Like most Asian countries, Japan has customs that can be deemed “strange” in our eyes. If you are going to Japan, be prepared to see things or behaviours that are mind-boggling to you. However, you can prepare for it by reading and learning about their customs and culture.
Things you should know
If you are going to Japan, make sure that you have familiarised yourself with their customs:
2) If the floor is covered by tatami mats, remove your shoes or slippers before you enter said room.
3) You will sometimes receive free packages of tissue papers along with a promotional flyers from strangers.
4) You should not tip when you eat outside. This is really strange as it is an exact opposite of what you have done in western countries. The Japanese believe that the services you have been given are already covered by the price for your meal.
5) Japan suffers 1,500 earthquakes every year. Do not be surprised if an earthquake happens and people only follow safety procedures as if it’s an everyday occurrence.
6) Respect the elders. Japan has one of the highest life-expectancy in the world. You can find thousands of people over the age of 100. When you address elders, make sure that you use the honourifics “-san” after their names and bow a little deeper than when you address your peers.
7) Be punctual. Japanese value punctuality, even though their trains have an average delay of 18 seconds.
8) Japanese are clean and orderly. This is why you should not step into a house or bathroom with dirty slippers.
9) Do not attract attention to yourself. Of course, being a foreigner you might stick out, some people might even greet you out of the blue or stare at you. However, you have to refrain from talking loudly on your phone, or blowing your nose or even burping in public.
10) Before eating anything, whether it is in a fancy dining restaurant or a ramen stand, say itadakimasu, it means that you are grateful for the food, it can also mean “let’s eat”