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 Post subject: Socially acceptable or unacceptable
PostPosted: Thu 28 Apr 2011, 17:54 

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This thread is to list and elaborate on the many different things that are found socially acceptable (or unacceptable) in Japan that may take foreigners by surprise.

We’ve learned in the lessons about removing shoes in various circumstances, uchi & soto, caution with the number 4, and so on.

But, for example:

I’ve heard that, in Japan, it’s perfectly alright to point directly at a person’s nose when speaking to them. In some nations, this could be a very confrontational gesture.

Is this true? Will you really find someone’s finger in your face in Japan? Would anyone like to offer their actual experience with this? What does it mean? What other unusual things should we expect to come across while in Japan?

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 Post subject: Re: Socially acceptable or unacceptable
PostPosted: Fri 29 Apr 2011, 19:36 

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I asked my wife about that (she's Japanese), she finds it's somewhat rude to do that too. I know Chinese often put their forefinger on their nose to talk about themselves. Anyway, no one has ever put their fingers on my nose in Japan. The first that does that will have their finger bitten!

Generally speaking, Japanese don't have much physical contact publicly. They don't kiss on the cheek, they don't shake hands, they don't embrace. They don't talk easily to people they don't know either whereas American people easily do. It's cultural, they don't want to disturb.


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 Post subject: Re: Socially acceptable or unacceptable
PostPosted: Sun 18 Sep 2011, 10:28 

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Well, i know a few ones

My english isn´t perfect so... deal with it :wink:

Eating: The end of the hashi (chopsticks), the one you put in four mouth do not must touch the table. In many restaurants you have a little accesorie in the table to put the end of the hashi, but in many places they don´t have. Many japanesse make a little origami with a piece of paper to put the end of the hashi.

Never nail the hashi on the ご飯 (steam rice), or pass food from your hashi to another or take food from anyone. Pass things with the one hashi to other, and stab the hashi have a religious connotation and is used in burial ceremonies.

Most japanesse don´t like to get photographed. Is better to ask always before take a photo. A lot of people have no problems, but ask before take a photo. Also in many stores is forbidden to take photographs.

Also, in many restaurants the tables have a little button to call the waiter. If don´t have one, use "すみません" to call one.

I put more as i remember. I traver sometimes to Tokyo, so i know a few ones :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Socially acceptable or unacceptable
PostPosted: Thu 05 Apr 2012, 19:48 

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I've heard that pointing your chopsticks to people and pointing to people in general, is considered rude. Any more information on that?


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 Post subject: Re: Socially acceptable or unacceptable
PostPosted: Thu 05 Apr 2012, 21:42 

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You're right. 
Moreover you mustn't stab your rice because it refers to burning incense and Japanese funerals.


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 Post subject: Re: Socially acceptable or unacceptable
PostPosted: Sun 13 Jan 2013, 22:16 

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I recently returned from a trip to Japan. I was there for 10 days and the rudest thing I managed to do was I looked a woman in the eye when she handed me a bill back.
I didn't realize that it was rude. My American way of doing things screams to maintain eye contact at all times, but in Japan it is considered something of a show of distrust.
It was definitely a different experience for me!


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 Post subject: Re: Socially acceptable or unacceptable
PostPosted: Mon 24 Mar 2014, 16:26 

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A few ones.

In Tokyo, is forbidden to smoke in most of the streets. If you are a smoker, you only can smoke in some "smoking areas". Also is a good idea to buy an "portable ashtray" because is rude to thow anything to the ground (ashes, etc.)

Also, a lot of restaurants have separate areas to smokers and no smokers (not all). Sometimes when you enter in a restaurant, the waitress ask you "Tobako?" asking if you want a table in a smoking area or a non-smoking. If is allowed to smoke, you can find ashtrays on the tables.

Usually, in a restaurant you cannot ask for the waiter. There´s a button on the table to ask for one.

If you are thirsty, you can found a lot of drink machines in the streets, but... drink in this place, because is rude to walk and drink o eat. Also is very difficult to find a bin. You can find them alongside to the drink machines. So, buy your drink and drink it in the place. After this, throw the can or botlle in the right bin,there´s one for cans and another for PET (plastic bottles).

In a train, is a good idea, if is rush hour and a lot of people is in the train, to keep your hands on an upper pole. It´s a shame, but this way nobody can think you touch in a "wrong way" to any women. Also have in mind that in a few metro lines, there´s a last wagon in pink color.. it´s a women only wagon.

Japanese people do not like to be touched, in fact, when someone needs, because of their work to "touch people", they wear gloves. Also have in mind to be very clean. Is rude to smell because you think "i do not need a shower today" :oops:

And remember, when you have an iisue, problem, etc.. don´t yell, keep calm and try to find a solution.


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