Japan, well known for its scenery, anime, or people being weird and quirky, also has an amazing culture. If you are intending to travel to Japan in the future, here is a short crash course on some local traditions you may or may not know.
We have also written another article on Japan: Going to Japan – Improving Your Navigation and Convenience (Don’t worry, it opens in a new tab)
1. You Should Not Give Up Your Seat to Those With ‘Priorities’
You might think it is the right thing to do to give up your seat to the elderly, disabled and pregnant women. However, it is not so acceptable in Japan.
Doing so might make the other party think you are looking down on them. Also, they do not want to let yo. Being polite people, Japanese will usually refuse to take your seat. Even if someone is staring at you for your seat, you will not get stomped or frowned upon if you do not give your seat to those who need it more.
There still an obvious way if you really want to offer your seat, or just to beat the stubbornness out of them (I’m joking they are just being nice). Act like you are getting off the train and inform them to take your seat.
2. Japanese Male Cannot Go Home Early
No one likes to leave work late. No one likes to arrive at our safe haven late at night. That’s an exception for the Japanese working males.
I’m not being discriminating against females so calm down. Japan still has a strong culture where the males are supposed to work and females should be the one at home. Reaching home early will make others think that you are not working hard enough.
What the working males like to do is to go out for a drink or hang out with their colleagues and friends. They will usually stay until 9 plus before leaving for home.
3. How are you going home?
This is the most common question people ask each other when Japanese males lepak around after their work.
Japan transport system is insanely complicated. The question allows Japanese to plan their trip early. This also gives a good gauge of what time they will be leaving home by inferring from the last train timings.
4. The Louder You Slurp, The Tastier The Food
Often, it is thought to be rude and unpleasant to eat our food loudly. However, slurping on your noodles loudly will let the chef know that you are enjoying the food. This is why in Ramen restaurants, you will hear a lot of slurping sounds.
Don’t be afraid to do the same when you are in Japan if the food is to your liking.
5. Chopsticks Only
Don’t be surprised if the spoon is missing from your tray when you are having a meal in Japan.
Japanese can eat with only chopsticks. Not only is it used for your meat and vegetables, it is also used to eat your rice. You drink straight from the bowl without a spoon.
Related: 50 Bad Habits in the Office
6. No Using of Phone on The Train
Ok, you can use it for your social media or games. Talking on the phone is a big NO. It is rude and you will disturb people around you. Picking up calls to inform the caller that you are on the train is ok. Anything other than that is not acceptable.
In fact, it seems to be unacceptable to this uncle back in Singapore too:
Do remember to follow us here! We will be releasing a few more articles on Japan over the next few weeks so stay tuned!
Last updated on July 1st, 2019.