shampoo, made with oil from the camellia flower.



25. They often find themselves saying, “I’m busy,” or, “I don’t have time.”


26. They tend to be on the soft-spoken/taciturn side. 

Madame Riri is definitely referencing Japanese adults here, and not the crowds of squealing high school girls ubiquitous in Japan.


27. They are often called “kind” by others.

A bit vague…


28. They always wash their hands before eating when eating out. Or they kill germs with hand sanitizer.

Japanese people are very fond of cleanliness before eating. If you’ve ever been to Japan or to an authentic Japanese restaurant, you’ve probably noticed that the server provides you with a hot, wet towel (oshibori) to wipe your hands with before dining.


▼But the real question is, can any of you fold an oshibori bunny??



29. They are economical and hate wasting things. 

There is also a very specific Japanese word for this trait–mottainai.


30. They think that small details are very important regarding business matters. They believe that the success or failure of something depends on what extent they have emphasized the particulars.  

So–have we got anyone humming “I think I’m turning Japanese yet? Your friends may need just a little nudge, and soon you’ll have all the enthusiastic travel companions you could ever want on your next trip to Japan!


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30 common characteristics of people who fall in love with Japan


10 things Japan does better than anywhere else, according to the international community


JA 8

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Advertising agency Dentsu recently released the results of its annual Japan Brand Survey, in which it asks people from around the world for their opinion on the country. This year’s study involved 3,600 men and women living in 17 different countries, whose responses were used to compile a list of 10 things they feel Japan does better than anywhere else in the world.

In carrying out the survey, Dentsu spoke with people living in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, the U.S., Brazil, the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, and Russia. All participants were between the ages of 20 and 59, with middle or upper-class incomes.

Roughly 80 percent of those questioned said they had either plans or a desire to visit Japan, a jump of more than seven percent from last year’s survey. When asked what intrigued them about Japan, the most common response was the country’s cuisine. Its numerous travel destinations, both urban and rural, came in second, and Japanese fashion rounded out the top three.

Being an advertising firm, though, Dentsu’s primary concern is with the perception of Japanese goods and services. To get a better grip on how people abroad feel about things stamped “made in Japan,” researchers asked participants what they felt Japan does better than anywhere else, resulting in the list below.

10. Video games

JA 1

It’s a sign of the times that Japan’s video game makers, who created and for years dominated the modern industry, only barely managed to crack the top 10. Still, even as overseas companies continue to make strides in the arenas of smartphone and social gaming, for some fans there’s just no substitute for a Japanese-made game.


9. Transportation infrastructure

JA 2

It’s telling that the list was compiled from responses from people who live outside Japan, and not in it. Residents have a number of valid complaints about the country’s narrow roads, expensive expressways, and difficult to find parking. If you’re a traveler though, or anyone else using public transportation in Japan, there’s a lot to be thankful for, as it’s hard to imagine the train and subway network being much more efficient or punctual than it already is (quibbles about service ending shortly after midnight notwithstanding).


8. Environmental engineering

7. Food

JA 3

No arguments here. While sushi was the dish most respondents reported eating, wanting to try, or just simply knowing about, Japanese food has a wealth of delicious dishes, ranging from subtle delicacies like tofu and lotus root to heartier fare such as ramen and the cabbage-and-pork-filled crepes called okonomiyaki.


6. 3D technology

5. Precision engineering

4. Cars/motorcycles

JA 4

Japan still may not be able to match Germany’s cachet in the luxury segment, and it’s facing ever-increasing pressure in the economy class from American and Korean manufacturers. That said, Japanese marques are still the go-to choice for many looking for reliably-made transportation, eco-friendly hybrid and electric vehicles, or a lightweight rear-wheel drive sports car.


3. Robotics

JA 5

Build a dancing robot like Honda’s ASIMO, earn a rep for robotics. Simple as that.


2. Anime/manga

JA 6

This one might be a bit of a linguistic technicality here. While in Japanese, the words anime and manga refer to cartoons and comics respectively, regardless of country of origin, among the international community, the terms generally refer to works made in Japan. For a lot of people, saying that Japan makes the best anime and manga is like saying Alaska produces the best Alaskan king crab.

Also, some fans are looking for completely different things from Japanese and non-Japanese animation. This makes the question of whether Japan produces “better” cartoons a tricky one to answer, sort of like asking, “Which is superior, a bicycle or an ocean freighter?” Sure, they’re both vehicles, but designed with completely different things in mind, and one isn’t really a substitute for the other.

Setting all that aside, though, if you want to see robots fighting, giant-eyed characters slowly falling in love, or some combination of the two, odds are the Japanese anime industry’s got you covered.


1. Audio/video electronics

Once again, Japan doesn’t have the same iron grip on this segment that it used to. Even as manufacturers from other countries offer alternatives with lower prices and passable quality, though, Japan still has the image of making some of the best-performing consumer electronics money can buy.

JA 7

Source: Niconico News


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10 things Japan does better than anywhere else, according to the international community


Sony to shutter two-thirds of its US stores



Sony Electronics is closing 20 of its 31 US-based store locations, the Japanese consumer electronics giant announced this afternoon. The news follows layoffs at Sony affecting approximately 5,000 employees worldwide; it’s unclear if European or Asian Sony stores are affected by today’s news (we’ve asked). The announcement release cites Sony’s need, “to maintain its competitiveness in an evolving consumer electronics market” as the reason for the closures.

The company also sold off its PC business last month, making today’s news yet another step in the ongoing restructuring of Sony.

The 11 remaining stores are mostly in or near major markets: New York City, Los Angeles, and Orlando and Houston. Sony’s two-floor flagship store in New York City is slated to remain open, though the building above it (housing a variety of Sony offices) was sold last year for a cool $1.1 billion. At the time (January 2013), Sony said it’d stay in the building as a renter for “up to” three years.

Check out this link:

Sony to shutter two-thirds of its US stores


Nikon appeals to advanced shooters with high-end Coolpix P340 and S9700 compacts


The Coolpix P340, which replaces last year’s P330 and the S9700, which serves as the S9500‘s successor, look awfully similar to 2013’s models — in many ways, those similarities extend internally, too. The P340, which includes the same 1/1.7-inch 12-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor as its predecessor, carries an identical MSRP, but adds integrated WiFi connectivity, enabling instant uploads to sharing services and compatibility with Nikon’s companion apps. It also includes an f/1.8-5.6, 24-120mm (5x) optically stabilized zoom lens, a 3-inch VGA RGBW LCD and 1080/30p and 60i video capture. Like the P330, it also offers full manual controls, with a dedicated mode dial, a function button below the lens and a secondary toggle on the top.

The S9700 also includes integrated WiFi and GPS, but so did the S9500, so there’s not much to speak of there. It has a 16-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor, an upgraded f/3.7-6.4, 25-750mm (30x) optical zoom lens, a 3-inch VGA OLED display and 1080/30p and 60i video. It retains its predecessor’s manual control offerings, including a dedicated mode dial. Like last year’s model, this camera’s strength is in its size. It’s small enough to fit in a jacket pocket, despite its “superzoom” status. It also includes a hybrid VR image stabilization mode that helps keep things steady during video capture. Expect to find a black or red S9700 in stores for $350 later this month, while the (black-only) P340 will ship in March for $380.

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Nikon appeals to advanced shooters with high-end Coolpix P340 and S9700 compacts


Ricoh’s rugged WG-4 and WG-20 are its first cameras to drop the Pentax badge



Ricoh WG-4 rugged camera

Ricoh acquired the Pentax brand more than two years ago, but you almost wouldn’t know it when the badging has largely remained the same. However, that’s changing today — Ricoh’s new WG-4WG-4 GPS and WG-20 compact cameras are its first to ditch the Pentax name.

From now on, you’ll only find the label on interchangeable lens cameras and their accessories. These rugged point-and-shoots haven’t seen dramatic changes beyond the corporate logo, mind you. The WG-4 and its GPS-equipped variant add user-programmable and shutter priority modes to the WG-3’s basic formula, which includes a 16-megapixel sensor, a 4x lens and a body that’s waterproof to 45 feet. The WG-20 (shown below) is very similar to the WG-10, sharing its 14-megapixel sensor, 5x lens and 33-foot waterproofing.

All the new models ship in March; the WG-20 will be available for $200, while the WG-4 and WG-4 GPS will respectively cost you $330 and $380.

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Ricoh’s rugged WG-4 and WG-20 are its first cameras to drop the Pentax badge

Ricoh WG-20 rugged camera


Sony sells its VAIO PC business, is splitting TV arm into a separate company



Sony said it was “addressing various options” as recently as yesterday when it came to its VAIO PC and laptop arm, and while announcing its financial results for Q3 2013, it’s apparently come to a decision. Amid reforming its TV arm (and splitting it into a standalone entity by June 2014), it’s going to sell its PC business and VAIO brand to Japan Industrial Partners (JIP), with the final deal set to be done by the end of March 2014. The company has reported a drop in demand for its PCs in prior financial statements, and (barring the VAIO Flip 11A), Sony didn’t really have much to show from its VAIO range at this year’s CES. During the earnings call today, CEO Kaz Hirai said that it was an “agonizing decision“, and that it was “a very Sony brand… It stirred up the PC market.”

The company says it’s no longer designing and developing PC products, while manufacturing and sales will wrap up after the company’s final VAIO range goes on sale globally. It has decided to focus on those post-PC products (yep, smartphones and tablets), meaning that it had to make some big decisions with less successful parts of the business. During Q3 2013, it saw “significant profit improvements” compared to the same period last year. Sony saw year-on-year sales increases from its mobile arm, but still forecasts an annual loss of around $1.1 billion (110 billion yen) for the full year: it had previously projected a 30 billion yen profit. The blame is leveled at the businesses its now looking to change. Other highlights include the PS4, which sold 4.2 million units and 9.7 million games in its first six weeks. The games arm also saw a “dramatic increase” in PlayStation Plus subscriptions — something that’s mandatory for multiplayer on the company’s new console.

Sony will cut a total of 5,000 jobs worldwide (1,500 in Japan) by the end of the 2014 fiscal year, while the new PC company has stated that it will hire around 250 to 300 Sony employees, encompassing design, development manufacturing and sales, and will be based in Nagano — where Sony’s current VAIO HQ resides. The company is promising to fulfill all its aftercare warranties. Sony is signed up to invest 5 percent of the new company’s capital to support its launch and smooth over the transition. Restructuring costs across both the TV and PC segments are now set to cost an extra 20 billion yen. Sony is now set to focus on its high-end sets and 4K screens, and hopes that changes will ensure the TV business returns to profitability within the next financial year.

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Sony sells its VAIO PC business, is splitting TV arm into a separate company


Samsung Officials Reveal Plans for Wearable Tech in 2014

Image of Samsung Officials Reveal Plans for Wearable Tech in 2014

Making yet another leap in wearable technology, unnamed Samsung officials have reported that the South Korean conglomerate is currently developing a competitor to Google’s Glass. Rumor has it that Samsung may reveal this new innovation at the IFA trade show in Berlin this September, one year after the premiere of the Galaxy Gear smartwatch.

The Korea Times report went on to say that the Galaxy Glass – as it is tentatively named – would connect to your smartphone allowing you to handle calls and listen to music, just as the Gear does. It sure does seem as if Samsung is committed to being the industry leader in new market exploration, but who will be able to bring these innovations to mass production?

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Samsung Officials Reveal Plans for Wearable Tech in 2014


South Korea Investing £900m to Develop 5G Network


Image of South Korea Investing £900m to Develop 5G Network

Its no secret that Samsung has been at the forefront of technological development in the digital age, evidenced by a large market share of mobile devices thanks to its expansive Galaxy device. Naturally, its home country – South Korea – has benefitted largely from these advances, and is poised for yet another breakthrough with the development of 5G technology.

The country will invest up to £900m for development ahead of a test deadline, which is set for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Supposed to be immensely more powerful than existing 4G technologies, 5G could increase mobile data capacity by as much as 25 times between now and 2030. Look for more information on this story as it unravels.

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South Korea Investing £900m to Develop 5G Network


Sony 4K Ultra Short Throw Projector

Image of Sony 4K Ultra Short Throw Projector

At this year’s CESSony unveiled its brand new 4K Ultra Short Throw Projector. Designed to take up less space that traditional projector systems, the Ultra Short Throw Projector can beam 66″ to 147″ 4K resolution images from just 20 inches away. The home entertainment system also houses two separate speakers to create an immersive viewing and listening experience. If 3D is more your thing, the projector can do that too, throwing up 1080p 3D images as well as displaying output from a computer at up to 1920 x 1200 resolution.

All this tech doesn’t come cheap though, as Sony has this thing priced at $40,000 USD. Expect it to go on sale sometime this summer.

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Sony 4K Ultra Short Throw Projector