Japanese culture, much like Chinese culture, is filled with codes of conduct that can be mind-boggling to many foreigners. Traditionally, great importance is place on “wa,” a concept meaning “group harmony.” The value of individual needs is put behind the value of the common greater good. Japanese people also bestow great value on how they appear in public; the word “omote,” refers to this. Some of the better known Japanese traditions include the annual viewing of cherry blossoms when the vibrant flowers bloom across Japan from March through May.
There are several religious minorities including Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Sikhism. Japanese food comes in a huge array of regional specialties and dishes and is renowned as being some of the healthiest food in the world. The Japanese airline ANA (All Nippon Airways) has themed some of their fleet planes (inside and out) after Star Wars beginning next month. Historical, demographic and cultural differences all directly impact how people communicate, conduct business and build relationships. With some strategic preparation, you can lay the foundation for bridging these differences and for engaging in a successful and mutually rewarding relationship. Japanese culture fascinates and intrigues many people around the world, beckoning them to visit this interesting country. It is common for Western observers of postwar Japan to emphasize its great economic achievement without equal regard to cultural attributes. The Japanese long have been intensely aware of and have responded with great curiosity to powerful outside influences, first from the Asian mainland (notably China) and more recently from the Western world. Prehistoric Japanese culture was exposed to ancient Chinese cultural influences beginning some two millennia ago. Similarly, Chinese urban design was introduced in the layouts of the ancient capital cities of Nara and KyA?to but did not proliferate in the archipelago. The Japanization of introduced cultural elements was greatly accelerated during the 250-year period of near-isolation that ended in the mid-19th century. Western cultural traits have been introduced on a large scale through the schools and the mass communication media. The use of Western dress among the Japanese, in place of the traditional kimono, is widespread, although women tend to wear formal kimonos at celebrations, and both men and women may use casual styles for home wear.
From specific ways of accomplishing tasks to certain distinctions in speaking to individuals of varying ages, Japanese society is filled with a huge range of idiosyncrasies. In Japanese culture, traditional food staples include rice, eaten with miso soup and other regional dishes. However, with the country’s modernization came more and more meat dishes, which today have become an inherent part of Japanese culture. Very few other cultures in the world have such unique conduct, born of ancient beliefs and practices evolved over time into a rare, 21st-century lifestyle.

Most Japanese don't practice one or the other exclusively, rather, they take a combination of the two and practice them both.
In history, traditional dances in Japan date back to the Edo period, in which the customary Odori dance began. Yet Japanese cultural distinctiveness and the manner in which it developed are instructive in understanding how it is that Japan came to be the first and so far only non-Western country to attain great-power status.
Japan has followed a cycle of selectively absorbing foreign cultural values and institutions and then adapting these to existing indigenous patterns, this latter process often occurring during periods of relative political isolation.
One consequence of these influences was the imposition of the gridiron system of land division, which long endured; it is still possible to trace the ancient place-names and field division lines of this system. After the Meiji Restoration, Japan began to modernize and to industrialize on the European and American pattern. Western scientific and technical terms have been widely diffused in translation and have even been reexported to China and Korea.
House construction also has been changed considerably by the introduction of Western architectural forms and functions. Deep, rich history has formed since settlement in 10,000BC into an involved and multi-layered culture that has developed within and formed new facets over many centuries.
The Japanese word “ura” refers to unconventional, informal, and private cultural aspects but only in relationships with family and friends. Buddhism was imported into Japan in the sixth century from the mainland while Shinto is equal in age to Japanese culture itself. Along with the growing popularity of meat came the rise of foreign food, from steaks to hamburgers and fried dumplings to ramen (noodle soup).
The foundations of Japan as it is today directly stem from Japanese religion, which had an enormous influence on everyday life in ancient Japan up to recently. The language reflects the status of both the listener and the speaker as well as the subjects of conversation. In Japanese culture, religious freedom is apparent, and Christianity, Sikhism, Ryukyuan, Islam, and other religions are fully accepted. Mai is a traditional dance originating in Japan's western region, and is another historical dance. Traditional facets such as onsens, tea ceremonies, flower arranging (ikebana), and historical theater are always present, but interwoven with modern technology, modern rock, and some of the most advanced electronics in the world.
Thus, outside influences were assimilated, but the basic sense of Japaneseness was unaffected; for example, Buddhist deities were adopted into the ShintA? pantheon. Chinese writing and many other Chinese developments were introduced in the early centuries ad; the writing system underwent many modifications over the centuries, since it did not fit the Japanese language. In the period since then, the United States generally has exerted a more conspicuous influence on Japanese cultural and social life than has Europe. American and European influences on Japanese culture are in evidence in literature, the visual arts, music, education, science, recreation, and ideology.

Today, many stark contrasts illustrate the rich variety in Japanese culture, from the kimono-clad geisha tip-toeing down the street to an electric pop culture famous around the world. Both religions have co-existed, mostly harmoniously, for centuries and are even complimentary in many respects. Side dishes revolve around pickled vegetables (some of which are very sour), fish, and vegetables prepared in broth. Varying traditional dishes are evident in different regions including Kyoto, Hokkaido, Okinawa, and Osaka. Social manners, customs, beliefs, relationships with nature, and Japanese music all fuse together, illustrating a harmonious society. Japanese contains a huge array of "loanwords," words taken from other languages, especially Chinese. Life-cycle events—such as births, deaths, and marriages—are marked by visiting a Shinto or Buddhist shrine.
There is an endless mutation to Japanese culture that is steadfast and exhibits the signs of being extremely advanced.
Japana€™s effort to modernize quickly in the late 19th and 20th centuriesa€”albeit undertaken at great national and personal sacrificea€”was really an extension of the same processes at work in the country for centuries. Buddhisma€”which originated in India and underwent modification in Central Asia, China, and Korea before reaching Japan about the 6th centurya€”also exerted a profound influence on Japanese cultural life, although over the course of time it was modified profoundly from its antecedent forms. Visual and traditional arts, special social customs, and cosmopolitan cuisine make Japan a stand-out destination. Public bathing at a sento is a tradition stemming from a time when most homes were without bathtubs. This concept of borrowing from other cultures is common throughout Japanese culture in general, as Japan tends to assimilate the best of what the world has to offer and makes it distinctly its own at the same time.
In Japanese religion, festivals mark many important religious periods and are celebrated by a visit to a temple or shrine. Mai, influenced by Noh plays by performers wearing intricately carved masks is more intimate and performed in private rooms rather than in large crowds on stage.
Today, it is still a tradition carried forth and a time for bathing, soaking, and socializing.
Japanese food staples include a variety of noodles such as thick udon and thinner soba, which are eaten with soup and solid food alike.
The art of Japanese gardening has been honed for more than 1,000 years and has gained popularity world-wide. Oden is a type of food that is simmered in broth, and can be anything from fish to vegetables.

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