12 Things, Manners Lessons that are Sure to be Useful in Japan
Differences in culture can be what make you interested in a particular country. On the other hand, it can lead to many awkward moments. So we listed 12 things about Japanese culture that may feel unique to those of you visiting Japan for the first time, or for those of you who want to live in Japan.
For the office nomikai (drinking party), there is one person that makes the toast. Until then, don’t start drinking. Stick to this rule until you become close with your boss and colleagues.
Oshaku (Pouring Sake)
For those of you that want to work in Japan in the future…
Before the toast, you prepare by pouring the drinks. In Japan, we rarely drink out of the bottle, not even for beer. The drinks are always poured into glasses.
Pour a drink for your superior. Use both hands. Pour Japanese sake as shown in the pic and you will suddenly become Japanese style!
Also, don’t pour your own drink. There are sure to be other people that will pour for you. It could be that this is a way for shy Japanese people to communicate and bond.
Putting the towel into the tub is taboo. The image is for public showing. The reason you often see Japanese putting towels on their heads is so that the towel doesn’t touch the water.
Also, swimming in the hot spring is a no. Always wash your body first before going into the tub.
If you are shy about getting naked, you can wear a robe: Takaragawa Onsen: A Popular Secret among Newly-weds
In the bathroom, there is another pair of slippers you change into. Don’t enter the bathroom wearing the room slippers.
No Entering With Shoes
In Japan, there are many areas that do not allow for entering with shoes on. If you keep this in mind, it should help you adapt.
Blowing One’s Nose
Japanese don’t think it’s very pleasant to blow one’s nose in public. They feel it’s better to just sniffle.
Crossing One’s Legs
Never do this during job interviews. We can assure you, you won’t get the job.
Actually, the reason the scolding hot ramen is slurped is because by inhaling air and cooling the noodles, you can avoid burning your tongue.
Walking and Eating
Crepes or ice cream in Harajuku is considered OK. It’s also considered acceptable at amusement parks so it may actually be an old-fashioned idea. We are listing it here just in case.
For those of you who want to live in Japan in the future…
Even the trashcans in front of the convenience stores are subdivided into combustible, non-combustible, cans, bottles, plastic (pet) bottles, plastic (pet) bottle caps.
For any trash from residences, there are specific rules about the days you can take out a particular type of trash. The day of the week differs depending on the area you live in. If you don’t know this, you will sure be a nuisance to your neighbors.
Similar to the oshaku, it is an icebreaker to help foster smooth communications. If you live in an apartment, visit the neighbors on both sides of you and the floor below (because you may be annoying them with the sound of your footsteps) for a greeting and you should be OK.
No Photography Areas
Be extra careful for historical temples and shrines. And this is unexpected but figurines in Akihabara are almost all prohibited to be photographed. Sometimes, they have sensors that set off an alarm when you photograph.
As long as you know these tips, you should be able to have smooth travels in Japan and should be able to blend in when living in Japan!