is a long, narrow chain of islands that stretches somewhat
like a bow in a northwesterly direction in the Pacific
Ocean on the eastern edge of the Eurasian continent. It
lies at about the same latitudes as northern Africa, southern
Europe and the U.S. mainland, its southernmost point being
at about 20 degrees north latitude and its northernmost
point at about 46 degrees north latitude. Japan covers
a total land area of about 378,000 sq. km and stretches
2,500 km from north to south. It comprises four main islands:
Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu, plus the Ryukyu
Islands (Okinawa) and many other smaller islands. Honshu
is divided into five regions, which are, from the north,
Tohoku, Kanto, Chubu, Kinki and Chugoku. About three-quarters
of Japan's land area consists of mountains and hills,
and the amount of flat land available for cultivation
and urban development is limited. Nearly 130 million people
live in this confined area.
Japan lies almost at the center of a temperate zone, it
is generally mild, but seasonal changes are distinct.
Spring and autumn are usually quite pleasant, but in summer
(July-August) seasonal winds blow from the Pacific making
it hot and humid, and in winter (December-February) seasonal
winds blow from the continent making it quite cold. Apart
from Hokkaido, rainfall is high around the month of June,
which is known as the rainy season. Because ranges of
mountains run lengthwise along the center of Honshu, there
are pronounced regional differences in climate. Hokkaido
and the Japan Sea side of Honshu have heavy snowfalls
in winter. Taking advantage of these changes in climate,
people can enjoy many different kinds of leisure activities
throughout the year.
dishes consist mainly of rice, together with vegetables,
fish or meat, but Western and Chinese meals are popular.
Recently, a wide variety of cuisine from all over the
world is available. Thanks to Japan's rich water resources
and excellent hygienic facilities, tap water is safe to
drink throughout the country.
culture today is extremely diverse. It is not unusual
for young women to learn traditional arts like the tea
ceremony and flower arrangement, and then head straight
for watching sports. The same goes for the urban landscape,
in which old temples and shrines stand side by side with
towering skyscrapers. Japanese culture consists of a fascinating
mixture of old and new, Eastern and Western. Although
developed media carries information widely throughout
Japan and new trends spread in moments, the inherited
culture such as life-styles rooted in each region and
traditional events retain their local color together with
the same is true of industry. Traces of Japan's agricultural
past remain, even though a rapid process of industrialization
during the last century has turned Japan into one of the
world's most advanced industrial countries.
universities, research can be undertaken in a whole spectrum
of fields, ranging from electronic engineering to international
Japan - a country where ancient traditions and advanced
technologies blend to create a stimulating environment.
What a place to study!