5 Things Strangely Popular in Japan

I am not trying to say that Japan is a weird or strange place, I am just saying that from a foreign perspective, these things are not something that I would have expected to be a very popular thing here.


1. Highschool Baseball

Currently, there is a national baseball competition for all the high schools in Japan.  My school came up second in the entire prefecture.  That basically means we are second in the state.  The team that beat our school was defeated during the national competition.  It sounds like something that would not be serious, but it is on like 5 channels all day.  I am pretty sure that in America there is a law that prohibits children from being on national television for profit, but here, I guess it is ok. 


Behind my desk at work, there are teachers watching the tournament on the internet.  They are even cheering.  High school baseball is super serious here.  Much like college football in the states.

2. Bowling

Recently, there was a world bowling championship in which 6 Japanese people were a part of.  I watched it, and it was actually pretty amazing.  One person got a score of 299!  She was getting consistent strikes, then on the last frame, she suddenly had one pin left standing.  It teetered, almost toppling over, yet it held its ground.  You could hear the disappointment in the crowd as she walked away with 299, winning the competition. 


The international bowling competition was on television for about a week.  I watched it every evening.  It was strangely captivating.  At work, and even on the streets, I would overhear conversations about the bowling competitions.  I think it was held in Vietnam this year.


3. Karaoke

I know that karaoke is a Japanese word, well actually it originated from Chinese, but the karaoke we know is from Japan.  Karaoke is a pretty popular thing back home, but not nearly compared to over here.  Karaoke bars are basically on every corner in Japan.  There is a huge one in Maebashi.  And I mean huge.  About the size of your average mall.  It is just filled with rooms for you and your friends to party together and karaoke.  My dad, would probably be out of his mind with excitement with the amount of places to do karaoke.  There are so many parties and gatherings and random get together that almost always involve a karaoke bar.


Now, I have not been to one here, but from what I have heard, they are basically just personal rooms with a private window to order drinks and snacks, or a vending machine.  They even have solo rooms with headphones, so you can do karaoke just yourself.

4. Wearing Socks with Sandals

These socks I am talking about, are not like your average crew or ankle socks.  They are almost like stockings for your feet.  They come in various designs and colors.  I highly recommend you look them up.  It actually doesn’t look half bad.


The reason they wear these socks with their sandals, has mostly to do with their culture.  It is customary for many businesses to have indoor shoes.  Many people wear sandals or various other open toed shoes to work during the summer time, but exposing your toes is considered taboo.  So women will wear these fancy socks while the men will wear just plain crew socks with theirs. 


It is also customary to remove your shoes when entering certain establishments or homes.  Bare feet is just as offensive as showing too much cleavage so they constantly wear socks. So they might as well wear fun socks if they have to wear them constantly.  Although, you can see through a lot of these socks and pantyhose so I am not quite sure why they take offense to bare feet, but hey, it is a different culture.

5. Unnecessarily Wearing Face Masks

Normally, when you see someone wearing a face mask, it is because they are sick, and out of curtesy, they wear this mask to prevent others from also being sick.  Or, they work at a place where they are in constant contact with other people, and are trying to prevent themselves from getting sick.  However, then you have an entire group of people, who just love the face mask look, and will wear them simple as a fashion statement.  They have character masks, flavored masks, scented masks, and even ones that you can attach accessories to.  I haven’t seen so many unnecessary mask wearing in Gunma as I have in Tokyo, but it is still common practice that nobody bats an eye towards.


I hope you have enjoyed my updates thus far.  I will kind of keep posting in this manner, unless something really amazing happens that I want you all to know about.  I figured this type of updating gives people something to read with general interest rather than personal interest.  Leave a comment or send me a message if you feel differently.