This blog is mainly a collection of the questions I have had or heard since I arrived in Japan eight ago that I have found plausible, interesting and/ or amusing explanations to from reading, speaking to people or my own pondering. For some reason, almost all of the questions start with “Why..?” or “How…?”

The philosophy of JapanExplained is that any explanation is better than none (as it stops the “Are these people crazy?” response to cultural difference) and that many explanations are better than one.

If you have your own questions or pet theories, please leave a comment after any entry.

Please also have a look at my other Japan themed blogs Kanto with Kids, QuoteJapan and Tips for Brits in Tokyo and my English teaching (mainly in Japan) themed blog TEFLtastic.


  1. leona said,

    November 16, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    your site is truly amazing.i have no idea how i got so drawn towards japanese arts,culture ,language etc.so i was searching everywere for people’s opinions on japanese culture .that’s when i stumbled upon your site.it has explained almost every aspect of japan that i wanted to know.
    seriously you have put in a lot of effort in expressing as well as explaining your thoughts .truly incredible work done by you!!!
    oh by the way i am an indian fan of japan
    good job!!!!!!1

  2. Hope Azzopardi said,

    November 7, 2010 at 1:59 am

    why is japanese food so popular?

  3. Jenny Hones said,

    May 28, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    Hi Ben,
    I came across your blog and find your questions and curiosity of Japan so refreshing! I too write a blog on Asian/Japanese culture. I’m Japanese American who grew up in Tokyo and share many of the points you address. I’d like to put you on my blogroll. If you have the chance please check out my blog http://AsianLifestyleDesign.com/
    Keep it up! Love it!

  4. Jenny Hones said,

    May 28, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    Oh Sorry, I realize you are not Ben! You’re Alex! my apologies.

  5. Vidhya said,

    September 28, 2012 at 2:37 pm


    What a wonderful site. Im so fan of Japan manga’s (Naruto, soul eater, one piece, Dragon ball, Fairy tail, Bleach) , decided that I wanted to know everything about Japan. I landed on your page after few searches and never visited other site for any Japanese life style or other information. Truly awesome site to become Japanese. I havent read all your artticles but would be interested to see more info on tourism on your page.

  6. Sara said,

    October 31, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    My sistter came from Japan She was simply exousted from the non stop smiling culture robotic type of behavior where one can not simply express themselves emotionaly locked society and one of the most perverted. The supressed robotic life is super unhealthy and many are depressed, the culture has flourished from warrior clans samurai hence not much warmth emnelops such civilization, lots of weird rules that do not have any logical or religious explenation. Did you know that drinking water on the street is concidered offensive.

  7. adaphobic said,

    March 12, 2014 at 10:32 am

    I am fascinated by your site. I have one question that’s need an explanation about Japanese girls. I can’t find the answer is your previous posts. I am currently living in Japan and when I’m outside, I do sometimes see Japanese girls who will look at me shortly then will look away with their face disgusted. Like there’s something wrong in my body.

    I am completely puzzled by these kind of women. I am dressed up perfectly normal and don’t see anything wrong with the way I carry myself. But why do you think such women would feel disgusted? Do they think I’m ugly? Or are they just insecure of themself because I’m prettier than them? Hahaha what? Please explain.

  8. alexcase said,

    March 14, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    I don’t think it’s either jealousy or disgust! Having pondered the question, here’s what I reckon is the most likely explanation:
    – It’s happens everywhere to a certain extent, but a lot of Japanese people, especially girls, have a smile on their faces as they walk down the street. If they find you staring at them or, especially, making eye contact, they will often turn that neutral smile face off. That can look like annoyance or disgust, but I think it is rarely either of them.

    • adaphobic said,

      March 15, 2014 at 4:23 am

      The thing is, I never even stare at them. I guess it’s being insecure or something unexplainable between girls. Lol. That’s why Japanese are really weird.

  9. alexcase said,

    March 15, 2014 at 11:20 am

    You probably don’t realise it, but if you think about it, how could you possibly catch what you think is disgust in their faces without making eye contact?

    • adaphobic said,

      March 15, 2014 at 12:23 pm

      From my peripheral view

      • alexcase said,

        March 16, 2014 at 4:57 am

        Have it your own way – I doubt someone who can happily use the racist phrase “The Japanese are weird” really wants an explanation anyway. Also, if you honestly think you can see lots of disgusted reactions in your peripheral vision, maybe you should be more worried about your own mental health.

  10. Mike Page said,

    April 29, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    Hello Alex,
    Very informative blog. Would you ever consider reviewing Japanese language books? As you actually live in Japan, you can offer a very unique perspective to your readers. My company, Tuttle Publishing makes some of the most popular Japanese language learning books and I’d love to send you one or more (for free of course) to take a look at. Book reviews make for great posts :)
    Please let me know what you think. Here’s our books


    • alexcase said,

      May 5, 2014 at 9:34 am

      Hi Mike

      A complete review wouldn’t really match the formats of this blog, but if it could answer some “Why” or “What the Japanese really mean” questions, I could add the explanations to those pages with a link to the book. Sound okay?

  11. Mike Page said,

    May 5, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Hi Alex,
    Thanks for your reply. That sounds good to me. Any exposure is positive. Do you have any particular books in mind or should I select a few?

    Also, please email me your JP mailing address (mpage@tuttlepublishing.com)


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