Japan’s population is over 124m, 75% of whom live in urban areas like Tokyo, Yokohama, Kawasaki, Osaka and Nagoya. With such densely populated cities, space is precious and land prices extremely high.
Most city workers have office jobs and are known as salary men or OL (office ladies). Management is hierarchical and the work ethic strict, with overtime assumed. In fact, leaving on time suggests a lack of commitment or loyalty. Nevertheless, people enjoy a high standard of living.
Housing is typically apartments or ‘mansions’ as they are known to the Japanese. More traditional style homes, with straw mats (tatami mats) and futons, can be found in the suburbs, while western style housing (with tables and chairs!) are becoming more popular in rural towns.
Transport to and from work is by train. For this reason, rush hour in Tokyo and other major cities can be unbearable for foreign visitors, best to avoid the popular train lines during these hours (7am – 9.30am / 5 – 6.30pm). The highly efficient network of trains and subways, make traveling around Japan a pleasure and are by far the best way to get around. Once you find your bearings, you’ll be fine!