All around the world: Japan

Since we can’t travel personally to Japan, I’m going to bring Japan to you.
Japan is an island country lying off the east coast of Asia. Inside is filled with a different language and culture.


The Japanese language is very unique within itself and it’s the same difficulty level as a Japanese person trying to learn English, and vice versa. 

Unlike English Japan has 3 types of alphabets that make up the language 

  • Hiragana
  • Katakana 
  • Kanji 

I’m currently learning Japanese and let me tell you, it is a good challenge especially Kanji. 

Each type of alphabet has a different use for example

Hiragana is a Japanese syllabary. The word hiragana means “ordinary” or “simple”. Every Hiragana symbol has a sound and it’s repetitive, makes it easy to memorize.

Ex. りんご (Ringo) Meaning: Apple

Katakana is another Japanese syllabary, but a little different from Hiragana, they both use the same sound but in Katakana the symbols are different, it’s mostly used for words imported from foreign countries.

Ex. コーヒー (Kōhī) Meaning: Coffee

Kanji are symbols that make-up a word they aren’t sounds that make words like hiragana and Katakana. Kanji originated in China, they are similar to Chinese characters. Japan changed them a bit to fit in the Japanese writing system. Kanji is way more difficult to master because there’s over 50,000 kanji’s in the language, thankfully you need to know about 2,000 kanji to be fluent.

The kanji “alphabet” is made up of a system of 216 radicals. These radicals are the building blocks of every single kanji, once you learn the radicals, Kanji will become easier over time.

Ex. 雨 (ame) Meaning: Rain


Japanese culture was influenced from ancient times to the Middle Ages primarily by multiple Chinese dynasties and a lesser extent by other Asian countries. 


There are two main religions in Japan: Shinto and Buddhism. Shinto is a Japanese religion, while Buddhism was imported in the 6th century from China.  




Mount Fuji is a symbol of Japan and it easily recognizable –

Shibuya Crossing is the busiest road crossing in Tokyo. –

Arashiyama bamboo grove – The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is one of Kyoto’s top sights. 


The two main staples of the Japanese diet: Rice which is prepared either boiled or steamed and served at every meal along with noodles which are prepared in many varieties. The most popular noodle dish is Soba, Udon, and Ramen.  

Soba – thin brown noodles made from buckwheat flour

Udon – thick white noodles made from wheat flour

Ramen – thin, curly noodles, also made from wheat flour

In Japan, it’s very common to eat from bento boxes. 

These are a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal of Japanese origin. 

The word bento also originates from the Chinese word “biàndāng,” meaning convenient, that connects to the bento meal and box itself. 

It’s all about having nutritious and convenient meals at any time. In the 1980s the popularity of bento boxes being well known and due to the increase in demand, they started being sold at convenience stores, train stations, airports, shops, and restaurants. Now they are in schools, are still used by many workers, students as a packed lunch. 

Example of a really cute bento box!

Exploring the world is fun even if you can’t be there, learning about different cultures and maybe planning a trip in the future. ➵ Next adventure we’ll explore life in Australia! Stay tuned!