Japan’s Regional Rivalries
As a frequent traveler to Japan, every trip between Osaka and Tokyo unravels the strong rivalry between the country’s two distinct regions – Kansai and Kanto. Kansai represents Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara areas. Kanto represents Tokyo, Yokohama, Chiba, and Saitama areas.
Kansai vs. Kanto – Personality
In Osaka and its surrounding areas, locals are known to be friendly and outgoing with a relaxed sense of humor. In contrast, Tokyo locals are known to be too polite to the point where they come across as cold which can be attributed to their intense work environment.
Kansai vs. Kanto – Escalator Etiquette
The most obvious way to spot the rivalry between Kansai and Kanto is in where they stand on the escalator. In Tokyo, locals stand on the left and let passersby walk on the right; whereas in Osaka, locals stand on the right and let passersby walk on the left.
Why the difference? Perhaps it can be rooted in history. Merchants who mostly lived in Kansai protected their money and valuables in their right hand. Samurais who dominated Kanto favored bearing left when encountering strangers in order to easily draw their swords.
Kansai vs. Kanto – Cuisine
The rivalry between Kansai and Kanto can even be tasted. For instance, the basic dashi stock broth in Kansai is made with konbu (dried kelp) and in Kanto is it made with katsuobashi (dried bonito flakes). Even the soy sauce differs with Kansai soy sauce tasting slight sweet and Kanto soy sauce tasting saltier.
Kansai vs. Kanto – Sports
Finally, the most popular culture rivalry between the two regions can be represented in their sporting teams. While baseball in an American sport in its roots, it a massive enthusiasm among players and fans in Japan. The two best teams are the Tokyo Giants and the Osaka Tigers. The rivalry can likened to the San Francisco Giants vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers or Real Madrid vs. Barcelona.
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