50 JAPANESE MANNERS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE VISITING

Lifestyle

  • DON’T be late for appointments.
  • DON’T use too much physical or eye contact. Avoid back slapping, prodding, or pointing your finger at someone.
  • DON’T talk on your cell phone on trains or buses.
  • DON’T chew gum when working or in formal situations.
  • DON’T wear a lot of jewelry or bright colored clothes to work.
  • DO receive business cards with both hands when handed and DO pay close attention to the card’s details.
  • DON’T shout at someone to get their attention. DO wave or go up to them to get their attention.
  • DO face away from people or leave the room when blowing your nose.
  • DON’T wear tattered clothes in public or socks with holes when visiting someone.
  • DO stand on the left side of escalators if you are standing to let others in a rush pass on the right.
  • DON’T make sarcastic remarks to make a point.
  • DO keep the noise level down in residences, as Japanese walls are thin with poor insulation.
  • DO take off your shoes before entering someone’s home.
  • DO bring some food or drinks when visiting someone.
  • DO see a guest to the door or front of the building when they leave.
  • DO act calmly and respectfully when visiting temples and shrines.
  • DO rinse your body before getting into a bath.
  • DON’T wear your toilet slippers outside of the toilet room.
  • DO keep physical intimacy (holding hands, kissing, hugging, etc.) to a minimum in public areas.
  • DON’T jaywalk across a street. DO wait for the light to indicate it is safe to cross the road.
  • DO take off your backpack on crowded trains. DO hold it in your lap.
  • DO let the taxi driver open the back right door when entering or exiting the taxi.
  • DON’T walk and smoke in public.
  • DON’T interrupt someone in conversions. DO allow for small periods of silence in conversations.
  • DON’T use the number “4”. It has a connotation of death in Japan.
  • DON’T express your opinion.
  • DO dress modestly, especially if you are a female.
  • DO act modest when given a compliment by someone.
  • DO fan your hands sideways a few times, palms facing outwards, in front of your face to indicate the gesture “No” to someone.

Eating

  • DON’T eat or drink while walking down the street.
  • DON’T lick your fingers or clean your fingernails in front of others.
  • DON’T pour your own drink when eating with others. DO pour your companion’s drink, and your companion pours yours.
  • DO leave your glass full if you do not want any more to drink.
  • DO place your portion of food on your own dish if sharing something to eat.
  • DON’T point at someone with your chopsticks.
  • DON’T leave a mess on your place. DO fold your napkin neatly.
  • DON’T pour soy sauce over rice.
  • DON’T add sugar or cream in your tea.
  • DON’T help yourself to food. DO wait for the host to offer.
  • DO cover your mouth when using a toothpick.
  • DO make slurp sounds when eating noodles.
  • DON’T count your change after paying the bill in a store or restaurant.
  • DO wait till everyone has a drink till you drink your beverage.
  • DON’T waste soy sauce. DO pour a small amount.
  • DO eat sushi in one bite.
  • DON’T stick your chopsticks upright in your dish at a restaurant.
  • DO use the opposite end of your chopstick to take food from a shared plate if you have already eaten with them.
  • DON’T leave a tip. Instead you can say “gochisosama deshita” (“thank you for the meal”) when leaving.
  • DON’T search for the best piece on a shared plate. DO take the piece closest to you.
  • DO pick up a soup bowl with your hands and sip directly from the bowl.

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