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Japan Project Text

Posted by Jay Williams on June 2, 2013 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Japan Report




This is my Ap Human Geography country report that has been modified for public view (I took personal information and most personal opinions out). Written by me, a 9th grade student. That being said, no copyright infringements intended if certain phrases or statements were too close to original (I got a bit lazy here and there, but at the end there will be a few [lol, few...] links to some of the sites I used and/or looked at.) Enjoy, I hope it helps you or informs you about the wondrous world of Japan!


Japan is located off the coast of East Asia and sits as an island on the China Sea and the Sea of Japan. There are many mountains in Japan, as well as about 6,850 islands that are spread out around the main landform. These main islands are Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Okinawa, and Kyushu. Japan has only one time zone, most likely because of its relatively vertical position and elongated shape. To get to Japan from St. Johns, Florida, one would have to travel either northeast over Africa and Asia or northwest over the United States and the Pacific Ocean.

While some people claim that the capital of Japan is Kyoto, located in northeastern Shikoku, the generally accepted capital city of Japan is Tokyo, located in southeastern Honshu. The reason for this dispute is because, while the title of the capital city was legally transferred to Kyoto, such an edict has not been provided for the transfer of the title from Kyoto to Tokyo. This historical confusion leads to the thoughts that, because the transfer to Kyoto (at the time known as Heian-kyō) was valid and there was not one for Tokyo, Kyoto is still the capital of Japan. There are even some who say that both Tokyo and Kyoto are capitals of Japan at the same time. In the country’s laws, however, there seems to have been a “capital area” set up that includes Tokyo and the ‘outlying regions designated by cabinet order.’ While this clearly defines Tokyo as the capital of Japan, it still has not been explicitly stated as fact, and some might argue the point that Tokyo is designated as a ‘metropolis’ and may not legally be a city at all, regardless of the worldwide view.


The five biggest cities in Japan are (from bigger to smaller) Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya, and Sapporo. With the exception of Sapporo, which is located in southern Hokkaido, the major cities are relatively close to one another. Kyoto, Osaka, and Nagoya are all within 100 miles of each other, and about that length is where Yokohama and Tokyo sit side by side. These cities are probably so close together because the main islands are the general center of Japan, holding the most population in comparison to the remaining islands off the coasts. To travel between the main islands, or ‘regions,’ one would most likely use a form of public transportation, such as a train or bus system.

Much of Japan is covered in forestry. On the southern islands of Japan, there are subtropical plants, but most of Japan’s plants consist of broad-leaf and needle trees, with the occasional grove of bamboo. Some of the more common trees include beech, oak, pine, spruce, and maple, as well as hinoki (Japanese cypress) and sugi (Japanese cedar, but not related to the actual cedar). Hinoki and sugi are used for construction, and the wood is not only strong but fragrant and resistant to rotting and insect attacks. Some crops native to Japan are cabbage, horenso (spinach), negi (leek, green onion), tomato, rice, and kyuri (cucumber), among many others.

Animals inhabiting the forests and woods of Japan include foxes, wild boar, and deer. Wolves that once inhabited Japan died about 100 years ago. However, the famous tanuki, sometimes known as raccoon dogs, are still native to Japan. Tanuki are portrayed as shape-changers who like to ‘eat huge meals and drink enormous quantities of sake and then pay with money that turns to leaves after the tricksters have made their escape.’ (Sake refers to an alcoholic beverage of Japanese origin that is made from fermented rice) Some animals raised in Japan for food include fish and cows.

The early settlers of Japan are hard to pinpoint because of the country’s quiet history. Supposedly, the early settlers came from Siberia, Korea, and maybe portions of China. Land bridges and simple boats are among the ideas for how the early settlers got to the islands. The early settlement of Japan can be traced back to 30,000 BC. The islands were probably fairly attractive for their fishing opportunities, along with mountainous terrain that might have proven good for hunting.



The main type of money used in Japan is the Japanese yen. One Japanese yen is equal to about .01 US dollar, or a cent. One US dollar would be rounded to about 102.38 yen. Looking at this, it can be seen that the value of a US cent is only a small amount more than a yen.

The kinds of natural resources in Japan include oil, copper, iron ore, lead, and zinc. These are used for export and fuel. Some major industries in Japan are automobile manufacturing, computer industry, electronics, food, and machinery. Through intensive cultivation, Japan can produce its main agricultural crop; rice.

While Japan is the world’s 3rd largest economy, it now has the worst debt in the world. As of May 2012, it was 960 trillion yen (averaged equivalent of about $12 trillion). However, Japan’s debt is mostly owed to the Japanese people for government bonds (95% of its debt is held domestically). The Japanese government owes each citizen in Japan about 7.5 million yen. This major economic problem is caused by the borrowing of money from citizens in Japan and the decline in customers willing and able to buy Japanese exports. Japan also imports many (typically expensive) raw materials like oil and wood from China and the USA. Recently, only 33.2% of the population lives in rural areas, and the citizens in urban regions usually work in factories for the major exports of automobiles and electronics. Despite this, Japan’s economy seems to be generally healthy. Japanese children are usually well educated and are beginning to learn English, which will help them to get powerful jobs, and the rate of unemployment is 4.1%. Japan is still well known for automobiles and technology in China and the USA, its top export customers. It is because of these facts that Japanese economy looks to be gradually growing, or at least not backtracking.



While the emperor of Japan is chosen by the imperial line that has been unbroken since 660 BC, the other political leaders of Japan are elected by direct vote of the people. Everyone over the age of 20 have the right to vote. The current emperor of Japan is Akihito, and the Prime Minister is Shinzo Abe. The Chief of Cabinet Secretary is Yoshihide Suga. Because the Japanese don’t have a military, all Japanese are civilians, and therefore all can be a candidate for a place in the Japanese parliamentary cabinet system. While there are 50 chiefs of state and cabinet members of foreign governments, some to be recognized may include the minister of defense, Itsunori Onodera, the minister of finance, Taro Aso, the minister of foreign affairs, Fumio Kishida, the governor of the Bank of Japan, Haruhiko Kuroda, and the Ambassador to the US, Kenichiro Sasae. The Emperor, like the President of the US, is supposed to receive foreign dignitaries, but that’s pretty much the limit to the similarities. The Emperor of Japan used to reign as a god/king, but since 1868 when the Japanese surrender ended WWII, the Emperor has been severely limited in power and decision making opportunities. In general, one could say that the government of Japan is a constitutional monarchy where the power of the Emperor is very limited, power is held chiefly by the Prime Minister of Japan and other elected members of the ‘Diet’ (the "highest organ of state power," and the "sole law-making organ of the State"), and cities are self-governing units administered independently of larger jurisdictions within which they are located.

Japan, to most, probably looks to be a good place to live. Their government is ‘a parliamentary government with a constitutional monarchy,’ and it seems that Japanese citizens have complete voting rights with the exception of the chance to vote on Japanese Emperor. However, as the Emperor has extremely limited power in these days, it would not be an economic downfall if a poor heir were enthroned. While Japan was a bit isolated up until relatively recently, it currently has good economic relations with other countries such as the US and China. Export and import is very important to Japan, and it seems that it’s doing fine with such developed countries.



The most important event that happened in Japanese history was probably the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki that most likely lead to the establishment of the new, American-style democracy. This establishment changed the whole country and how gave citizens new found political freedom and freedom from absolute monarchy.

Up until recently, the Japanese were peaceful and isolated. However, recent archaeological research has uncovered traces of wars as far back as the Jomon period (10,000-300 BC) between tribes on the Japanese Archipelago. Some believe that shortly after 250 AD, horse riders from the Korean Peninsula invaded southern Kyushu and spread all the way to northern Honshu. This invasion introduced horse-riding and iron tools to the Japanese islands.

In a much more recent war, World War II, Japan invaded China (1937). The Japanese captured the former Japanese imperial capital of Beijing. This was after the Marco Polo Bridge Incident (an accidental battle between the Japanese and Chinese armies, opening the Sino-Japanese War. The Japanese army managed to take the bridge and eventually Beijing which was abandoned by Kuomintang, or the “Nationalist Party of China”) was instigated, and the Japanese campaign to invade all of China was cultivated. However, the Japanese only needed to outlast the Americans. It would be impossible to invade mainland US, and except for their Navy and air planes the Japanese Army had extremely poor and faulty weapons and equipment.

The main religions in Japan are (with the exception of ‘atheism’) Shinto and Buddhism. The most important holiday in Japan is January 1st, Shogatsu (New Year’s). This holiday is designated as a national holiday, and many businesses remain closed through January 3rd. Families host parties, sometimes called ‘year-forgetting parties,’ where they enjoy each other’s company and forget the troubles of the year. Like most other culture’s New Year, the Japanese see the next year as a clean slate, where they can leave all their worries behind and start again refreshed. Usually, clothes and homes are cleaned; there are decorations of bamboo and pine. Also, it is a custom to serve soba noodles (toshikoshi soba, buckwheat noodles), symbolizing longevity. For the Japanese, January 1st is best started by viewing the New Year’s first sunrise (hatsu-hinode), representing the year to be left behind. The day is supposed to be full of joy and stress-free, with no anger or worrying. Everything should be clean, so there would be no work to do on this national holiday.

Japan is facing cultural conflicts involving ethnic minorities (such as immigrants) and the resident Yamato Japanese. According to the Japanese Constitution, all citizens are equally important regardless of ethnic identity. However, people of foreign nationalities are sometimes barred from certain activities and services. Japanese law does not allow dual citizenship, and used to require the adoption of a Japanese name for citizenship (this ended in the 1980s). Though it is not a law anymore, Zainichi people (Koreans) who do not become Japanese citizens often use Japanese names to escape discrimination and they continue to live as if they were Japanese. This is the exact opposite for most Chinese, who usually use their Chinese names and openly create Chinatown areas.

Some popular Japanese foods, such as the traditional soba and udon noodles, can be prepared by boiling in broth called kakesoba or kakeudon, though they can also be eaten cold and unseasoned on top of a zaru or seiro. The noodles are eaten as a single meal, usually without a side dish.

For recreational pastimes, the Japanese like to train in martial arts, play sports like soccer and baseball, watch anime and TV shows, watch fireworks in the summer, and play shogi, a form of Japanese chess. For the 99% of literate citizens in Japan, reading novels or manga is also popular. 53.7% of citizens in Japan are college-educated.

One famous artist in Japan is Ogura Yonesuke Itoh (1870–1940), who jumped ship in Hawaii and hid from the authorities in Punchbowl Crater. He joined Hawaii’s volcano school of landscape painters and created many works of art with a style similar to Jules Tavernier, who may have received credit for much of Itoh’s work, as he rarely signed his art because of his illegal status on Hawaii. Another famous artist was Fujiwara Nobuzane (藤原 信実) (1176–1265), who was one of the leading Japanese portrait artists of his day. Nobuzane was the son of Fujiwara Takanobu who is also one of Japan’s greatest portrait artists. Takanobu specialized in nise-e (“likeness picture”) portraits. Of his works of art that have survived, the most notable is a set of the Thirty-Six Poetry Immortals. The painting in the family did not stop with Nobuzane. His son Tametsugu and grandson Tamenobu carried on the family tradition of painting.

As for writing, Hisashi Inoue (1934-2010) was a leading Japanese playwright. He also wrote comic fiction. He was as Japan’s PEN Club president from 2003-2007. Another writer, though still up and coming, is Risa Wataya. She shared the Akutagawa Prize with Hitomi Kanehara, a second writer in the making. Wataya is the youngest author to receive this prestigious award. Her latest work is Katte ni furuetero in 2010.




(I’m not saying ‘completely reliable’ links…)


Yahoo answers (Don’t judge me; we all know you use them too…)


Wikipedia (No one can judge me for this…)



Posted by Jay Williams on May 3, 2013 at 6:40 PM Comments comments (0)

      While this site is featured in my 'cool links' page (with a link, of course :) ;), I wanted to explain a bit more about it here. And, you know, the 20 starcoins I get for posting this link (Le link: games for girls) don't hurt ;) . So, basically Stardoll is a:

" browser game that mixes elements of social networking, fashion and entertainment. You have the exciting chance to dress like celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Heidi Montag, Anna Wintour and Kim Kardashian," whoever they are... "Copy the styles of famous actresses, singers, models, athletes, royalty, and other role models. Not only can you imitate your favorite idols, but you can also dress in clothing hot off the runway. Experience the Elle Spring collection, the MKA Spring/Summer collection and the Vivienne Tam Fall collection." ...Vivienne? How do you say that exactly? V-V-N? :P


"When you join the browser game Stardoll you are given your very own room, which you can decorate in any way you want to, as well as a fun welcoming gift of 60 Stardollars in order to kick-start your shopping spree! Complete your personal profile with information about your hobbies, and what kind of Stardoll you are. You also have the chance to make new friends from all corners of the globe at the various social events, clubs and parties. Share styling and beauty tips, catch up on the latest celebrity gossip, or just relax after a long day with your new friends in Stardoll."


In the free-to-play browser game Stardoll you can test your game prowess with a huge selection of fun, relaxing and challenging mini-games. Create your own universe with meditative music in the Night Sky mini-game, test your star knowledge with the Celeb Quiz and Snapshot mini-games, or design your very own mansion in the Doll House mini-game. Dress like Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera and Miley Cyrus in this fun social online game."

Ok you probably didn't read that all so WHO WANTS A SUMMARY? :D

Stardoll is a site where you can dress up your doll, dress up celeb dolls, decorate your 'suite', buy and apply make-up to your doll, buy new clothes and furniture for your doll and suite, 'make friends' (A.K.A. "hi wanna b my frend? xoxo lol!!!11!1"  "... sure?"), and do other random fun stuff. :)

... "None of our links were found on your given URL" ...

Vunderbar. Alrighty how about these?

dress up

dress up games

games for girls

dress up dolls

Lessee now...

Nope. Wow, thanks, Stardoll. I really appreciate the support here, while I put all 4 of your links here and you were just all like "woah hey you have links cool IDGAFluff bye!" :mad: NICE

Brainy Quotes

Posted by Jay Williams on May 17, 2012 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (0) is where I got these quotable quotes. :)

·         We are an impossibility in an impossible universe.
Ray Bradbury

·         Personality is everything in art and poetry.

 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

·         Lord, grant that I might not so much seek to be loved as to love.
Francis of Assisi 

·        Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Fashion Quotes

Posted by Jay Williams on May 17, 2012 at 4:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Ok so here are some quotes I picked up from a fashion website (no, I'm not girly, I just have a lot of time on my hands. Come to think of it, not being girly and being indifferent about fashion and make-up and all that junk is probably why ;)). Now, regarding what I said in parenthesis, I don't necesarily agree with any of these fashionistas. :P Oh, and sorry if the font is messed up. :/


  • "Fashion is an art. You express who you are through what you're wearing."




  • I don't design clothes. I design dreams.

                                                                                               RALPH LAUREN



  • "Fashion is architecture: it is a matter of proportions." COCO CHANEL
  • "The only rule is don't be boring and dress cute wherever you go. Life is too short to blend in."