Skyscrapers illuminated by neon lights. Tatami mats in a ryokan. Steam rising from an onsen bath. A futuristic robot restaurant. A tea ceremony in an old Kyoto house... Japan is very different from any other country you've visited.
Inspired to visit the Land of the Rising Sun after watching BBC4’s The Art of Japanese Life which saw art historian, Dr James Fox, examine the art and culture of Japan? For a true taste of Japanese life, read on…
Sing, sing, sing
Forget kabuki (stylised Japanese theatre) and kimonos (traditional Japanese robed). It’s karaoke that Japan goes gaga about.
While, in the west, karaoke commonly evokes images of raucous hen parties where scantily clad women boozily belt out Britney, Bon Jovi and off-key renditions of Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive, in Japan karaoke is big among businessmen, teenage girls in their gym-slips and their grandmothers at the other end of the age spectrum alike. Make no mistake, you can’t escape karaoke: you’ll find branches of major chains - take a bow Big Echo and Karaoke-kan - in every major city.
Get stuck into sushi…
By all means but, in actual, fact sushi is generally more of a treat for most Japanese as opposed to the makings of their every-day meals. Other Japanese dishes to try include okonomiyaki, ramen, curry rice, donburi and yakitori and the best place to try them is often, and bizarrely, at a shopping centre. Go ahead: treat your tastebuds.