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Dinner

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Dinner

Postby Ino » Thu 01.18.2007 8:04 pm

This is just something i was wondering about recently... a couple of years ago i had two japanese girls stay at my house for a few days during the summer and while we were having dinner one night i noticed that they didn't sit down until my dad had sat down, didn't begin eating until he did, and didn't get up from the table until he had finished eating and had stood up himself.

Is that common courtesy in Japan, or was i just being weird?
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RE: Dinner

Postby flammable hippo » Thu 01.18.2007 9:04 pm

I think its because Japanese people usually wait until every person sits down to eat and then they eat. Was your dad the last person to get to the table? If so then maybe they just wanted to wait until everyone got there. And maybe they ate when he ate and left when he did because they were guests in his house and they figured that since its his house they should follow what he's doing?

I'm just guessing so I'm probably way off.
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RE: Dinner

Postby Apache Dawn » Thu 01.18.2007 10:58 pm

Yes, I think it is just like the "taking your shoes off before you enter" thing that goes on in Europe. BTW, is that common in Japan?
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RE: Dinner

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Thu 01.18.2007 11:26 pm

It's not just common, it's near universal. The dirtiest, messiest college students will still take their shoes off before going into their house.
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RE: Dinner

Postby Harisenbon » Thu 01.18.2007 11:51 pm

Is that such a strange thing? If I ever went over to a friend's house for dinner, I definately wouldn't sit or start eating until everyone else had start, or had been specifically told to.

I thought that was just standard manners.
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RE: Dinner

Postby Kdar » Fri 01.19.2007 12:36 am

Well. Maybe because he was older... and the "head" of the house.... I don't view this strange also...

But that "take off shoe thing" is pretty much every where... Well, maybe not in America... lol

In Russia, for example, we always took off our shoes, at our home or at our friends homes..
And then.. Why would you carry dirt from outside into you house, or house of your friends.....
Last edited by Kdar on Fri 01.19.2007 12:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Dinner

Postby chikara » Fri 01.19.2007 12:46 am

Harisenbon wrote:
Is that such a strange thing? If I ever went over to a friend's house for dinner, I definately wouldn't sit or start eating until everyone else had start, or had been specifically told to.

I thought that was just standard manners.

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RE: Dinner

Postby keatonatron » Fri 01.19.2007 12:47 am

Ino wrote:
This is just something i was wondering about recently... a couple of years ago i had two japanese girls stay at my house for a few days during the summer and while we were having dinner one night i noticed that they didn't sit down until my dad had sat down, didn't begin eating until he did, and didn't get up from the table until he had finished eating and had stood up himself.


Isn't that normal everywhere you go?
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RE: Dinner

Postby wd90 » Fri 01.19.2007 4:42 am

Well I don't know if waiting to sit down is normal everywhere you go, especially if everyone is already going to sit down anyway.

I would say that's more just foreigner in a foreign culture thing. They were probably quite disoriented and so looking for some model of correct behavior to follow. Often times kids will do things in their own home (or outside) that are not culturally acceptable at all, but accepted for them just because the setting is relaxed for them. And while two girls should probably follow the eldest women's lead, I would say in Japan that the male head of the household is a little bit more trusted on such matters (especially since he would be the one getting angry over something done wrong), and therefore that would be the lead they follow.

That's just a guess, at least. I haven't observed any such culture of downright refusing to eat/sit down before anyone else, anyway.
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RE: Dinner

Postby Oyaji » Fri 01.19.2007 5:04 am

There are many households where the father is always the first to eat (if he is home at dinner time), the first to leave the table, the first to take a bath, etc. It is the same as the idea that no one leaves work until the boss does.

It wouldn't surprise me if they came from *three generation* families with their grandparents living with them. Such families tend to follow these kinds of traditions more strictly.
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RE: Dinner

Postby tanuki » Fri 01.19.2007 2:04 pm

I don't see anything strange or "typically Japanese" in the girls' behaviour, really.

Here, no one starts eating until the hosts say "please, start eating". And getting up before everyone has finished would be terrible manners!

Now, I don't follow these rules in my house with my family, but I certainly do when we have guests or when I am a guest. The girls were obviously guests in your house.
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RE: Dinner

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Fri 01.19.2007 3:23 pm

I don't think it's particularly strange to wait for everyone to sit down and be ready to eat before you start. That's basic manners even in the US unless you're specifically told to go ahead and start.

However, I would say it's a little unusual or old-fashioned to wait specifically for the *father* and no one else.
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RE: Dinner

Postby two_heads_talking » Fri 01.19.2007 5:46 pm

it's not so unusual to wait for the head of the household to start dinner. it's pretty traditional in most areas.. of course there will be those that find it old-fashioned and wish to change it, but that's how we have done it in my house since i was young. at thanksgiving we waited until grandpa sat down and started passing the dishes around.

i would say it's unusual only in a place where the head of the household isn't specifically the father.. however, even at a friends house, where his father had died, the oldest son was the one everyone deferred to at dinner time.

personally i would find it unusual or too modern to do it any other way..
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RE: Dinner

Postby paul_b » Fri 01.19.2007 6:16 pm

Kdar wrote:
And then.. Why would you carry dirt from outside into you house, or house of your friends.....

Naming no names, but one of my friends house used to be such that I'd walk round there barefoot (in good weather) but put shoes on before going into it.
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RE: Dinner

Postby Hatori » Sat 01.20.2007 12:42 am

I do what you just said all of the time, Ino. I feel as if it's rude to eat and do whatever without waiting for everybody. So, the Japanese must feel that way too. But I don't start to eat until everybody else does, though. Not the other stuff lol.
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