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Goin’ Japanesque!

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. 


Kanpai (Cheers)

For those of you that want to work in Japan in the future…

Tip 1
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. 

Tip 2
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. 



For those of you travelling to Japan…

Tip 3
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



For those of you who want to live in Japan in the future…
As you know, in Japan, people take off their shoes inside the house, and often wear slippers.

Tip 4
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

For those of you travelling to Japan…

Tip 5
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


Tip 6
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

This gives off the impression that you have a big attitude. It’s fine among close friends, but generally is not considered to be a relaxed pose.

Tip 7
Never do this during job interviews. We can assure you, you won’t get the job. 


Slurping Noodles

It is considered cool to make sounds and slurp soba or ramen noodles. 

Tip 8
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

There are many who think it is bad manners. 

Tip 9
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. 


Separating Trash

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.

Tip 10
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. 


When Moving

When you move in, you take a small gift and make rounds of introductions

Tip 11
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


Tip 12
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! 

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