Uh oh, have you been behaving like an oafish gaijin?
Onsen etiquette can be confusing for a foreigner visiting for the first time, and there are many small rules and customs that even many Japanese people aren’t quite clear on. There aren’t usually any written instructions around the baths as it is expected that everyone will already know the basic customs surrounding communal bathing. This means that things people who have grown up in Japan take for granted, such as putting your shoes in a locker when you arrive or knowing which towels to use for what, can be hard to figure out for first-timers, and your supposedly relaxing spa break can become a little bit stressful.
Check out the video below to see how our Japan Wish competition winner Ashley navigated her first ever trip to an onsen and see if she found it relaxing…or stressful!
One of the first things you notice when you visit Japan is how nice and polite everyone seems to be. Shop staff bow to you, people greet you in the hotel lobby, even the guy at the combini sprints across the store to open up the second register when there’s more than one person waiting to be served.
But spend any prolonged amount of time here and you’ll realise that there are plenty of rude people here too (just like in the rest of the world…). And there are even a few niceties we in the west generally perform as a matter of habit that just aren’t part of the Japanese way of doing things.
So just how are Westerners unintentionally schooling the Japanese in manners?
Did you know that you’ve probably been eating sushi wrong this whole time? Check out this video from a pro sushi chef to see how you should be doing it if you want to be a real sushi gourmet.
Japanese food, called washoku in Japan, has just been registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, but you didn’t need an official declaration to know that sushi and tempura are absolutely delicious. But while enjoying Japanese food, have you ever mixed wasabi and soy sauce as a dip for your sushi? Or how about using your bowl as a chopstick rest? If so, you’ve committed an etiquette faux pas. Take a look at our list of 10 little-known rules for eating Japanese food and save yourself some embarrassment while enjoying a traditional Japanese meal.
Thanks to the wonder of the internet, unlike in the past when we had to make do with what our local retailer had in stock or pay extortionate amounts for specialist items, with just a few clicks we have access an array of products from all over the world. As a result, many consumers are willing to try new and unusual things, and are using the net to get their hands on the products that they can’t get in their home country. Today we’d like to introduce you to a heartwarming story of internet shopping, great customer care, and of course sweet, delicious chocolate.