~Zach Ziemba

Late Autumn by Hagiwara Sakutaro (1886-1942)

The train was passing overhead,

And my thoughts meandered into the shade.

Looking back, I was surprised to find

How my heart was at rest!

Streets were strewn with the autumn sun's last rays,

Traffic crowded the highway.

Does my life exist at all?

Yet in the window of a humble house,

Along a back street where the smoke still hung, Purple hollyhocks were blooming.

Japan: A Journey Between Tradition And Modernity

Japanese People and Society

Language: Japanese

Death Rate: 9.51 deaths / 1,000

Birth Rate: 7.93 births / 1,000

Life Expectancy: Total 84.7 years

Men 81 years 5th in the world

Women 88 years 1st in the world

Total Population: 126,919, 659 (1.72% of World Pop.)

Average Population: Male 61,909,000 VS. Female 65,388,000 (2013)

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Japanese Religions

Japanese culture has two main religions Shintoism & Buddhism.

About 79.2 % of the population practices Shintoism, 66.8% practices Buddhism, 1.5% practices Christianity, and 7% practices other religions.

If you are wondering why the total percentage exceeds 100% it is because many practice both Shintoism & Buddhism. This is one of the unique qualities that Japan has to offer.

The video below will further explain the expansion and practices of those religions.

Religion in Japan

Japan Economy

The Japanese Economy was built off of a firm foundation, quality over quantity. Japan currently has the fourth largest economy in the world but has felt considerable backlash from potentially growing to fast to quick. Since Japan is only an island the size of California the work force has grown so large that there are fewer and fewer jobs available. Research and current data is revealing how the growth of Japan's economy is affecting population growth.

The cartogram below depicts the Gross Domestic Product of all the countries in the world, the large dark green country to the far right is Japan.

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Japanese Population Issue

This video attempts to link the Economic Success to the new lifestyles of Japanese youth.
Japan Population Decline

Japanese Language

トイレ (toire) = Toilet

Everyone poops, as the saying goes. When you gotta go, you gotta be able to ask where it's at. This word sounds almost like "toilet" without the last "t."

手洗い (tearai) = Bathroom

Just like toilet, but a little more all-inclusive. You can feel free to use either of these in a pinch, though.

助けて (tasukete) = HELP

Just yell this out and (maybe) someone will come to your aid…

わかりません (wakarimasen) = I don't understand

Someone is speaking to you in Japanese, and they aren't using any of the hundred Japanese words you're learning now. Let them know you don't understand what they're saying with this word. Follow it up with another word on this list: "eigo!" Then they'll know you don't understand and you're asking for English.

やめて! (yamete!) = Stop it!

Maybe somebody is messing with you and you want them to stop (yakuza?). You could say this.

英語 (eigo) = English

Sometimes you just need someone who speaks some English. Even though all Japanese people learn English in school, very few Japanese people are any good at speaking it. Still, it doesn't hurt to try.

服 (fuku) = Clothes

Maybe you're at a hot springs and can't find your clothes. Hey, it's possible.

警察 (keisatsu) = Police

If something really bad happens, these are the people you want to ask for.

危ない (abunai) = Dangerous

You'll see this on signs and stuff. If someone says "abunai" to you, you should probably be careful.

どうして? (doushite?) = Why?

You never know…

なに? (nani) = What?

What!? WHAT!?

時間 (jikan) = Time

Just ask this with an quizzical tone and people will get the drift. Point to your wrist while you're at it. You might want to learn some numbers (keep reading) to understand the answer.

質問 (shitsumon) = Question

Have a question? Let someone know. Couple this with "eigo! eigo!" and maybe someone who can speak some English will come to answer your shitsumon.

だれ (dare) = Who

Great in case you need to know who someone's talking about.