The first week of this program was spent in Tokyo, a part of the Kanto region, we then proceeded to the travel leg and have ended up in Kobe, a part of the Kansai region. Even though these regions are part of the same country and are relatively close to each other (at least in an American standard) there are a lot of cultural differences between them.
The first difference that I observed was the way people stood on escalators. In the Kanto region, most people stand on the left side and leave the right for people in a rush. Whereas in the Kansai region, people stand on the right and leave the left side of the escalator for people in a rush.
The differences in escalator use between regions. (Image taken from CNN)
Another difference that I learned about was the dialect. The funniest difference I learned about was the word for "idiot." The Kanto region uses the word "baka" when referring to someone but often use it when referring to carelessness, whereas the Kansai region uses the word "aho" but use it when talking to people they are more familiar with.
Overall, there are a lot of differences between these two regions that usually go unnoticed by foreigners. The difference in language, food, culture, and many other things show the regionalism present in Japan. This regionalism can be compared to the one we see in the USA, especially in the North East and the South, where there are differences in language, food, culture, and other things.
The Kanto and Kansai regions on a map. (Image taken from CNN)