It’s all in the name
The Japanese call Japan ‘Nippon’ or ‘Nihon’, meaning ‘sun origin’. Japanese mythology says that they, and their country, are descended from a sun goddess which explains the origin of their name and the phrase “Land of the rising sun”.
Westerners call it Japan because it uses the same pronunciation as the Chinese characters ‘sun origin’.
A can of sardines
Japan is made up of 7,000 islands and adds up to an area a little larger than Germany. With its 127 million inhabitants, the population is only 41% of that of the United States.
Now cram that 41% of the population of the U.S into 25% of Germany, and you have a more accurate picture of living in Japan.
A whopping five-sixths of Japan is uninhabitable because it is so mountainous. The remaining one-sixth is mostly on the coast but is still mostly uninhabitable due to there being nothing but roads and factories. So where do people live?
The Japanese live on top of each other.
Of my two years living in Tokyo, I have yet to find a moment of solitude out in the open. I have a feeling I’ll be looking for a long time…