Few Things That You Need To Keep An Eye On In Japan!
Do you have a strong desire to learn more about Japanese culture? Do you have what it takes to study in Japan? There are a few things you should know about Japanese culture before going to a summer camp or studying abroad for a semester. Despite the fact that Japan and the US are close friends with many commonalities, visitors visiting Japan are sometimes struck by a sense of strangeness or a huge difference. "Why do they do that?" and similar inquiries are common. Visitors visiting the Land of the Rising Sun are going to think things like, "Isn't it weird that this is customary here?" or "Isn't it strange that this is typical here?" We intend to provide a first-time traveler to Japan with the top ten things to know before they come with a little additional preparation.
Never, ever be late.
Punctuality is one of the most important aspects of Japanese culture. If a meeting is set to begin at 8:00 a.m., you must arrive by 7:45 a.m. You'll observe that individuals are continually sprinting or fast walking to their next location, especially on public transit. Lateness is not conducted that is tolerated or condoned. Past participants, for example, have received text messages one minute after the session was scheduled to begin, asking if everything was okay and giving directions on how to reschedule the event. If you're going to be late for a meeting by even one minute, text or phone to let them know. Arriving earlier than planned is a good rule of thumb, and setting your alarm or watch to go off early will assist you in doing so.
Prepare to periodically put your shoes on and off.
You must remove your shoes whenever you enter a private location, such as a host family's house or a school classroom. Please wear socks at all times since going barefoot is a no-no. Most establishments have a front lobby with cubbies where you may put your shoes. You must pack "house shoes" for your stay with your host family, which are similar to slippers or flip-flops that are exclusively worn indoors. Outside, the house shoes should not be worn.
It is clean. Like REALLY clean
One of the first things you'll notice about Japan is how clean it is - the people, the homes, the streets–everything is immaculate! There is relatively little garbage, everything is cleaned on a regular basis, and graffiti is not an issue. It's virtually spick-and-span! However, you'll observe that there aren't many public trash cans. They don't exist in the actual world! You'll have to save any waste you generate during the day until you return home and can dispose of it properly. Before you go in line at Starbucks, keep this in mind. You should not trash in Japan under any circumstances. This would be incredibly impolite and insensitive to the Japanese, who take great pleasure in their country's cleanliness.
Everything is smaller.
As a hilly island nation, Japan has a limited amount of space. This is strongly related to the Japanese emphasis on cleanliness and hygiene. Their cities are densely populated, with little available or underused space. The ordinary Japanese home is much smaller than the average American home, so you'll have to get used to living in close quarters. This is also true in public areas. You'll see right away that the Japanese have smaller social bubbles due to need. Trains and buses are likely to be full at all times, so simply push your way in!
People in Japan would most certainly address you in English right away.
Most people will address you in English unless you demonstrate that you know some Japanese. When you're attempting to learn or immerse yourself in a language, this might be difficult. When everyone speaks your original language to you, it's easy to fall back into it. However, try to answer in Japanese whenever possible to demonstrate that you understand the language and are trying hard to improve. They're probably ecstatic and proud of you for trying!
It's a good idea to make sure you know how to handle chopsticks before going to Japan. Although you may lift bowls to your mouth to make it simpler to eat with chopsticks, especially bowls of rice, it is the most popular utensil used for dining.
Rice is served with one main dish and multiple side dishes in Japanese cuisine. Small plates are used to serve Japanese dinners, with each item being presented individually. It differs from Western-style dinners at home when each person takes a helping from the huge serving dishes of food placed in the center of the table. It is fairly unusual for supper to have 8-10 different dishes.
You'll have a lot of work on your hands. There's no such thing as "downtime."
Downtime isn't really a thing in Japan, and relaxers aren't used. The Japanese do not place a high value on leisure time in the same way that Americans and Canadians do. The work-life balance is tilted far more towards work (or study). It is common not to arrange events after work or school on weeknights. Parents and students will return home and work or study as usual, with only a food break. They allow themselves a bit more free time on weekends, which they frequently spend watching TV, going outside, or spending time with loved ones.
It’s all about manners
Japanese folks are courteous and soft-spoken. Respect is instilled in children at an early age, and they are held to high standards. Here are a few instances of the etiquette you'll need to demonstrate:
- When people greet one other, you'll observe that they frequently bow. The length and depth of the bow are proportional to the person you're addressing's authority and position. A buddy, for example, would receive a quick 30-degree bow (almost a head nod-like action), but a grandfather or school principal might receive a lengthy, protracted 70-degree bow. It's all about where you're from and what you're up against. A modest tilt of the head or an effort at a waist bow will typically work for Westerners, although it's always ideal to follow the Japanese example.
- The manner you address someone is quite important. In contrast to the Japanese, Americans are known for being casual in their interpersonal dealings. To show respect, the Japanese append prefixes to their names. It is usual to add "san" or "Sana" to the end of names (example: Jane Doe-Sana or Joe Smith-san). Typically, children's initial names suffice, but you can add the suffix "chan" for females and "Kun" for boys if desired.
- It's a big no-no to blow your nose in public, eat on the move, or talk on your phone in a busy public place like a train or bus.
- Learn to say "Gomenasai" and "Arigato Gozaimas," which mean "I'm sorry" and "Thank you very much," respectively. It's the most effective approach to express gratitude, prevent upsetting others, or repent for past transgressions. In Japan, those phrases spoken with a sincere grin will get you a long way.