In the shadow of Mt. Fuji, the cultural traditions of emperors, shoguns, geishas, and sumo wrestlers blend with the more modern popularity of nightlife and dining out. The young and the old feast on sushi, teriyaki, sukiyaki, tempura, and sashimi, while they wash down these delicacies with green tea and sake as they take-in trendsetting Tokyo nightlife. Welcome to Japan, where tradition meets modernity!
After its defeat in WWII, Japan recooperated to become a strong economic power as well as an ally of the United States. The country’s economy has seen unprecedented growth over the past few decades, thanks in part to Japanese ideals of a strong work ethic, coupled with a mastery of high technology. In fact, Japan ranks as the second-most technologically-powerful economy after the United States. One thing that makes Japan so unique is that it successfully retains its Eastern culture, but employs Western technology at the same time. Japanese technology is so advanced that the country owns nearly 60% of the world’s robots, and is one of world’s largest and most advanced producers of automobiles.
While Japan is geographically smaller than the state of California, its economy ranks as the third largest in the world after the economies of the United States and China respectively. With the incentive of a guarantee of lifetime employment, a large percentage of laborers in Japan’s economic system have job security. Crop yields, which are among the highest in the world, help to propel Japan’s economic and trade success. In addition, Japan boasts one of world’s largest fishing fleets, which proves capable of catching roughly 15% of the world’s fish. Therefore, any student interested in Pacific Rim trade, international business opportunities, or high technology would greatly benefit from study abroad in Japan. In Japan, students can make the necessary connections for launching their careers, as well as get background knowledge about the business practices and strategies used by Japan’s top companies.
Aside from its economy, Japan is a stable and highly developed country with a parliamentary democracy. Emperor Akihito represents a more modern ruler than in decades past, proving that he’s more akin to the European-style of rulers than he is to a demi-god. Japanese influence is being felt strongly through Asia and Australia, as the nation represents one of the world’s great powers in the international body known as the G8, making it a major player on the world’s stage. A student interested in the politics of Asia, international relations, or world affairs should take advantage of the opportunities that study abroad in a country like Japan provides.
Crime in Japan is well below the U.S. national average. Tourists and travelers alike refer to Japan as one of the safest and cleanest countries in the world, and say that the people are among the most friendly and helpful. Despite its reputation as the most seismically active areas on planet, earthquakes and other natural disasters like typhoons are not a deterrent for citizens or visitors. In fact, they may provide students interested in the sciences a unique experience to explore the natural phenomenon that take place on Japan and in its waters, as well as study the effects these global events have flora, fauna, people, and the world’s climate.
As a cultural presence, Japan has become a very real part of life in the United States and around the world, yet most people know very little about it. Studying in Japan will give you an opportunity to learn more about the meaning and history behind origami, bonsai, bunraku, ikebana, kabuki, poetry, tea and ukiyo-e (traditional paintings). If your interest lies more on the historical side, Japan’s tumultuous history spans the birth and decline of shoguns and samurai, the spread of Buddhism and Shintoism, and the emergence of legends like the Kamikaze (The Divine Wind), Kintaro, and Raiden. Art and culture even extend to food – professional sushi chefs train for years, sometimes ten or more, before they are deemed masters in their craft. If you’re looking for a place that has made a successful transition from the old to the new, yet maintains a very strong hold to its history and traditions, Japan is the place for you.