Summary of “What Japan can teach us about cleanliness”

As every day, the teacher’s final words: “OK everybody, today’s cleaning roster. Lines one and two will clean the classroom. Lines three and four, the corridor and stairs. And line five will clean the toilets.”
Most first-time visitors to Japan are struck by how clean the country is.
So they’re left with the question: how does Japan stay so clean?
“In our home life as well, parents teach us that it’s bad for us not to keep our things and our space clean.”
“I sometimes didn’t want to clean the school,” recalled freelance translator Chika Hayashi, “But I accepted it because it was part of our routine. I think having to clean the school is a very good thing because we learn that it’s important for us to take responsibility for cleaning the things and places that we use.”
In the Zen version of Buddhism, which came to Japan from China in the 12th and 13th Centuries, daily tasks like cleaning and cooking are considered spiritual exercises, no different from meditating.
So why aren’t all Buddhist nations as zealously clean as Japan? Well, long before the arrival of Buddhism, Japan already had its own indigenous religion: Shinto, said to enshrine the very soul of the Japanese identity.
“So it is vital to practice cleanliness. This purifies you and helps avoid bringing calamities to society. That is why Japan is a very clean country.”

The orginal article.