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Friday, 19th June 2015
In General Japan News,

Patrick Schwarzenegger falls foul of Japanese customs

Patrick Schwarzenegger has been enjoying a holiday in Japan recently, but some of his antics have raised a few eyebrows. The son of actor Arnie has been called out for pranking a woman in a temple during his trip, so CNN has helpfully put together a list of actions to avoid when visiting Japan to prevent others getting on the wrong side of local etiquette.

Always use the road crossing point

Jaywalking is frowned upon in Japan and drivers are the ones who tend to enforce this particular rule. If you are caught chancing your luck to get across the road at a point that is not designated for crossing, you are likely to experience loud honking from car horns in the vicinity.

Fines for smoking outside

While it is not illegal to smoke indoors in Japan, fines can be handed out for lighting up in the street in the likes of Tokyo and Osaka. Unless you seek out a designated tobacco corner you could face having a 50,000 yen (£256) fine levied on you.

Zero tolerance on littering

Littering should not be done wherever you are in the world, but the streets of Japan are immaculate, so should be kept that way. There are rubbish bins everywhere, so there really is no excuse.

...but be sure to use the right bin

One of the pitfalls of being conscientious with not dropping litter in Japan is then putting it into the wrong bin. At the very least, rubbish must be divided into burnable or non-burnable, but there are often bins for paper, plastic, etc, so you need to pay attention to get it right.

Avoid pointing

An outstretched hand should be used to indicate someone in Japan, as opposed to a single finger, as pointing is considered to be very rude. Using chopsticks or a foot is even worse, so avoid gesturing with any of these.

Always queue properly

Nobody loves a good orderly queue as much as the Brits, apart from the Japanese, it seems. People can be seen forming lines for escalators and trains, with pushing in frowned upon completely. When boarding a train, the queue will be formed to one side in order to allow other passengers to disembark.

Quiet coaches

Unlike in the UK where some train carriages are designated as quiet coaches, every single one comes under this category in Japan. This means that all mobile phones should be set to silent and conversations should be quiet or not conducted at all.

Remove shoes when entering a house

Always take your shoes off at the door when going into a person's home in Japan. This should be done without being asked and requires a little forward planning, with clean matching socks worn to give the right impression.

Don't tip for meals or taxis

It is not customary to tip service providers in Japan and it can actually cause offence to try. An additional charge is nearly always included in the bill and any extra will not be accepted. There have even been instances of waiters chasing foreign tourists down the street to hand over their forgotten change.

Do not wear swimsuits in onsens

One thing that Patrick Schwarzenegger did get right on his trip to Japan was to strip off before getting into an onsen. These traditional hot springs are communal affairs and locals remove all clothing and clean themselves thoroughly before getting in, so it is expected that visitors will do the same.