Monday, 31st March 2014
In General Japan News,
Etiquette in Japan
When it comes to politeness, it's easy to make a faux pas in Japan - a country where layers of tradition still rule the social scene. As a foreigner, or ' gaijin ', you will be given something of an excuse in many cases. However, if you play this card too often, you'll alienate the people around you. So before you fly out, it's best to know a few basics.
Table manners are particularly important throughout the country. Never rub your chopsticks together or stick them upright into you food. When drinking, it is customary to pour for the other person, and not yourself. It's also good manners to eat everything on your plate.
In certain situations, such as entering someone else's house or a Japanese style hotel, you may be required to remove your shoes. You'll be given special slippers for wearing inside - and you'll find another pair on the floor of the toilet.
When out and about, it's considered extremely rude to blow your nose, and a low-key sniffle is very much preferred. If you take public transport during your time in the country, it's wise to avoid talking particularly loudly in case you disturb the other passengers.
If visiting a lot of Japanese-style restaurants, you can expect to do a lot of sitting on the floor. Remember to avoid pointing the soles of your feet towards the person you are next to - it's a serious faux pas.
Finally, when it comes to experiencing the joy of onsen - communal bathing - it's important to wash yourself thoroughly before entering the tub. They're places for relaxation, not for cleaning your body.
It might seem difficult to remember all of this now but after you've spent a few days in Japan, you'll be behaving like a native.
Written by Susan Ballion