HABITS FROM AROUND THE WORLD: JAPAN.

Japanese culture has undergone great changes over the centuries, from the country’s original culture, called Jōmon, to modern culture, to the hybrid combination of Asian, European and North American influences. It is a culture different from any other oriental culture.

For today’s Japanese, social and family relationships are still steeped in tradition and every moment of life is linked to a way of dealing with it with a certain ceremonial. In this way, the supremacy of laws over individuals is affirmed and the individual must strictly respect the established rules and rites for the passage of the various stages of his life.

There are particular oral greetings and particular gestures, such as bows, in addressing others with extreme deference and appropriately for each role, which serve to reaffirm the respect that the individual has towards social hierarchies.

Japanese formalism is also expressed in dressing: for example, in the workplace men dress strictly in a jacket and tie, even in the height of summer.

According to tradition, the Japanese calendar is made up of a six-day cycle (sensho, tomobiki, senpu, butsumetsu, taian and shakku) each of which can be auspicious or inauspicious or suitable for something specific. For example, butsumetsu and shakku are unlucky days and you shouldn’t do business on senpu day.

The New Year, which lasts five days, is a very heartfelt holiday. It includes various purification rites that are a prelude to the renewal brought about by the new year. We go to the sacred temple in the best dress, the signs of purification are affixed above the door of the house, we visit the tombs of the dead.

Between March and April there is the celebration of the hanami or the “visit of the flowers”: it is not a religious festival, but a tribute to spring during which you lie down under the flowering trees and drink beer or saké (liqueur of rice).

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