In Japan, death by overwork is so common that they have a word for it, “Karoshi”. Some examples of karoshi are: working 110 hours a week, working 3000 hours a year with no days off in 15 years, working 4320 hours a year, and working 34 hour shifts five times a month.
A Japanese engineer by the name of Shizuo Shinoda accidentally scraped some markings into a road with a bulldozer and drove over them, and realized that it was possible to create tunes depending on the depth and spacing of the grooves. In 2007, the Hokkaido National Industrial Research Institute refined Shinoda’s designs to create the Melody Road. They used the same concept of cutting grooves into the concrete at specific intervals and found the closer the grooves are, the higher the pitch of the sound; while grooves which are spaced farther apart create lower pitched sounds. Today, musical roads are known to exist in six countries: Denmark, Japan, South Korea, the United States of America, Mexico and San Marino.
There is a “white man” café in Tokyo, where Japanese ladies ring a bell to summon tuxedo-wearing caucasians who respond with “yes, princess?” and serve them cake.
Thirteen year old Yoko Moriwaki is known as the “Japanese Anne Frank”. She kept a diary about her life during WWII, which was later published by her brother. She was killed by the atomic bomb in Hiroshima.
The Tokyo subway system employs oshiyas or pushers, workers who literally push commuters into Tokyo’s overcrowded subways and trains.
In 2015, Japan lifted its 67-year old ban on dancing after midnight.
In Japan, fake food (called sampuru from the English “sample”) is a multi-billion yen industry. The replicas, which are made of plastic and typically cost 10 or 20 times the amount of the food they imitate, are mostly handmade by trained artists in an almost century-old tradition.
In Japan, sleeping on the job is encouraged. It is viewed as exhaustion from working hard. Some people even fake it to look committed to their job.
In 1998 and 2001, Japan modified a number of national holidays in order to place them on Mondays and create three day weekends. This is referred to as the Happy Monday System.