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What not to do and what is okay in Japan

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What not to do and what is okay in Japan

Postby JapaneseFanBoy270 » Tue 07.26.2005 12:35 pm

I was thinking about going to Japan and was wounding if someone chould tell me what not to do and what is okay/politie thing to do in Japan society today.

Thanks a lot.
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RE: What not to do and what is okay in Japan

Postby Schattenjedi » Tue 07.26.2005 12:45 pm

Seriously, do you think someone can answer that question in one post?
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RE: What not to do and what is okay in Japan

Postby alarma » Tue 07.26.2005 1:11 pm

hey JapaneseFanBoy... I can't give you a full run down but some useful pointers are:
1. say please and thank you for everything, and excuse me when you intrude or want to ask someone something, or when you inconvenience them in any way.
2. don't ever, ever lose your temper or raise your voice to anyone unless you never ever want to speak to that person again!
3. make a point of eating japanese food and using as many japanese phrases, place names, and food names as you can, and use chopsticks when you eat!
4. don't be shy to bow when greeted, and don't feel silly about saying "yoroshiku onegai shimasu!" :)
Use every ounce of patience you have, study, and practice and practice and practice... then when you are tired, and you can\'t face another page of it, flip over the page and go through the whole process again. Every single day. For the rest of your life.
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RE: What not to do and what is okay in Japan

Postby Daisuke » Tue 07.26.2005 1:40 pm

Schattenjedi wrote:
Seriously, do you think someone can answer that question in one post?


I thought the same. ;)

Actually, in Denmark there exist courses to learn how to be polite in Japan.
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RE: What not to do and what is okay in Japan

Postby Harisenbon » Tue 07.26.2005 9:40 pm

I was actually thinking of starting a similar post to this yesterday. I was going to title it "The Small Things." There are a lot of custos that foreigners will not get, even by living in Japan.

Here are three:

Eating:

Do not hunch over your food to eat. Bring the bowl up towards you.

Do not leave your hand under the table. Leave your hand (usually resting on the wrist) on top of the table at all times. This is so if someone askes you pass food, you can do so quickly.

Do not refil your own beer, or sake -- doing so makes you seem like an alcolholic. Offer to fill another person's glass, and they will then fill your glass in return.
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RE: What not to do and what is okay in Japan

Postby natemb » Tue 07.26.2005 10:30 pm

There are so many small differences, so I will try to add more as I think of them, but here's a few that haven't been mentioned:

Slippers: When entering someone's house you ALWAYS take your shoes off. It's best to wear slippers (houses usually have extra slippers for guests), but just socks or bare feet can be OK. But, since bare feet are ok inside, that means you can't walk outside with bare feet. Most people who have a yard have separate outside slippers so you don't have to put on your shoes every time you step out for a second. The third type of slippers are toilet slippers. In Japan the toilet is often in a separate room from the bath and shower, but you always have to take off your indoor slippers before you enter the toilet room and put on the toilet slippers. Be careful not to use the wrong slippers in the wrong place.

Another piece of etiquette that has been brought up eslewhere is never call yourself "-san". If your name is "David", people may call you "David-san", but you must always call yourself "David" The "-san" denotes respect, so you can't use it for yourself or for people from your family or company.

Eating in public, especially in public transportation, is frowned upon in Japan.

If you're using a toothpick in front of other people, cover your mouth with your other hand.

Its rude to blow your nose in public. It's better to just sniff all the time. And never use a pocket hankerchief for blowing your nose or wiping snot. In Japan they're for wiping sweat or drying your hands after washing. Related note - many restrooms in Japan have nowhere to dry your hands.

This is far from a complete list, but as with any foreign country, try your best to observe how other people do things, and when in doubt, ask people.
Last edited by natemb on Tue 07.26.2005 10:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: What not to do and what is okay in Japan

Postby Harisenbon » Tue 07.26.2005 11:48 pm

One thing to note about slippers. You should not wear slippers on tatami. You will notice that if you enter a tatami room in a house, people will always take their slippers off before entering the room.

Many Japanese style restaurants also are shoeless. You will find a place to put your shoes at the enterance.
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