Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun, known for its storied culture, high speed trains, and technological prowess, was Romain’s next stop on his world tour. Japan came to have the name “Land of the Rising Sun” through its official Japanese name "Nippon" which means “sun origin”. It is thought to have come from the Imperial Missions to China between the years 600 and 800 and refers to Japan’s position east of China, or from the direction in which the sun rises each day. Japan’s culture is steeped in mystique and history. The feudal era saw the rise of the ruling class of Samurai. In the 1630’s the policy of Sakoko was enacted, under which no foreigner was allowed to enter Japan and no citizen was allowed to leave under penalty of death. This was done to help preserve the Japanese way of life and traditions from conquering western influences. Only certain western powers, like the Dutch, were allowed to conduct trade during this period. This isolationism ended in 1854 and the door was fully opened for trade with the rest of the world.
Japanese culture is also known for its traditional theater arts – noh, kyogen, kabuki, and bunraku. Bunraku is a form of puppet theater and has been practiced in Japan since the late 1600’s. Also important in Japan’s culture is the traditional Kimono – meaning “something one wears”. A person’s gender, age, marital and societal status, and time of the year can determine the kind of Kimono worn. Despite placing a strongs emphasis on traditional ways of life, Japan is also known for being a leader in cutting edge technology. The network of high speed bullet trains allow citizens to move about the country at speeds up to 200mph. The future of high speed rail travel in Japan continues to become faster as plans are in place for a magnetic levitation line running between Tokyo and Nagoya, about 230 miles away, by 2025. Trains employing this technology can operate at speeds near 300mph and would be able to make the trip between Tokyo and Nagoya in less than 45 minutes. In a country such as Japan where the old blends seamlessly with the new, the RGM North Pointer is equally at home. Designed in the tradition of the great sport watches of the past and assembled using the same traditional methods used in watchmaking for centuries, RGM puts a modern touch on this traditional time keeping piece.