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Japan’s Most Interesting Customs!

Japan’s Most Interesting Customs!


In no particular order, here are a few of
Japan’s most interesting Customs! 12 – Bonenkai
December is undoubtedly the busiest month in many countries. While families in the U.S. may be busy doing
last-minute Christmas shopping, people in Japan are kicking their socks off partying! These parties are called Bonenkai parties
and are held at the end of the year. The word, Bonenkai, literally translates to
“forget the year.” As the name implies, the purpose of Bonenkai
parties is to forget the troubles and hardships of the past year. You’re supposed to start the new year with
hopes of new successes, so you have to clean your bill. Bonenkai parties are gatherings where you’re
expected to bond and forgive any mistakes other people have made, so these parties are
a tradition at almost every company in Japan. A large company may have several of these
parties, such as such as the full company party, the department parties, and the team
parties. Besides the work Bonenkai, people often celebrate
this tradition with friends and family as. Bonenkai parties are the most important parties
of the year, so if you’ve been invited to one in Japan, it’s considered disrespectful
to skip one you’ve been invited to! 11 – Obey everything
You would think that a city that’s always crowded and always busy, such as Tokyo, would
be chaotic at best. Yet, Japan is recognized worldwide for their
way of following rules and creating order. This is achieved because Japanese people have
been taught ever since they’re a little kid to follow the norms no matter what. Even when everyone seems to be running late
in Tokyo, everyone ALWAYS respects traffic signs! People will wait on their side of the road
until the light turns green, even when there are no cars coming. Why? If a person is busy, they could cross the
road and that’s it. But the Japanese know that in order to get
what you want, every person must help. Japanese children are heavily policed when
crossing roads. Teachers, parents, older siblings and of course,
actual traffic officers, encourage children to wait for the proper signals. So streets in Japan work like a well-oiled
machine. Everyone is busy, everyone is rushed, but
everyone gets to the places they’re going in an orderly fashion. 10 – Here’s a comfy spot
What would your boss say if you were caught napping on the job? You’ll probably at the very least get a
stern talking to, and your coworkers are definitely gonna gossip about you. But, in Japan napping over your desk or in
public places is common and culturally accepted. It’s a common opinion that anyone who involuntarily
sleeps on the job is more diligent, and they must be working themselves to exhaustion! The Japanese word for this practice is “Inemuri”,
and it refers to doing something job related while daydreaming. Still, young people and junior employees don’t
usually practice Inemuri, because they want to be seen as energetic. But, senior employees, especially white-collared
professionals, practice Inemuri shamelessly. Both men and women practice Inemuri, and it
isn’t always on the job. Japanese people will nap on the subway, in
cafes, in restaurants, on trains……you get the picture. Pretty much everywhere! If you’re in Japan and someone naps on your
shoulder on the subway, you’re supposed to let them. After all, they must be very tired. Just suffer through it! 9 – Business card etiquette
There are some things you’ll never know about Japan if you just went there for a vacation. How the Japanese feel about business cards
is definitely something you don’t learn on a vacation. First of all, millennials in western countries
aren’t really used to having business cards. When meeting a potential business partner,
it seems that most millennials redirect everyone to their Facebook or LinkedIn pages. But in Japan, if you don’t have a business
card to give at a meeting, you’re committing a serious faux-pas. You see, Japan is all about rituals and etiquette. A business card is seen like an extension
of a person, so it’s almost as if you’re literally handling that person. Meeting people for the first time is a bit
of a sacred occasion because it’s the beginning of a relationship. Even more so if the relationship is a business
relationship. So who gives out the first card? The senior person will hand out their card
first, and after the junior person takes it and examines it, they will offer one of their
own. When you hand or receive a card, you’re
supposed to use both hands! Never casually give or receive a card with
only one hand! And don’t just put the card away immediately. You’re supposed to keep cards on display
during the meeting. 8 – Tipping
In the US, tipping is a sign of gratitude, and of course, expected. People most often leave tips because they’re
expected to, and sometimes it’s a show of appreciation. But in Japan, not only is tipping not expected,
it’s seen as insulting. Japanese people believe that excellent service
should be standard. There’s just no need for a tip. When a person decides to leave a tip, there
can be some misunderstanding and staff will probably try to give it back to the person
tipping. If you feel like you absolutely need to leave
a tip, just don’t. Tipping at restaurants and cafes is just a
no-go. Waiters will feel insulted and embarrassed,
not grateful. The same goes for taxi drives. Just wait until you get back to the hotel,
or go to a spa. You can tip people in hotels and spas and
tour guides. Everyone else will just feel really awkward. 7 – Slippers, slippers everywhere
There are some things that have survived through the years unchanged in Japanese culture. The first of them is certainly politeness. The second one is bowing. The third one is wearing slippers. From clinics to schools to spas, there will
be a genkan at the entrance. Genkan are small compartments for a person’s
shoes. When you come to a place with these shoe compartments,
you have to remove your shoes and wear provided slippers or else you’re not getting in. Putting on slippers is a sign of trust because
you’re leaving your shoes at the entrance. But, changing into slippers is also a matter
of health. Shoes are just dirty. When you’re going inside a home, you don’t
want to dirty everything up, so the Japanese practice taking off shoes at the door. This is a tradition that we should be doing
in the US as well to be honest! Who knows where people’s shoes have been! 6 – Pour me another one
All around the world, it’s seems like it’s okay to pour yourself a drink. But in Japan, you’re never supposed to pour
yourself a drink, as it’s considered rude! So, if you can’t pour yourself a drink,
who does? Well, it’s your drinking partners of course! The number one rule of etiquette to observe
when drinking in Japan is to never take a drink alone. Always wait for the whole group to receive
their drinks before touching yours. Then wait for someone to offer a cheers in
Japanese before you raise your glass and take the first drink! Typically younger people will always serve
older people first, but at company events, junior people, regardless of their age, will
pour for senior people first. This means you’ll always serve your boss,
but a business person will always pour for a customer or a guest. You’ll want to keep an eye on people’s
drinks around you, as you’ll want to make sure their drinks are filled. However, if you aren’t paying attention,
your drinking partners will just keep insisting on filling your glass, even if you don’t
want to continue drinking. So be sure to keep your drink full and only
drink if you have to or else you won’t be feeling so well the next morning! 5 – Eating, drinking and walking? Overall, Japan is considered one of the most
polite countries in the world. This is largely because of how people conduct
themselves in public. For example, when you’re on a subway, you’ll
almost never see someone talking on their cellphone. It’s disturbing to other people. There are many things that are culturally
prohibited for Japanese people. Even when these unspoken rules are somewhat
being broken by younger generations, generally you will be frowned upon by older people in
the streets if they catch you doing them. Not bothering other people extends all the
way to eating and drinking. When you’re walking around on the street,
it’s considered bad etiquette to be eating or drinking while walking at the same time. You’re expected to be eating or drinking
either sitting down or just standing in place! You never know when you’ll drop some food,
or maybe spill a drink, either on the ground or on someone, ruining their day! To be honest, this actually really isn’t
a bad idea! 4 – Ooooh it’s a line! How much time would you be willing to spend
standing in line? Half-an-hour? Two hours? Obviously, it depends on what you are lining
up for. Still, most of us will have certain limits
when it comes to how long we are willing to wait. Well, Japan isn’t like that. Waiting in the lines and the etiquette of
waiting in a line are so ingrained in Japan, it’s actually amazing. Every year, Comic Con is held in Tokyo. About half a million people show up for the
event. Still, every year it’s nothing but a calm
frenzy. There are tons of people, yet no one is running
around or cutting ahead. This happens because of Japanese culture. Ever since they’ve been kids, Japanese people
learn that cooperation and respect is the only way everyone will get what they need. In Tokyo, with so many people around, lines
can get very, very long. Shops will often have lines painted on the
floor to direct the flow of the line. Some places get so popular people will wait
hours to buy whatever it is. And of course, sometimes, BECAUSE there’s
a line, people will jump in line just to try something out because it has to be good! Because why else is there a line?! 3 – Imperfections
Beauty standards in Western countries are very different those in Japan. While in many Western countries, beautiful
teeth equals straight teeth. However, that’s not the case in Japan. In Japan, “yaeba” is considered very attractive. The word “yaeba” roughly translates to
“multilayered” teeth. Yeahhhh…….lemme see those multilayered
teeth girl! Even though that doesn’t sound very attractive,
“yaeba” usually refers to the kind of smile where the canines are pushed a bit forward
by the molars. “Yaeba” smiles are seen as very cute,
and many men claim they consider it extremely attractive. This kind of smile became very popular when
some actresses began having these type of teeth. Tomomi Itano from the pop-idol group AKB48
was one of the most famous girls to have the yaeba crooked teeth. Now, it’s become so popular that women will
actually go get their straight teeth done crooked! Welllllllllllllllps. 2 – What trash cans?! If you ever go to Japan, you’ll notice that
there are very few trash cans. In public places, such as a subway station
or a public park, you would expect plenty of trash cans around. It’s a matter of public health, after all,
to keep the streets clean. But in Japan, there are simply not many trash
cans around. This is because back in the 90’s Japan suffered
a terrible terrorist attack. The doomsday cult released sarin gas into
subway trains during rush hour by placing the sarin in trash cans. The whole country was traumatized, so people
demanded the government do something to prevent any other possible attacks. The response was to take away the trash cans. So the next time you’re in Japan and you’re
planning on finishing that bottle of water……you’re gonna have to hold on to it until you get
back to the hotel! 1 – Purchasing Etiquette
For many people who go to Japan for the first time, keeping up with all these rules can
be hard to remember, and this is one of them. Paying for things in Japan isn’t as simple
as you may think. Many cities are overflowing with people, so
order must be maintained. In Japan, you know you’ll have to line up
before you pay for anything. Because everyone’s busy, people prepare
their money in advance. That way, once they get to the cashier, they
have their money ready. But the most important custom surrounding
payment is the money tray. To avoid any unintentional hand-touching,
Japanese shops will have a tray for you to put money or a credit card on instead of handing
it directly to the cashier. Also, it’s very rude to count the change. The cashier will count it for you, so when
they’re counting it back out to you, pay attention! Here’s what’s next!

Comments (4)

  1. Wat is the first of the year in which they have to do is a good casual the year in which they have to do is a good casual the year in which they have to do is a good casual the year

  2. Society that bases itself on community and no individuality vs western that promotes individual personality. Both have positives and negatives.

  3. What’s the deal with the person in orange kimono walking streets and sidewalks ringing s brass bell❓❓❓

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