If you have plans to visit Japan, there are some things you need to know. Familiarizing yourself with some basic Japanese cultural practices will go a long way in making your trip there enjoyable. Also, you are not likely to get into trouble. Here are things you should not do based on Japan culture.
1. Don’t enter a house wearing your shoes
Are you used to walking around in your house in your shoes? Well, you might get yourself in trouble if you do that in Japan. There is a special place where you should keep your shoes before entering the house. Also, there are slippers for guests when entering a room.
2. Don’t shout on the train
Trains are very common in Japan. However, people don’t make noise while in trains. They are always silent. If you have to speak to someone, do it in a low tone. Use your earphones if you have to listen to some music.
3. Don’t use your phone on trains
As indicated earlier, Japanese don’t like any noise in the trains. You will rarely find someone using his phone to make a call in the train. If you have to use your phone, send a message or talk in a low tone so as not to distract other people.
4. Don’t eat on trains
Japanese do not eat when traveling on commuter trains. Drinking is okay unless the train is too crowded. However, in long distance trains, eating and drinking are allowed. Food and beverages are also sold in such trains.
5. Don’t forget to remove toilet slippers
Once you get to Japan, you will notice that there are slippers only used when going to the toilet. These slippers are easily noticeable since they have particular words or pictures. Always remember to remove them when entering your house or walking on the streets.
6. Don’t tip anyone
While it is common to tip anyone after an excellent service in many cultures, Japan is an exception. No matter how satisfied you are with their service, they never accept tips. In fact, someone will come running after you, returning the tip!
7. Don’t ignore someone you are speaking with
If you are talking with a Japanese person, always stay calm and attentive. You may sound impolite and rude by just failing to show that you have understood a point. Whenever speaking, show your attentiveness by talking back.
8. Don’t photograph everything
Despite Japan being a beautiful country, you are not allowed to take photos everywhere. It is advisable to always ask someone before taking photos. You must be granted permission to take pictures in museums, temples, and shrines.
9. Don’t hug anyone you meet
Hugging is common in western countries. However, in Japan, it is not. You don’t hug someone you come across in Tokyo streets. Most of the older folks don’t like the habit. If you want to hug someone, then it’s best to know their age group and whether they are comfortable with it.
10. Don’t eat or drink when walking
It is uncommon to find Japanese eating or drinking while they are walking. Even on the streets with food stalls they always find a place to sit. Now you know how to behave when you are on Japanese streets so you don’t look foreign.
11. Don’t receive a present with one hand
Whenever receiving a gift or a visiting card from a Japanese, use your two hands and bow. Then tell him thank you. On receipt of a gift, don’t open it until the person who has given it to you has left.
12. Don’t throw away trash haphazardly
Another thing you might find hard to get used to is how to handle your trash. In most cities around the world, there are a lot of trash cans however, Japanese cities are different. People are encouraged to carry their trash until they find a place to dispose of it.
13. Don’t fail to say “thank you”
The verb “thank you” is highly valued in Japan. Learn to say it after being served in a hotel or store. Familiarize yourself with how bowing is done in Japan. You must always bow and say thank you when you meet with elders.
14. Don’t write down a person’s name in red ink
In Japan, it is OK to write “goodbye” in red ink but not a person’s name. The Japanese consider it to be disobedient. Therefore, if you have to write down your Japanese friend’s name, you know which color to avoid.
15. Don’t be shy
It is common for tourists to ask for help from locals. When you get to Japan, don’t be shy or afraid of asking for anything. They are very friendly and helpful. Even when you accidentally forget something somewhere, go back as no one is going to take it away.