While in Japan, you will need to stick to certain rules and brush on cultural differences to avoid offending Japanese people. One interesting thing about the Japanese is that they won’t directly show you that you have offended them by something. However, they will remember your faux-pas forever.
To avoid the Japanese making fun of you once you turn them your back, avoid doing these things in Japan:
1. Don’t Eat and Drink While Walking
Never eat or drink while walking down the streets of Japan. In Japan, people respect food and consider that every person should eat food while being seated. The Japanese respect food so much that they even say a special prayer called Itadakimasu before eating.
2. Don’t Top Your Rice With Soya Sauce
Your Japanese friends will be surprised if you top your bowl of rice with some soy sauce. In Japan, rice is meant to be eaten without any toppings. This food is actually served in Japan along with every meal to balance the ingredients of other foods.
However, you are still allowed to pour soy sauce on tofu in Japan.
3. Don’t Misuse Chopsticks
Before you visit Japan, you should practice how to use chopsticks because everything in Japan is eaten with them. And once you learn how to use chopsticks, you should also learn some chopstick usage rules.
One of the most important rules of using chopsticks is that you should place them in an upright manner in a bowl of rice. This is only done at funerals!
4. Don’t Be Ashamed If Your Burp or Slurp
In Japan, you are allowed to slurp, burp, smack and chew food loudly at the dinner table. The Japanese consider burping and slurping as signs that people are enjoying their food. So feel free to slurp and burp while eating food in Japan!
5. Don’t Pour Your Own Drink
The custom in Japan is that friends and colleagues always sip each others’ drinks. Never pour your own drink while you are among your Japanese pals! And why would you refill your own drink when your Japanese friends will do that for you?
6. Don’t Tip Japanese Servers
You should never tip servers in Japan, no matter how good and friendly they were. Tipping servers is considered as an insult in Japan.
7. Don’t Hug People You Have Just Met
The Japanese consider hugs as an intimate display of affection. This is why they dislike hugging with total strangers and people they have just met. The hug is an intimate thing in Japan.
8. Don’t Display Affection Toward Your Partner in Public
It is considered rude in Japan to kiss in public and passionately hug your partner. Holding hands in Japan is, though, acceptable in Japan. However, leave more intense displays of affection for your bedroom while in Japan.
9. Don’t Talk Loud On Your Cell Phone
The Japanese consider talking loud on a cell phone a rude thing. They especially consider talking loud on a cell phone in metros rude. Talk on the phone in normal and quiet tone while in Japan.
10. Stay on the Right Side of Elevators
If you want to ride an elevator in Tokyo, enter the elevator and stay on the left side. However, once you enter an elevator in Osaka, stay on the right side. Never forget this rule which side in the elevator to take in Tokyo and Osaka!