Japanese road traffic is quite different from that in most Western countries. In the west, when a car honks it is usually not a good sign – it generally means: ‘Get out of the way!’ or ‘You idiot!’ and ruder things. In a very crowded country like Japan, however, you need your horn for other purposes. The Japanese drive small cars, but the roads are even smaller! To squeeze past you need your horn and a car honk most often means ‘Excuse me’ or ‘Thank you!’
In Japan the green (go) traffic light is called ao, which means blue. The Japanese word for green, midori, is fairly new; it only came into use in the Heian Period (794–1185 AD) and according to some sources the distinction between midori and ao was not formally taught through school text books until after the Second World War.
Green was traditionally considered a shade of blue, and even today some things that are really green, like vegetables – or traffic lights – are still known as ao
Japanese streets are often nameless. Only the main roads have names.
In certain European countries, for example the UK, it is acceptable to make someone come to you by beckoning with a curled finger. However, in many Asian countries, including Japan, this is to be avoided. It is considered rude and in Singapore it even signifies death!