Did you know that it is extremely rude to rub your chopsticks together? If you’ve ever considered a trip to the land of the rising sun you’ve probably done some research on proper Japanese etiquette. Many daily customs are significantly different from those of the western world. Hopefully this compiled list of proper manners will be all you’ll ever need to survive your stay in Japan. Check out these etiquette resources and never again bring shame and dishonor to your family.
Because eating is hard.
Did you know that pouring soy sauce on your white rice is considered bad manners? One of the best things about Japan is the food (assuming you like rice and the ocean) and some of the first things a gaijin should learn are how to use chopsticks and how to eat sushi. Once you get these and other basics down, you’re relatively good to go! So go forth and eat and drink everything in sight like the gluttonous westerner you are.
- How to Actually Use Chopsticks
- How to Actually Eat Sushi
- General Table Manners in Japan
- Proper Eating and Drinking Etiquette in Japan
In the House
Because not wearing shoes is hard.
Did you know that shoes are not worn inside Japanese homes, and that there is even a separate set of slippers worn exclusively in the bathroom? Being invited into someone’s house is considered an honor in Japan, and being a guest in a Japanese home can certainly be a terrifying experience if you are not prepared. Check out these handy posts and brush up on your manners before that home-stay!
Public Bath Etiquette
Because being naked is hard.
Did you know that you wash your body before you actually get into the bath? Well it’s true, and the last thing you want to do is embarrass yourself further in an already (potentially) embarrassing situation. Many foreigners are not accustomed to Japanese public baths (sento) where everyone runs around naked. However, sento are a staple of Japanese culture and should be experienced if given the chance. Another thing that many foreigners are unaware of is that Japanese sento cure every disease ever forever. Check out these basic tips to get the most out of your next sento visit.
Because pooping is hard.
Did you know that many toilets have a button that when pressed replicates the sound of a toilet flushing? Well they do, and it’s pretty handy if you find yourself in the need of multiple courtesy flushes. That way, no water is wasted! Well done, Japan. Well done. Like everything else in the country, Japanese toilets are from the future.
Public Transport Etiquette
Because throwing up in private is hard.
Did you know that it is considered bad manners to projectile vomit in the middle of a crowded train? Okay, so riding trains in Japan isn’t all that hard once you know what you’re doing, but these posters are hilarious. I’ve also included some basic tips on surviving the entire process of using the highly efficient public transport system of Japan. Those trains can get pretty crowded from time to time however…
Because sitting is hard.
Did you know that it’s rude to have the soles of your feet pointing out towards other people? With the proper amount of samurai pizza cat training you too can learn how to sit in the seiza position for more than two minutes. Most westerners are not used to sitting on the floor like this, but in Japan, you’ll likely be doing a lot of it.
Because shopping is hard.
Did you know that giving anything related to the number 4 or 9 is considered unlucky? Gift giving can be difficult for the Japanese initiate. Even gift receiving can be an ordeal all in itself. Check out these handy tips and learn how to be the best Santa-san of all time. (Just don’t be like this poor fool and forget to take your shoes off.)
Because writing is hard.
Did you know that letter-writing in Japan is not so much dependent on the content but more so on following the proper format? Despite the advent of e-mail, handwritten letters are still very important in Japan. I mean, how else are you going to properly thank the Japanese people for making Nicholas Cage do this?
Because baseball is hard (in space).
Did you know that in French, dandelions are called pissenlit, which means “urinate in bed?” Of course you didn’t. In this section you will find summaries of all the other sections plus etiquette rules you would have never even thought of. Enjoy.
- General Etiquette for Everything Forever by Wikipedia
- Japanese Manners and Etiquette by the Japan FAQ
- Cultural Etiquette in Japan by eDiplomat
- Guide to Japanese Manners and Etiquette by jref
Congratulations. You are now a native Japanese human.
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