Important Things to Know Before You Travel to Japan

Japanese people are reserved and polite by nature. Their culture is very considerate and does not work on the same principles and behavior as many Western cultures. Before you visit Akita City or any other Japanese city, you should learn a little more about their culture and customs. So, today, we want to share with you some things that you should avoid doing while in Japan.

Take your shoes off – One of the most well-known customs that most people across the world know is that you don’t enter a Japanese house before taking off your shoes. They usually offer guest slippers that can be put on before entering the house and so preventing the dust and dirt from outside to be trekked into their homes.

Soy sauce doesn’t go over the rice – Rice is served with every meal from breakfast to dinner. It is a staple food. Beware to not douse your rice with soy sauce by dumping a whole lot straight onto the rice. This will be frowned upon. The correct way is to take some of the rice and other food and dip it in the sauce to add flavor.

Don’t line up at the bathroom – Most of us are used to queuing outside the bathroom if all the stalls are in use. In Japan, you choose a stall and wait in front of it until it becomes available. The first-come, first-serve rule does not apply here. You need to wait for your stall and not take the first one that opens up even if you have been waiting longer.

Learn the chopsticks – You should definitely learn to eat with chopsticks before you visit Japan. It is the polite and right thing to do. The locals will offer you praise for your skills. You should also brush up on the chopsticks etiquette as some customs and gestures are connected with rituals at funerals and other events. Basically, you should hold them the right way, only eat with them, and keep them near your bowl and no higher.

Don’t walk and eat – This is something that most Westerners do daily. We buy food and eat and drink on the go to keep up with our busy lifestyles. This, however, is not accepted in Japan. Everyone takes the time to sit down or at least stand still to eat. No walking and dining.

Don’t tip – Tipping is not accepted and definitely not welcomed in Japan. If you try to tip a waiter or taxi driver, they will find you rude. The workers in Japan receive good wages and do not require the added value of a tip. This is a very important tip to remember.

Curb your phone calls – The Japanese are very well mannered and considerate towards others. They avoid making calls or taking calls in public or quiet places like lobbies. It is an accepted practice and you will definitely not win any favor by talking and laughing loudly during a phone conversation in public. You will be seen as rude and a disturbance. So, stick to texting when you’re out and about and leave the calls for when you’re alone.

It is important to understand the cultural differences when you go to Japan. It would be a good idea to read up on their customs and culture before you go. The Western ways and the Eastern ways differ in many ways and it would be ill-advised to visit the beautiful Japan just to offend and disturb the polite locals.

Learn more about Japan through their own newspapers and websites.


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Post Author: Ernest Bouie

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