Japan's geography is a narrow and long shape from Hokkaido to Okinawa. Therefore, the climates and mentality of the residents are different based on each prefecture.
Their well-known thought process has slowly formed over time and nurture into the following generation. You can know the residents’ attitude from this series and it might help you to understand the prefecture more in order to make your trip smoother. This series of articles will make you understand the real local information in Japan, in this volume, we are going to introduce you to Kyoto which has more than 1,200 years of history.
Beware if someone praises you?!
For example, if some restaurant staff asks you, “You smell so nice! Where did you get this perfume?” you should understand this statement as “Please don’t use such a strong fragrant perfume when visiting my restaurant!” and reconsider whether your perfume is suitable for this situation. If the restaurant staff told you, “Your kids are so energetic! Is so good to have energetic kids!”, they might intend to tell you “You should keep your kids quiet! Why didn’t you teach your kids!”. It may be quite difficult for foreigners to understand this.
Do not serve home cooking dishes for your guests
There is a culture that serving the guest homecooked food is impolite. Instead of cooking themselves, they will call a food caterer to serve their guest. Therefore, there are many catering specialty shops that inherit traditional cooking skills in Kyoto, which could prepare colorful and entertaining assortments. There are even some shops that provide the service to cook in your kitchen, and freshly prepare the food for you on the spot.
"How about Bubuzuke?" means "Please go back home soon"
Bubuzuke means Ochazuke(Tea mixed rice). When you're visiting someone's house in Kyoto and being told “How about some Bubuzuke?”, you will never get served with the bubuzuke no matter how long you wait for it. This is a word to hint at "Please go back home soon." If you don’t know the meaning and keep waiting for the host to serve you with the real “Bubuzuke”, they might take it as an offense that you do not know the underlying meaning. There is even a Rakugo (traditional phrase) to laugh at the people who didn’t catch this meaning such as “laughing at the shade”, etc. However, there is a rumor saying that it is just an urban legend.
Mysterious Address Signage
The address signage in Kyoto's towns is quite unique and many foreigners always get confused about it. You might see the address showing, “go up, go down, go West, go East” which you couldn’t find in other prefectures. Actually “go up” means head North. The road in Kyoto is constructed in the direction of North, South, East, West, and named with the traffic lights at each junction. Therefore, once you know to “go up, go down, go West and Go East” and the name of the building, then for sure you won’t get lost on your way to the destination.
Are you serious? It is colder than Canada in winter and hotter than Malaysia during summer?!
Kyoto is a place which is surrounded by narrow mountains. In the summer, the surrounding mountains become walls to block the air from going in and out, which directly causes the hot air to be captured and causes higher temperatures in Kyoto. On the other hand, in the winter, cold air will be blocked in Kyoto, which causes cold weather in Kyoto. However, it directly leads to the blooming of beautiful cherry blossoms in Kyoto, and the place which we could feel the season changes extremely with our skin and body.
There are a lot of "prefectural characteristics" that cannot be accepted and believed in other prefectures in Japan. Please look forward to the next volume of this series! Next article, we are going to introduce Nara Prefecture which is famous for its many cute deers!
Please tell us your impressions and comment in the comment column on the right. If there is any prefecture you wish to understand further, kindly let us know!