You might know that the economy of Japan is the third largest in the world after the U.S. and China, but what else do you know about Japan?
I'll ask you some questions about geography of Japan. Even if you don't know anything, don't be embarrassed. Many of us Japanese don't know much about our own country anyway. (What a shame!)
Question 1: Japan is a bow-shaped island country, and four big islands comprises of 97 percent of the total land surface. Can you tell the names of all those islands?
Answer: Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu. For Japanese it is a too easy question.
Question 2: How many islands are there in Japan in total?
Answer: 6,852 islands, of which 430 are inhabited.
Question 3: Total land surface is about 378,000 sq.-km. What is the rank by area?
Answer: Japan is 61, slightly bigger than Germany but smaller than the U.S. state of Montana.
Question 4: Why is Japan so densely populated?
Answer: Because 73 percent of the land is covered with mountains unsuitable for living and most of the population (about 128 million) concentrate on flat habitable zones, especially in big cities.
Questions 5: Why are there so many earthquakes in Japan?
Answer: Because Japan is located in the volcanic zone of the Pacific Ring of Fire. They say more than 90 percent of earthquakes that happen in the whole world occur in Japan. We have destructive quakes every century. Especially, the one that hit the North Kanto and Tohoku areas two years ago was shockingly devastating.
Question 6: How many volcanos exist in Japan?
Answer: 108 including Mt. Fuji. Don't forget, the famous Mt. Fuji is an active volcano!!
Frequent earthquakes and volcano eruptions sometimes make me feel like escaping from Japan and living somewhere else... but when I take a nice bath in onsen (hot spa) resorts, I easily forget the anxiety. How simple-minded I am!