Japan is warm, Japan is beautiful, Japan is enigmatic! Settled comfortably in the east corner, this country is quite intriguing and inviting. It is definitely is great place to visit because you will look beyond the horizon (literally) and walk into a culture you knew so little of. Here are some daily etiquettes and habits that Japanese people adhere to, so on your trip to Japan you will know exactly how to be like the Japanese!
- Shoes outside
Like in many Asian countries, you must not walk into a house with shoes on. In Japan, many restaurants also request you to leave your shoes outside. So wear clean socks because you don’t want to walk around with your toe showing or soiled heels.
- Silence Please
Everyone in Japan keeps their phone on silent while commuting in public transport; even answering phone calls is considered rude. Respecting your fellow passenger’s peace, do not talk loudly or chat over the phone while sitting in a bus or train.
- A business exchange
The Japanese are very chivalrous and they show a lot of respect towards the other person. An example of this is while exchanging cards or gifts; they always use both their hands. When you are giving a business card/gift to a local, do hand it over with both your hands – it simply adds a sense of respect and gratitude.
- Bowing and greeting
You may have seen this often, and it is mandatory in the country. Just like in some Western countries people put out a firm handshake or pluck a kiss on the cheek, in Japan people bow slightly and incline your head. You may also shake your hand along with this bow. You do this and Japan is ready to welcome you!
- Serve a drink
When there is one bottle on the table or you are sharing the bottle, always pour the drink in your companion’s glass. Allow the other person to do the same for you, because in Japan you don’t serve your own drink. Surely, that works just fine!
- Slurp your noodles
Slurping your noodle soup is looked down upon in many countries, but in Japan it is a sign of food joy! By making this sound you are complimenting the chef and informing everyone that the food is delicious. So slurp on!
- Chopstick – only for eating
Chopsticks are not kept for your entertainment, so avoid playing with them or using them are drumsticks or scratching an itch! Another ritual you must know is that passing food with chopsticks or leaving them standing upright in your bowl is used only during funerals and cremations so do not do this during your meal.
- Cross your fingers for the bill
While waiting for your bill at a restaurant, you can simply cross your fingers in an ‘X’. This is an indication for bill; when the waiter sees this, he will bring you the cheque immediately.
- No Tips Please
On your holiday in Japan, do guilt yourself about tips! In this country, there is not custom of tipping your servers, they already receive a living wage. Surely, this will excite most travellers.
- Mask is for a reason
You must have seen the residents of Japan walking around with masks over their nose and mouth; this is because they are very hygienic and health conscious. In fact, if you sneeze in public, you may give someone a heart attack! So avoid blowing your nose and coughing in public, you will just be allowing the locals to warm up against you.
- Carry tissues and wet wipes
Once you finish using the washroom, you will not find any tissue around! Unless you want to use toilet paper, keep your own tissues and wet wipes handy. Japanese washrooms are robotic and do not have any space for hand towels.
- Don’t count the change
The Japanese pride themselves to be honest! When you receive change at a mall or a shopping centre and you count the change, you are bound to get a dirty look. They say you will receive the right amount, so don’t disregard the locals.