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Japan is a country about the size of California and has more than twelve million people. The country’s national sport is sumo and the national game is Go. The most famous part of history being that the country waged war on the United States when it bombed Pearl Harbor. Later the war was resolved after the two atomic bombs were dropped on Japan devastating many.
Some facts about Japans geography are that it has four main islands and thousands of minor ones. The four main islands are Kyushu, Shikoku, Honishu and Hokkaido an example of a little island is Okinawa. The climate of Japan is between 16 degrees Fahrenheit and 81 degrees Fahrenheit and gets around forty inches of rain each year. Earthquakes come often in Japan and sometimes generate tsunamis, which are giant tidal waves able to wipe out coastal areas. Typhoons usually come at the end of summer, typhoons are 100 mile per hour winds which cause quite a bit of damage, but also bring rain.
During the 16th century, traders from Portugal, the Netherlands, England, and Spain arrived, as did Christian missionaries. During the early part of the 17th century, Japan's Shogunate, which is multiple shoguns, a shogun was the highest military rank, suspected that they were actually forerunners of a military conquest by European powers and ultimately barred all relations with the outside world except for severely restricted contacts with Dutch and Chinese merchants at Nagasaki this isolation lasted for 251 years, until Commodore Matthew Perry forced the opening of Japan to the West.
The Shogunate was forced to resign, and the emperor was restored to power. The Meiji Restoration of 1868 initiated many reforms. The feudal system was abolished, and numerous Western institutions were adopted, including a Western legal system and government, along with other economic, social and military reforms that transformed Japan into a world power. Japan's new ambitions led to invasion wars that exploited and killed thousands of people in mainland China (1895) and Russia (1905) and led to the annexation by Japan of Korea, Taiwan and other territories.
The early 20th century saw Japan come under increasing influence of an expansionist military, leading to the invasion of Manchuria, a second Sino-Japanese War (1937), and an attack on the US naval base in Pearl Harbor (1941) that brought the United States into World War II. After a long and brutal Pacific campaign, Japan lost Okinawa and was pushed back to the four main islands. Reluctant to launch a full-scale invasion of Japan, the United States obliterated Hiroshima and Nagasaki with two atomic bombs. They killed approximately 130,000 people instantly and with Hirohito's unconditional surrender to the United States on August 15, 1945, sovereignty and independence was restored in Southeastern and Eastern Asia.
A ruined post-war Japan remained under US occupation until 1952; thereafter it embarked on a remarkable economic recovery that returned prosperity to the islands. Okinawa remained under US occupation until 1972 to stabilize East Asia, and a major military presence remains there to this day.
A popular game in Japan is go which is its national game. It was enjoyed by many emperors in Japan. Here’s how you play. A game of Go starts with an empty board, each player has an effectively unlimited supply of stones, one taking the black stones, the other taking white. The basic object of the game is to use one's stones to form territories by surrounding vacant areas of the board it is also possible to capture the opponent's stones by completely surrounding them. The players take turns placing one of their stones on a vacant point at each turn. Black plays first and the stones are placed on the intersections of the lines rather than in the squares. Once they are played stones are not moved, however they may be captured in which case they are removed from the board and kept by the capturing player as prisoners. At the end of the game the players count one point for each vacant point inside their own territory, and one point for every stone they have captured. The player with the larger total of territory plus prisoners is the winner!
Another cultural aspect peculiar to Japan is an alcoholic beverage known as Sake which is an alcoholic beverage peculiar to Japan. Its history is very long, dating back to the around 200 A.D. when literature recorded the manner and custom of taking Sake. Just the way it takes a special kind of grape to produce a good wine, making excellent Sake requires the use of a special type of rice. You need high starch content in the core of each grain to make sake. According to Encarta, it is a Japanese alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice and usually served warm. The drink called habu sake has a habu snake stuffed into the bottle for flavoring and is made from the venom of the snake. The alcohol in the sake takes away the poison from the venom making it safe to drink. The snakes however aren’t lucky at all. They are bled and gutted on ice when they are asleep and can attack after a few seconds when they wake up.
If you ever decide to travel to Japan there are things you have to know about manners.
When you enter a house take off you’re shoes and put the provided slippers on, although most of the time the Japanese will tolerate some of the manners you don’t have because you are foreign, but you have to follow this one.
Don’t stick you’re chopsticks vertically in you’re bowl; this is only done at funerals.
When you are going out to eat, slurp your noodles and bring your bowl to your mouth when you eat, this shows the chef that you enjoy what they made.
Bow when you first meet somebody, this is a sign of respect.
A popular Japanese entertainment, manga, is seen almost everywhere in Japan. The word manga according to Encarta translated from Japanese literally means whimsical sketches. Manga are the worlds most published type of comic books. Manga are black and white graphic novels that were made in Japan. The manga have a certain style of drawing especially in the eyes. Manga eyes are exaggerated as are most of their features. To make the eyes make two parallel lines and bending the top twice and the bottom none or one at the side leaving two spaces between the two lines. Then you add the iris and pupil, all of the iris isn’t usually shown at one time unless the character is wide eyed. There sometimes appear in manga little characters called SD’s which stands for super deformed characters they are called super deformed because their hands cant go over their heads. SD’s are usually added as little short stories inside the novel itself.