Japan and Italy have many things in common. Both are rich, industrialised countries with a long cultural tradition that is held in high esteem worldwide. People in both countries enjoy a longer life than almost anywhere else in the world. For both countries, the processes of ageing and population shrinkage are challenges with diverse social, economic, and political facets. But Japan and Italy also differ in many respects, e.g. in social conventions, etiquette, work ethics and everyday behaviour. These similarities and differences make a comparison attractive. Former DIJ director Florian Coulmas has recorded his observations, insights, and experiences during a semester he spent at the University of Venice Ca’ Foscari in the new publication Venezianische Wahrheiten. Japanische Lektionen in der Stadt Marco Polos (in German). The booklet is published as volume 20 in the DIJ Miscellanea series and available for download here.