Japan

Japan is a country made from four major islands. Though its area is small,
each region has different tastes. The country has the population of 123.6
millions according to the 1990 census, or 2.5 % of the world total, and it
is the seventh most populated nation according to The Cambridge
Encyclopaedia of Japan.(5, p.25). Japanese political and economical world
power has been one of the success stories of the twentieth century. Though
small in geographic area, its popularity is the seventh greatest; its
inhabitants crowd themselves into an area the size of the state of Montana
or California in the United States. Its natural resources are almost
non-existent; however, today it ranks only second after the much larger
United States as the most affluent and economically productive nation in
the world. Japan was traditionally more self-sustained and semi-isolated
in its islands, and it pursued its own historic path on the periphery of a
great Chinese civilisation. The Japanese borrowed some cultural ideas from
China. (4,p.1-2). Although the population is largely homogeneous, there is
considerable regional diversity. This diversity is reflected in
life-styles, dialects and speech differing patterns of historic and
economical development. The four largest islands are Hokkaido(2), Honshu,
Shikoku, and Kyushu. Honshu, the largest island, is usually divided into
five regions; Tohoku (3), Kanto (4),Chubu (5), Kinki(6), and Chugoku (7).

According to Cultural Atlas of Japan, Hokkaido is Japanís northern
frontier.(1,p.23 ). Dominated by the daisetsu mountain range and national
park, Hokkaido is an island of forests, rivers, sheer cliffs and rolling
pastures. It\'s located at roughly the same latitude as New England or
southern France. Hokkaido is bounded by the Sea of Okhotsk to the North
and East, the Sea of Japan to the West, and the Pacific Ocean to the
South. It is 83517 square kilometres in area, a little smaller than
Ireland. Its climate is quite different from that of Honshu, with colder
temperatures, lower rainfall, no rainy season, few typhoons, and a much
shorter growing season of only 120 to 140 days a year. Hokkaido was
outside the rice-growing area in premodern Japan, but modern cold-resistant
strains will grow there and it now produces large quantities of rice as
well as live stock, dairies produce, fish, potatoes and other crops. About
ninety percent of Japanís pastureland is found in Hokkaido and nearly as
much of its dairy produce comes from there. With its wooded terrain,
pastureland, herds of cattle, large farms and silos Hokkaido has something
of the look of New England to it. Individual farms are larger than those
further south and the population are less dense.(1,p.24 ). Hokkaido also
offers delicious seafood, fresh daily produce, and plenty of hot springs.
Its beautiful winter is great for skiing, skating and the annual snow
festival with its world-famous ice sculptures.(2). The coal-mining,
forestry and fishing industries is important and industrial development is
taking place around Sapporo, the principal city and centre of development
of modern Hokkaido. Hokkaido is also one of the most popular place to
visit for thousands of the tourists throughout the year.

The island of Honshu, at 231,000 square kilometres, is larger than Great
Britain and is very much more densely populated, 404 persons per square
kilometre. It is broken by a spine of mountain arcs into a number of
regions with overlapping, but recognisably distinctive, characteristics
depending on their latitude and which sea they face. The coastal plains of
Honshu were for centuries the heartland of Japanese rice agriculture. They
have also been the site of dense urban settlement and heavy industrial
development.(1,p.25)
The north-eastern part of Honshu, comprising the prefectures of Aomori,
Iwate, Akita, Miyagi, Yamagata, and Fukushima is known as the Tohoku.
Traditionally labelled the granary of Japan, it is still predominantly a
farming area, supplying Sendai and the huge Tokyo-Yokohama market with rice
and other commodities. Farms in northern Tohoku, while smaller than some
dairy farms in Hokkaido, are larger than the national average.(1,p.25)
From the windows of the Shinkansen Bullet Train, which have just linked to
Aomori from Tokyo for six hours, travellers see acres of rice fields spread
in regular grids over the broad valleys. The region is famous for apples,
cherries, and seafood which is gathered from a landscape of rugged
coastlines, breathtaking islands, bubbling hot springs, sacred volcanoes,
deep ravines, thickly forested mountains, and picture-postcard lakes.
Lake. Towada which is located in Aomori prefecture, is known as a very
beautiful lake, and Lake. Tazawa in Akita prefecture is the most deepest
lake in Japan. Tohoku is a winter sports mecca and is also popular
destination in the summer for the some of Japanís most hot-blooded
celebrations, including the Tanabata, Kanto and Nabuta Festivals. Tohoku
people are