I decided to do a little research to aid my world building, and thought learning about some other cultures would give me some ideas. Along the way I discovered some interesting and at times amazing things I did not know.
After oil, carpets are Iran’s largest export.
Tea is grown in Iran.
Polo has been played in Iran for centuries.
Men who do not marry continue to live with their birth family and are described as na-mard (not-men).
The ancient Persians came up with an ingenious water supply system called a qanat (or kanat). It collects underground water and moves it through tunnels to places where people can access it.
Traditional Iranian marriages are very expensive. To encourage young Iranians to get married, the government will pay for mass weddings.
Poetry has been an important form of literature since ancient Persia. All Iranians can recite portions of well-known Persian poems, such as Shahnameh or The Epic of Kings.
Raw horse meat is a popular food.
Because the trains are so crowded, the railways employ people to cram passengers in.
The first novel in the Japanese language, The Tale of Genji, was written in 1007 by a Japanese noble woman, Murasaki Shikibu.
In Japanese, the word karaoke means “empty orchestra”.
In ancient Japan, white teeth were considered ugly. Smiling broadly exposing white teeth was frowned upon as “exposing too much bone.” In ancient Japan, women would blacken their teeth with dye, a custom that continued until the late 1800s.
The capital city, Ulaan Bator was started as a nomadic monastery and moved around frequently. It finally settled in its present location in 1778.
Even though Mongolia is landlocked, it has several salt lakes.
Mongolian currency is called tugrik. After a few months in circulation, it begins to smell like mutton.
No surprise in a nomadic culture: even the pay phones roam. Phone vendors carry wireless phones and charge customers by the minute.
Gerbils are wild in Mongolia.
Lake Balkhash is the largest body of water completely without the boundaries of Kazakhstan, and is one of the biggest lakes of the world. What makes this lake unique is that half of its water is saline, while the other half remains fresh.
Some believe that the Kazakhs were the first to tame horses so they could be ridden.
There are no roads connecting towns, because of the fjords. Boat, air or dogsled are the primary means of transport. Because of this, almost everyone owns a boat.
Most buildings are bright colors: blue, yellow, red, orange, green.