Home Diaries Nepal and Japan: Similarities and Differences in Culture

Nepal and Japan: Similarities and Differences in Culture

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It’s been a month I returned to Nepal from the very beautiful land, Japan and I do miss every moment spent there. I am so fortunate to witness the beauty of the place, hospitality and a sense of gratitude and respect they have for the mankind. I call Japan as my second home, as I spent more time exploring the country, interacting with people and trying new foods, as a whole enjoying.

During my stay, there were lots of things I experienced, and I am glad to share through this writing.  There were many similarities and differences between Nepal and Japan.
Before the visit, I had many conceptions along with some misconceptions regarding Japan. I heard people in developed countries are workaholic and they don’t care about anything else, but people were caring and welcoming. Wherever I went, they asked me about my country and they were so much interested to hear from me.

There is a striking difference between the two countries. Nepal is a land-locked country, whereas Japan is a sea-locked archipelago composed of 6,852 islands. Japan’s territorial area of 377,944 sq. kms is more than double of Nepal and 126 million population is almost five times bigger. Japan is a highly developed and rich country whereas Nepal, with considerable natural resources, is waiting for speedy economic development. However, these both countries are the world in itself.

I heard many people sharing their experience of visiting Nepal. Many Japanese have told me that when they visit Nepal, it would remind them of the old days of Japan. Some said visiting Nepal reminded them of their home town. Going back to Nepal for them is going back and travelling to the old days of Japan. Japanese see there are so many similarities between people of Japan and Nepal. So, they have a great affection and love for Nepal and Nepalese culture. When they first visit Nepal, lovely mountains attract them. Once Japanese come to visit, they fall in love with people and culture and come back again and again. I also met people who said they visited Nepal forty or fifty times and their quest to visit Nepal continues. Japanese have a great and great love for Nepalese people for the hard work Nepalese have been doing. Japanese have great fondness for people of Nepal.

Both Nepal and Japan are mountainous countries. Our culture is very close. Even some of the words are very similar. Nepal shares culture, people and religion with Japan. Many Japanese follow Buddhism and they also know that Nepal is a land of Gautam Buddha. They have a special respect for Nepal. Japanese have also been enchanted by the culture. Japan is technically a very highly developed country and they have lots of cultural mysteries. This is the thing they like to see in Nepal. It is not the regular tourists, mountaineers or photographers, even film stars and television stars come here to explore the mysteries in Nepal.

Some culture were really different and unique that I realized. The Japanese people always put family on top like Nepalese people. Likewise, they also have a good family understanding and care among themselves. The natural beauty of Japan is really mesmerizing like in Nepal, with hills, terrace, slopes, and even magnificent mountains. The people are very hardworking and sincere and everything runs in system. In addition to this, the students in Japan are really hardworking and punctual. Even the food culture is different. We eat homemade food. We spend 1 hour to cook the food and 15 minutes to finish them. But In Japan, the family brings readymade cooked food from convenience store, warm it and eat it taking an hour. Likewise, Japanese people has the culture of taking bath at night before going to sleep. I questioned them the reason behind it, and they said that bathing at night before going to bed, not just makes them clean but also believed that will protect their wealth. I find it interesting.

Not just the culture, but the placement of the words and sentences in their language is also similar like the Nepalese order. I learnt basic Japanese before going, and that was truly helpful for me. I loved their culture of saying the word- “Itadakimas” before eating. Likewise, they use the word, “Aregatougozaimas” means Thankyou quiet frequently.

We cannot beat Japan in terms of infrastructures, but the heart of both people is similar. Between Technology and Development, lies a long laid history of Japan. That’s really inspiring.  And there are different things that we can learn from them. We can learn to respect people, a culture of gratitude, and also punctuality. They value time and that’s the best learning I got in Japan.

I recommend everyone to visit Japan once in their lifetime. You will unleash yourself and you will surely love this place.

  • Saru Pyakurel