Japanese Culture

japanese culture photo

What is the first thing that comes into your mind when you think about Japanese people and their culture?

Before I arrived in Japan I thought about them as shy, rigid and kind.

After many years I have been in Japan and when I didn’t have any more prejudice I started to understand what their shyness means discretion, their rigidity means precision and their kindness means politeness. But is their social ethics that has impressed me the most. As any culture, Japanese society present many rules that for stranger like us can be sometimes difficult to understand, but it is always better to know and respect them in the best way possible. If you are going to Japan as a student, you will learn them very fast since there are thought strongly in schools.

Japanese Etiquette

Looking around you is going to be the easiest way to learn. There are few rules you must follow if you want to live in Japan, and common sense will be a strong ally to understand how to behave. Japanese don’t expect you’ll be exactly like them.

Some behavioural rules to remember are:

  • When you receive a business card you must immediately put it carefully in your bag
  • It’s not allow to smoke outdoors (except for smoking areas)
  • You should not talk on your phone on public transportation
  • Tattoos are usually not allowed in places like onsen and it is always better to not show them off
  • It is better to ask for a fork, or in the case of sushi to eat with hands than stick your chopsticks in the rice
  • During visits to the Shinto shrines or Buddhist temples, it is a sign of respect not to take pictures of the altar to which prayers are addressed, nor to priests and monks.

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