We asked expats living in Japan if they thought that simply living here has made them a better person. Find out the results: the good, the bad and the ugly!
The Japanese are known for their politeness, so it’s only natural that visitors to Japan want to know what to do, or not do, to avoid appearing rude. Check out this list of little behaviors that you won’t find in your guidebook.
Because ninja always strike when you least expect them too.
Remember when everyone’s minds were blown by images of Japanese fans tidying up their section after the World Cup? Well what might seem amazing to some is totally atarimae (obvious and expected) to the typical Japanese mindset. As your mother may have told you as a kid; you make the mess, you tidy it up! And the day after the massive Halloween party at the famous Shibuya crossing last weekend, volunteers were out in droves this year again with plastic bags and gloves to make the streets all sparkly again.
But just how many of them actually even contributed to the mess to begin with? According to reports on Twitter, not too many—and boy, are they angry…
I’m sure you’ve all been there: you’re walking behind someone who’s engrossed by their smartphone, constantly jabbing at its screen while strolling along, when suddenly they stop dead right in front of you and you have to take evasive maneuvers to avoid crashing into them.
You’d think that, as a country known for its impeccable manners, Japan would be immune to such inconsiderate behavior, but smartphone zombies are just as common here as anywhere else in the world. It really is a global epidemic.
One university in Thailand is taking steps to remedy the problem, however, introducing the first ever “mobile phone lane” for pedestrians who can’t seem to take their eyes off their cellphones while walking to and across campus.
Public transportation can be a cheap and convenient way to get around, but sometimes that means having to occasionally deal with rude strangers. For minor offenses, usually the best thing to do is ignore the situation and hope you’re not stuck with their unpleasant company your whole commute, but what happens when their behavior is so atrocious you and those around you can’t help but speak up?
In the best-case scenario, voicing your objection might urge them to re-think their actions, but for some, like this rowdy passenger captured on video in Shanghai, China, it may only serve to fuel their disorderly conduct.
It’s no exaggeration to say that Japan is pretty obsessive when it comes to societal safety and manners. Japanese people often go to ridiculous/disgusting lengths to stay safe and to make sure that visitors are aware of all the unspoken rules that permeate throughout the country.
But sometimes it’s all just too much, even for the native Japanese themselves. So we present to you a list of the top 10 things that even Japanese people think they’re too obsessive over. Are you just as paranoid as they are, or would you be considered a carefree spirit in Japan? Read on to find out!
If you’ve been on the train in Japan, you’ve likely seen the stickers and signs plastered everywhere around the priority seats asking people to make room for those who need and to turn off cell phones. While you should definitely continue to give your seat to anyone who needs it, starting next month, you’ll no longer have to feel guilty about playing Angry Birds in the priority seating section—unless it’s rush hour.
With thousands of temples, beautiful gardens, geisha and maiko (geisha-in-training), and more history than you can shake an encyclopedia at, Kyoto is the place to be when visiting Japan. So with so many tourists from around the world crowding into the city, a few are bound to step out of line.
Thankfully TripAdvisor Japan created a handy infographic showing how to politely visit Kyoto. Kyotoites are understandably protective of their city and its cultural and historical treasures, and some will not hesitate to correct you if you’re doing something rude or wrong. So to be sure that everyone is on the same page, here are a few simple rules to keep in mind when you visit this wonderful city.
We’ve seen impeccable displays of manners from Japanese high school baseball teams on many occasions before, from the respectful bowing of Yamagata Chuo High School to the classy stadium-cleaning deed of Kyukoku just the other day. It seems like the annual Koshien high school baseball tournament in Hyogo Prefecture really does bring out the best in the promising young players, as another team from Akita Prefecture has proven after being eliminated from this year’s tournament with their grand display of thanks in a regional hotel.
The corporate culture at RocketNews24 is pretty casual, but before I joined the team I spent several years working in the service and hospitality sectors. As a country that takes both work and etiquette very seriously, it’s probably not a surprise that Japanese business etiquette has a detailed code of proper conduct, all in an effort to foster an atmosphere of mutual respect and smooth cooperation.
Still, even for some people born and raised in Japan, the list of dos and don’ts can feel a little too long, and those who’d rather not have to stand on ceremony compiled a list of their own of the top 10 Japanese business manners young adults could do without.
Taking the train is by far the most common way to get around urban and suburban Japan. By its very nature, though, using public transportation means being out in public, which in Japan means following social norms about proper manners and not bothering your fellow passengers.
The average Tokyo commuter spends an hour each way on the train, though. It can be hard to follow all of the implicit rules of train etiquette during such a lengthy ride, and here are 10 minor breaches of etiquette that some Japanese men are willing to turn a blind eye to.
When you first set foot in Japan, it’s hard not to be impressed by the efficiency and social order. The streets are clean, trains run on time, and the people are quiet and polite, yet possess enough of the bizarre to be intriguing (cosplay, line-ups for chicken ramen-flavored ice cream or Lotteria 5-pattied tower burger anyone?).
Living in Japan, or even just visiting, can be a life-changing experience. No one returns to their country the same person as when they left. Here are some of the things that make such an impression on foreigners, they cause us to think a second time, and alter the way we think, act, or view the world. In short, they prompt us to make life changes. Just when you thought you knew it all…
Karaoke in Japan tends to be a little different from in the west, and it comes with its own set of rules and etiquette that it’s a good idea to learn if you want to keep being included in karaoke parties.
Whether it’s your first time ever singing in (semi-)public or you’re a seasoned karaoke veteran back home, these six tips for not being a total karaoke bore will help make your singing sessions super special (and not at all humiliating…).
Many cultural guidebooks contend that eating while walking is considered rude in Japan. That’s not entirely accurate. Sure, walking down the street while munching on a hamburger will make you look gluttonous, maybe laughably so, but no one’s going to get offended by your mobile meal.
What will upset some people, though, is smoking while walking, and not just because of the horrible stink and health effects of secondhand smoke. Puffing away while moving down the sidewalk can be downright dangerous to nearby kids and the wheelchair-bound, as this manga artist’s illustration reminds smokers.
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?
We’ve been seeing a lot of articles recently about how to use Japanese chopsticks correctly. For those of us who grew up using forks and knives, it may seem a bit silly to obsess over holding two sticks at the correct angles. If you plan on visiting, living in, or especially working in Japan at some point, though, it may be a good idea to get out a protractor and practice those angles to save yourself a lot of embarrassing moments with friends and coworkers later.
To help you out, we here at RocketNews24 have compiled seven facts about chopsticks to help you along in your quest for perfect Japanese table manners. Even if you’re a seasoned chopstick expert, you may learn a thing or two from our advanced-level tips.
With the invention of indoor plumbing and bathtubs (not really news to anyone, we’d hope), the traditional public bath houses and hot springs of Japan are now used for relaxing getaways more than actual hygienic necessity. Heck, even capybara soak in hot springs to relax!
Hot springs, known as onsen in Japanese, are also becoming popular with foreign visitors, at least those brave enough to bare it all in front of strangers. For health and safety reasons, there are quite a few rules to pay attention to when soaking in a public bath. A very nicely designed etiquette poster, which recently surfaced on TripAdvisor, is very thorough and is even teaching Japanese people a thing or two about the bathing experience!
Japanese people have a reputation for being polite and well-mannered, so the frequent sight of so many people, rather than giving up their seat as they should, suddenly becoming engrossed in their smartphones or pretending to sleep when a pregnant woman or elderly person boards always comes as a bit of a surprise to me.
Of course, there are still plenty of kind and courteous people who offer up their seat without fail. On such occasions, the elderly passenger will often decline the offer, either because they will be getting off in a couple stops, or because despite appearances they still feel young and genki enough to stand for the journey. One elderly man in particular, though, took offense at a young boy who kindly offered up his seat recently.
There’s still a lot of room for improvement regarding the availability of elevators in Japan’s train stations and other public facilities, but the country doesn’t have a totally sub-par record in helping the disabled retain their mobility. For example, on the sidewalks of most moderately large streets, you’ll find a row of bumps that operate as a guide for blind pedestrians, indicating not only any curves in the walkway but also warning of intersections and steps ahead.
Obviously, good manners dictate keeping the path clear, but in all that empty space one Japanese motorist saw a perfectly-placed parking spot. And while Japanese culture often errs on the side of not sticking your nose in other people’s business, it looks like one elementary school student couldn’t let this go without giving the driver a piece of his mind, even if the inconsiderate owner wasn’t anywhere to be found right then.