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Insisting to pay

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Insisting to pay

Postby kashikoi92903 » Thu 02.15.2007 1:25 pm

My sister and I have been in Tokyo twice before and each time had a situation in which we went out with Japanese friends and insisted to pay for the entertainment. I have since then read things about the Japanese culture that have made me think we weren't so polite in doing so. Any help on this culture point?
In the first case, we went out to eat and insisted on picking up the entire bill. Maybe this wouldn't be inappropriate since we were the ones who had invited them out to eat. Or maybe that's just the American way of looking at it.
In the second case, we had spent a lot of time with one guy who kept paying for the things we did. We ended up going to karaoke, and when it came time to pay, my sister put her 5,000 yen bill up on the counter. This was not the entire amount of the cost, but it was more than her fair share, and she would not let our friend pay her for the difference. We actually made quite a scene right there in the building in front of the clerks. It was hilarious at the time, but looking back.... Were we really rude?
Thanks!
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RE: Insisting to pay

Postby ess_jay_arr » Thu 02.15.2007 1:39 pm

I think in the first case, since you invited them out, it's fine that you insisted on paying. They problem would come if they'd invited you out, then you insisted on paying. I think in that case, you're expected to return the favour at a later date.

In the second case, uh... I dunno. :P I think if you had a laugh about it, then you shouldn't worry about having been rude. I've heard that to some extent, Japanese expect foreigners to be rude, and make allowances for it.

Anyway, I'm by no means an expert, so this reply is just to tide you over until someone who knows more about it answers you. :)
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RE: Insisting to pay

Postby Mike Cash » Thu 02.15.2007 2:48 pm

The classy way to do this is for the party who wishes to pay to unobtrusively absent himself from the table and take care of the tab out of sight and earshot of everyone. Then everyone just gets up and goes out the door, much as if they have been entertained at the host's home instead of in a business establishment. The bill never comes to the table.
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RE: Insisting to pay

Postby tanuki » Thu 02.15.2007 3:24 pm

I don't know how the situation would be seen with Japanese eyes, but for me the thing with your friend at the karaoke was impolite. It has to do with the "macho" culture here, I guess.

It's rare for the woman to pay for the man. The usual thing is that the man pays for himself and the woman, or each one pays for his/her own. If a woman does a scene at the counter or in front of the clerks and ends up paying the bill of both, the man will feel embarrassed as hell ("they insulted his manhood").

But, again, I don't know how it's in Japan.
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RE: Insisting to pay

Postby two_heads_talking » Thu 02.15.2007 4:03 pm

Japan doesn't have the same machismo outlook, however, they do have enryo (or what we sometimes call "face")

it's a still a situation that, unless you know the person or their habits, it is hard to say.

If the situation where you were at karaoke and your friend kept paying the bill, it would be most appropriate to let them keep paying. Again, if you know them well, you can of course use the appropriate enryo to let them know you would rather pay (it's a give an take, you don't want to offend them, but at the same time, you let them know that by them paying for everything, you feel offended.) you don't do it ina strong way, and by no means to you act all tough about it..

it's like receiveing gifts in Japan. You take a gift over when you visit, but they never take it on you first, second or even sometimes, third offering of the gift.

AGain, this is my experience and most of this is my dealings of 15 years ( on and off) in country, but, that was more than a decade ago.. so, things might have changed some
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