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Travel, Teach, Live in Japan

Japan - The Land of the Rising Sun
By:Sebastian Harley

Many of us aren't completely clear on what Japan has to offer us as a tourist. It is a land where the past meets up with the future. Deep in heritage and culture but on the absolute cutting edge of technology, there's something for everyone here. Japan is almost a case study in contradiction in everything. Wood plank shacks sit next to designer condos, entertainment can range from cute characters to violent pornography. Beautiful temples are surrounded by hideous signs. If there is one thing that is for certain, it's that you won't be bored on your visit to Japan.

Japan has three major attractions that the Japanese themselves are particularly proud of. You should pay a visit to Mount Fuji, which is the highest peak on the island and is an ice capped volcano. There is also the 88 pilgrimage which many citizens are fond of. This is a 1,647km trail that laps the edge of the island of Shikoku. And finally, there is the Narrow Road to the Deep North. This is a route around Japan, best known for being immortalized by Japan's most famous haiku poet.

Japan has a very homogenized culture due to its isolation. Almost its entire population, 99%, is from Japanese ethnicity. You can expect the Japanese to be extremely polite as it's something they're well known for. Many Japanese citizens are thrilled to see foreigners in their country and are often willing to help them out. Many of the younger generation love to meet foreigners and have the opportunity to befriend them. Don't be surprised if someone, usually of the opposite sex, approaches you and tries to start up a conversation with you in broken English!

The people of Japan are very understanding of foreigners and will often forgive you for common foul ups on their Japanese traditions. It's important to understand, though, there are a few things that will always be looked down upon and to make note. You want to be sure never to walk on a tatami mat if you are wearing shoes or slippers. Never blow your nose in public. Don't ever leave your chopsticks standing up in your bowl of rice because this is how it's offered to the dead. And above all, make sure you wash your hands before bathing. Do some deeper research and learn more about Japanese culture to make your stay that much more enjoyable. But above all, have fun! Japan is a beautiful country.

Sebastian has been traveling around South East Asia for some time and has put together a number of blogs on the subject. If your interested in Japan then check out http://www.Japancares.com

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