Japan Famous Etiquette – Japanese culture is an interesting mixture of openness and ritual. While we share some taboos, much of what seems familiar to us would be unacceptable or downright offensive to them. Therefore, it is essential to know the Japanese cultural do’s and don’ts to avoid embarrassing moments or offending the host, especially as a first-time traveler.
Contrary to what some people would like to believe today, as a visitor to a foreign country, the onus is on you, not the locals, to adapt. As a foreigner, you have many options because you are not expected to know all the social no-no’s. But it is still in your interest to learn them because it shows a level of respect for the Japanese people. Most of them are very simple and won’t cause you much trouble. Some find it a little harder for outsiders, especially Americans, to adjust to the physical modesty of our Quaker roots. But now that the introduction is out of the way, let’s get started.
Japan Famous Etiquette
In Japanese culture, sticking chopsticks to rice is reserved for funerals. To do so outside of these circumstances is considered highly disrespectful. When you are done eating or want to put your chopsticks down, place them on top of the bowl. If you eat a regular meal, sometimes it does
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You might be surprised how much this annoys the stranger. I remember the first time my mother visited me in Japan. Of all the culture, this is the culture she just couldn’t overcome. Ramen is the most perfect food ever invented by man. But one look at the chopsticks tells you they are not meant for soup. This is where you come in for a sip! A noodle solution allows the noodles to bring the soup to you. The sip of the noodles gets cold because the ramen is meant to be eaten immediately after serving. Sipping also lets the cook know you like the food. More sound means you don’t have enough! Go ahead and sip all you want! Just try not to be messy about it.
It’s common etiquette that even I forget from time to time. Especially on the way home, where nothing is involved. This does not mean that you should pick up a glass and start waving it at someone who says:
Instead, it’s something of a finesse game. It’s usually best to be the first to propose, as Japan is a very status-driven culture. And as an outsider, you’re usually just above the kids until you fit into the group. Keep this in mind, especially when joining a food tour or bar crawl in Japan.
Useful Daily Etiquette And Other Tips For Living In Japan
In Japan there is actually a kind of tradition in giving and receiving gifts. The best way to accept a gift is to politely decline it once or twice, but no more than three times. Then take the gift with both hands while bowing and say:
(Thanks). Never open a gift in front of the giver unless specifically asked to do so; It gives the impression that it is more important than a person.
It’s actually one of my favorites. Tipping in Japan is a big no-no in almost all situations outside of foreign-owned bars. Tipping a waiter, hotel, taxi, etc. is actually considered an insult. It’s like you’re belittling them for the work they do. So when you’re done eating, thank the person bringing the check and just pay without trying to figure out how much 15% of 3,900 JP¥ is.
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This is actually my favorite difference between the laws of the land because I feel that people are treated simply like adults. Much to my surprise, when I tell people about this law at home, I often get wide eyes and comments like, “
I’m sure some of you are sitting there wondering how this can be possible and still be a functioning company. America had similar laws until people with stupid ideas about alcohol took over. It works in Japan because alcohol is so deeply embedded in their culture that only green tea is a culturally relevant drink. This means that alcohol is not celebrated and taboo like it is in America. Alcohol is just a part of life here.
Now there is indeed public drunkenness, but in a very Japanese way. Not directly harass others, drive or commit a crime. It’s not uncommon to see a group of friends carrying one of their own back to the train when they’ve had too many. Or salaries they drink all night with their bosses, they can only sleep the next day at work.
Japanese Etiquette Tips For First Time Travelers
For those of you who fear drunken leaders, no. Drunk driving is not a big problem here. As mentioned above, if you are caught driving drunk, you could face immediate license suspension, fines ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 and imprisonment for two or more years. And remember, this is just for DUI. If you hit someone, or God forbid kill someone, it’s over. You spend most of your life in a Japanese prison.
Long before COVID-19 hit, Japanese people wore masks in public for two reasons. To prevent others from getting sick and to avoid getting others sick. This brings us to why blowing your nose in public is rude. If you are sick, be considerate. Go to the nearest store and buy a pack of face masks.
This is by far the biggest culture shock for Westerners, especially Americans. Let’s say you’ve ever seen a Japanese anime or manga. So you have an idea how the Japanese perceive sexuality in the media. But you might not be ready for some of the other ways they’re more open to it.
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For example, they are not very protective of their children when it comes to adult content. It is not uncommon to find manga for adults next to manga for teenagers or children in stores. The same goes for adult magazines. They don’t cover them like you would see in an American store. They have entire stores dedicated to adult media. Kawasaki has an annual fertility festival where participants carry
) with a huge carved pin that everyone will celebrate. This festival is also known for phallus-shaped treats like lollipops.
It may sound a little strange, but it was born from the density of cities like Tokyo. When you walk on the wrong side, you block pedestrian traffic and disrupt the order that Japan loves so much. This is especially true for escalators and moving walkways. For Americans, this means walking on the left. On escalators and moving walkways this means standing on the left and passing on the right. Unless you’re in the Kansai area where it’s the other way around. If not, expect the Japanese to be very angry with you. If you’ve ever wondered which side you should be on, follow the flow of the locals.
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Asking a person how old is usually one of the first questions you will be asked in a casual conversation with a Japanese citizen. This is a good icebreaker question. Another reason is that the Japanese social structure and hierarchy place a lot of emphasis on respecting those older than you. Just as we have a lot of difficulty determining how old Asians are based on their appearance, they also have difficulty describing how old foreigners are. Expect this question to turn into a game of guessing the other person’s age. You should also be prepared to assume that you are much older than you really are. Since I was 25, I regularly think I’m 37. To agree with that, you also have to be prepared to be asked what your job is. This means never asking anyone how much they make.
Shaking hands, nudging, or touching to get someone’s attention. We use these physical stimuli most of our lives without thinking. But in Japan everything is considered rude. Instead, bow out and limit contact with friends who have made their feelings clear to you. As with most taboos and manners, close friends and loved ones have different rules and are accepted by the public.
, is an absolute must. This is a problem of cleanliness and maintenance from the days when the floor of the house was made entirely of tatami mats where shoes would hit them. Instead, slippers are worn indoors. This also applies to the bathrooms, where the slippers are only for these rooms. Honestly, it’s just good practice for all households. Think about where you go outside every day. Do you really want it on the floor?
Onsen Etiquette In Japan
In today’s fast-paced world, you may be used to grabbing a quick bite to eat on your way to work or while riding a bus or taxi. Well, it’s all frowned upon in Japan. It shows a lack of respect for the food and the work that went into making it. It’s sentiment I
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