Japanese Cultural Exploration: We Are into the Woods in Japan

Two images are combined. The images of cars parked in Japan and somewhere outside Japan.
Source: https://www.wowneta.jp/news-read/22854.html

Necessity is the mother of geographical characteristics

As you can see it in the above left image, Japan is a country of backward parking. Even speeding drivers follow the rule. Do you know why that is? Some people outside Japan may think there’s no difference between forward and backward parking. It may look like putting off trouble later or not, but actually there’s a big difference. In the first place, if it’s just a matter of personal preference, the ratio should be nearly fifty-fifty. The fact is very simple. It’s easier to park backward in a small country like Japan. I don’t explain here the details why backward parking is easier in a small area, but it is clear from the fact that forklift trucks required to turn in a small radius are rear-wheel steering.

The map of Japan archipelago
Source: https://www.restec.or.jp/gallery/2982

Japan is a forest country

I may have been misleading you in the above paragraph. Japan’s land area is not that small. It’s ranked as #61 among more than 190 countries in the world. The problem is about 70% of the land consist of forest. If it’s compared by population density in inhabitable area, Japan is ranked as #10. Japan’s abundant forest resources make our inhabitable area smaller and develop our unique culture, like backward-parking and so much more.

The table showing the land area and population density of four countries: Russia, Canada, China, and Japan.
A bench that looks like a sofa as well, upholstered in the gray fabric.

Due to a small inhabitable area, we have improved a lot of techniques to use limited spaces effectively. The good example is two-in-one inventions, like one of our products “ALP sofa.” It can be used as both a living seat and a dining bench. In a sense, what created and has grown the long-selling wooden sofa is Japan’s abundant forest resources, directly and indirectly. I think such a spirit of rationality is always seen somewhere in our products.

Shungo Ijima

He is travelling around the world. His passion is to explain Japan to the world, from the unique viewpoint accumulated through his career: overseas posting, MBA holder, former official of the Ministry of Finance.