What are moral behavior rules in Japan? What are the manners in Japan?
-If the floor is tatami, please take your shoes off. Please also do not walk inside any house by wearing shoes.
-After taking your shoes off, please put your shoes on the floor in the direction that facing the exit.
-Please don’t walk while eating. Don’t eat on public trains.
-Please do not talk on the phone while on the train. Please do not chat loudly on the train.
-Take everything by using two hands. Give everything by using two hands.
-Don’t call people with their first name. Call people with their last name and add -san (example: Suzuki-san, Yamamoto-san).
-When you enter a coffee shop, find an empty seat before making your order.
-When paying for something, do not give money to the hand of the employee. Always put the money on the tray.
-Use perfume in a little amount. Japanese people have a sensitive nose.
-Before eating, say “itadakimasu.” After finishing the meal, say “gochi sou sama deshita.” If somebody cooks for you, say “umai.” It means delicious.
-When using toothpick by one hand, cover your mouth with your other hand.
-When Japanese women laugh, they cover their mouth.
-When passing between two people, always lift your arm and shake your hand forward. This means “I am sorry to interrupt.”
-If you receive a gift. Don’t open it immediately. Ask if it is OK to open the gift.
-After getting good service, just say thank you. Don’t tip.
-People usually don’t handshake. People usually don’t hug each other. Bowing usually means respect. Sometimes people bow to say thank you or good bye. As a foreigner , you do not have to bow. Many foreigners bow in a wrong way. Bowing has rules (e.g. 45 degrees and long duration for a low hierarchy person).
-If you are sharing a plate, please do not eat the last piece on the plate.
-Do not put your chopstiks vertically into the rice. This is associated with funeral.
-Do not give food to someone by using chopsticks. This is associated with funeral.
-Do not ask restaurants to adjust your order for yourself (there is no personalization of food in Japan).
-Do not eat things that smell (garlic, kimchii, etc.) on the bullet train. Clean the crumbles when you leave your seat.
-Do not put your bag on the floor at restaurants. Many restaurants have baskets located under the tables, use them.
-Do not wipe your face with “oshibori” the white wet towel they give you at restaurants.
-Do not put the lid of the plates on the table randomly. Put them upside down so no water is dripping to the table.
-Eat rice first, then take a few bites from other dishes, and then eat rice again. Rice is supposed to neutralize the tastes in the mouth so no dominant taste suppresses others.
-Do not smoke outdoors. You are not allowed to smoke outside.
-Do not cancel the restaurant reservation in the last minute.
-Please return your own food tray at restaurants (most restaurants and cafes).
-Please pay at the cash register. You don’t have to give your credit card to the waiter.
-Please clean the seats after watching a sports event.
-Hygiene is very important in Japan. Remember this when you use the toilet.
-There are not many public restrooms in Japan. Indoor restrooms have toilet slippers. Do not wear toilet slippers outside the toilet.
-Do not take photos in places where photography is not permitted (some shrines, some museums, etc.)
– Don’t cross the street if there is a red light. It is a bad example for school children.
-Don’t blow your nose loudly. If you are sick, wear a face mask.
– Do not take photographs of strangers. If you want to take a photo of a geisha, please do not block her way.
– Japan is a small country, do not occupy a lot of space during the public transportation.
-There are no trash cans in public areas. Please keep the thrash in your bag.
-Throw burnable trash and nonburnable trash separately.
-Do not try to enter a hot spring with a tattoo. People with tattoo are not allowed to enter public bathrooms.
-Do not enter the hot spring without washing your body. There is always a small cup near the hot spring tub.
-Japanese people usually walk on the left side of the road. Japanese people usually use the left side of the stairs when entering the subway station.
-The last person who enters the elevator gets out the last.
-Japanese people push the “close” button when they exit the elevator. Because of this, the people in the elevator don’t have to wait for doors to close.
-When giving people money outside of a shop, always use an envelop. These envelopes can be purchased at convenience stores.
-In wedding ceremonies Japanese people always give 30000 yen ($300) as a gift.
What are the manners in temples? How to behave in shrines?
-Don’t wear sunglasses in temples. Don’t wear hat in temples.
-Be quite in temples. Show respect in temples. Do not speak in front of the wishing bell. Remember a shrine is not a sightseeing spot.
-When making a wish a) bow two times b) make a wish c) clap twice d) bow one more time
-When washing hands 1) hold the water scoop with the right hand 2) wash your left hand 3) hold the water scoop with the left hand 4) wash the right hand 5) hold the water scoop with the right hand and pour water to your left hand 6) wash your mouth with the left hand. Do not drink from the water scoop.
-Do not take a photo of the shrine by standing in the middle of the entrance (under the “tori”).
-Never open the amulet (omamori: Japanese talisman).
-Do not take photos when there is a ceremony by shinto priests.
-Japanese people bow before entering the gate.
Japanese Social Life Norms
-Do not talk too much. Japanese people do not interrupt while people speak. If you keep speaking, Japanese people cannot speak.
-Japanese people usually don’t say no. Look for subtle signs to understand what people mean. For example -Can I borrow your Ipad? -It is a little difficult. (A little difficult=No).
-Don’t say that you are good at something. In Japan, modesty is expected. Say that you are still not perfect.
-If you make a mistake apologize. Japanese people apologize for everything, most foreigners don’t want to apologize unless there is a very big mistake.
-If somebody gives you a business card, do not put it into your pocket right a way. You need to keep it on the table until the end of the meeting.
-If somebody gives you a business card, look at it carefully for 5 seconds and then say something (example, you have a great job).
-Do not do any house cleaning after 22:00. It makes some noise and your neighbors may be sleeping.
-Almost all Japanese go picnicking during the cherry-blossom season. People sit on a blue-sheet. The blue sheet is sold at supermarkets.
-Please pour the drink of the person who is sitting next to you (in social gatherings). Pour the drink by holding the bottle by two hands. If someone is pouring your drink lift your glass up by two hands.
-Do not drink before the highest ranking person drinks. Do not start eating before the highest ranking person eats.
-If you don’t drink alcohol because of religious purposes or health purposes just order “oolong tea.” You must do “kanpai : cheers” at the beginning of the socializing party and you must have a drink.
-Please don’t give a gift with “4.” Number “4” sounds like death. Please make sure the gift is well packaged.
-If your friend does a small favor to you (translates your document), please give your friend a box of “thank you” sweets. In Japan, even a small favor needs to be paid. Most common sweets are European style of confectionary that are sold on every corner, even at convenient stores.
-If you inadvertently bother your friends when socializing (e.g. you get drunk and you do silly things), please bring an “I am sorry ” gift to your friend on the following day.
-Don’t ask for a favor. People solve their own problems in Japan.
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