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Saturday, July 2, 2016

Habits You'll Come Back with from Japan

The most time I've spent in Japan was when I studied abroad. When you study abroad in Japan, it's like you're living there. Once you're in a place for so long you start to pick up habits from the lifestyle. Now, if you weren't a big fan of the lifestyle you'll probably go home being your old self. If you enjoyed and respected the lifestyle, like I did, you'll go back home with the habits you've learned while living in Japan.

So without further ado, here are some habits I picked up in Japan!


In Japan bowing is done frequently. You can bow for many reasons: acknowledging someone, thanking someone, or greeting someone. Some examples are when you walk into a store and they say "Irasshaimase." I give a little bow to acknowledge them. Another is when I'm saying "Arigatou." I bow as I say it to emphasis my thank you. I've bowed so many times in Japan, it became second nature. So you can imagine how weird I look in America when I'm at a restaurant and I'm greeted by the hostess. I'll tell her how many people will be eating at a table and she'll reply with "this way please." My initial response is saying thank you and giving a little bow as I follow her to our table. My husband will sometimes point out my bowing habit after the fact.


So in Japanese there is a formal way to say yes (hai- はい) and a casual way (un-うん). It's not unusual in Japanese to respond to a friend with "un." Through my stay in Japan I used it often. My friend would ask if I'd like to go someplace and I'd respond with "un." Another friend would sat that something was really amazing and I'd confirm with an "un." It's easy to use and very convenient. But coming back to America with this habit is a bit weird to others unfamiliar with it. I'll be with my friends or family and sometimes say "un" out of habit. My family will usually ignore it but some of my friends will say "un" back to mock me. I don't care if it makes no sense in America, I'm comfortable with saying it, "un."

Eating with your Hand Over your Mouth

This is a common gesture in Japan, especially among women. Go to any restaurant in Japan and you'll see it for yourself. They put a hand over their mouth because if they're having a conversation with someone while eating the food can't be seen while they talk. It's a courtesy in Japan. In America, not many people have this way of thinking. If you're having a conversation at the dinner table it's common to just talk while you're chewing. I personally don't like this so I brought the habit of covering my mouth back with me to my home in America. No one tells me anything about this habit (probably because it's a beneficial one). Yay for useful habits!

Those are the habits I can think of that I acquired from Japan and still do to this day. For those of you who've been to Japan, did you come back with any habits? I'd love to know!

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