A Crash Course in Japanese Etiquette

You have tickets in hand and reservations at the hotel. But have you looked into the customs of Japan? Visiting a foreign country for the first time can be a little intimidating, this crash course will make sure you’re ready for most things you will encounter.

�· When you enter a Japanese home, take off your shoes at the entrance and change into slippers which are usually found there. Make sure your socks are clear and free of holes.

Ã?· Before entering the restroom, you will find special toilet slippers outside the doorway that are to be used only inside of the bathroom. Don’t forget to change back when you are done.

�· The basic Japanese bathroom consists of 2 rooms, the first room is used for getting undressed and the second will have a shower and bathtub. When bathing, you are suppose to wash outside of the tub using a bowl before getting into the tub to soak.

�· Learn to use chopsticks before you leave. A visitor that already knows how to use chopsticks is seen as respectful of the Japanese culture.

�· In most private households and some restaurants several dishes of food will be placed on the table to share rather than serving each individual person. You are to take food from the shared plates and put it onto your own.

Ã?· Blowing your nose in public is considered bad manners. If you need to blow, go into the restroom where you won’t bother others.

Ã?· Clean your plate spotless, leaving nothing on it is considered the best manners. This doesn’t mean go licking your plate, but feel free to make sure you get it all.

�· It is Japanese custom to serve each other. This means you should fill the glasses of those dining with you rather than filling your own.

�· It is consider good manners when you wait for everyone at the table to be served their beverage before drinking. Most times, there will be some sort of toast before anyone begins to drink.

Ã?· Learn to bow, this is how the Japanese greet each other and express their thanks. As a Westerner, you really won’t be expected to know proper bowing etiquette and sometimes you may even get surprised with a handshake. For most situations a nodding of the head is usually sufficient.

�· Be careful of low clearances. The doorways in most homes are very low, be careful of hitting your head. The Japanese are a bit shorter than us.

Ã?· Carry a handkerchief or pocket tissues with you everywhere. Most public bathrooms don’t have paper towels or hand dryers. Some bathrooms don’t even have toilet paper, so you’ll be glad you had your tissues with you.

Ã?· Write down your hotel name just in case you get lost. It’s easier to show someone the name and get directions, than to try to pronounce the name or describe it.

These are just a few things to get your trip started right. There are many other customs you could observe, but you won’t really be expected to know about them while you’re there.

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