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Thursday, November 2, 2017

It May Seem Rude to You, But Not in Japan

You know how there are certain things you do in your country that can be considered rude? Well, in other parts of the world it may be the opposite. I say this a lot, but Japan is a unique country with it's own culture and lifestyle. What you may think is rude, may not be in Japan. I live in America, so I will be talking about concepts I'm accustomed to.

Not saying "(God) bless you" after someone sneezes.

When someone sneezes, it is polite to say "God bless you" or "Bless you," depending on your preferences. If you don't say this to someone after they sneeze it will look bad on your part and it could be considered rude.

So, what about in Japan? If someone sneezes there's only silence right after. It is not customary to say "bless you" after someone sneezes in Japan, not even to say this in Japanese. If you do end up saying "bless you" to someone after they sneeze in Japan you may get a weird look. You'll get one of those what is (s)he doing kind of looks. It's not a bad thing if you accidentally say it by force of habit, but be prepared for those looks I was talking about because it is an odd thing to do in Japan. So don't worry about looking rude in Japan if you don't say "bless you" because it's not rude at all. Just keep going about your business.

Sniffling instead of blowing your nose.

I'm not sure about other parts of the world but in America, it is considered rude and disgusting to sniffle. And I'm not talking about little sniffles; I'm talking about those loud sniffles. Parents will usually tell their child to blow their nose. And in America it's totally okay to blow your nose in public for everyone to hear. Who doesn't like a good-old nose blowing?

The Japanese don't, that's who. In Japan it is not rude to sniffle, and keep sniffling the whole time. It is actually considered rude to blow your nose in public. I've even heard someone Japanese people say that it would be embarrassing for them to blow your nose in public. So if you're in Japan and you hear everyone sniffling (especially in the colder seasons), now you know why. Don't feel like you need to sniffle too if you'd rather blow your nose, at the sensation of sniffling could be rather irritating to some people. Just excuse yourself for the bathroom and blow your nose in private.
Tissues are handed out on the streets to promote businesses. These are usually used to wipe your hands.

Not hugging someone goodbye.

I live in the southern part of America, so we hug people we meet for the first time. But I feel when it's saying goodbye to someone we are not hesitant to hug them goodbye. I remember my parts always telling me to hug everybody goodbye when we were leaving. If you don't hug them goodbye it could be considered rude.

In Japan, any form of physical contact such as shaking hands or hugging can give the wrong idea in Japan. To many Japanese people any form of physical contact is considered to be something intimate. That's why Japanese people bow all the time, whether you meet someone for the first time or you've been knowing them for years. Bowing is their form of shaking hands or hugging. Now, this has changed for some Japanese people. If a Japanese person is familiar with American culture they will be more likely to give you a hand shake or hug. So if you don't give someone a hug goodbye in Japan, you won't look rude at all.


We were always taught not to slurp our food whether it was for soups or noodles. The sound of slurping can agitate some people and it can get very loud during a meal which is why it is considered rude.

But in Japan, slurp away! Slurp as loud as you want (you probably won't be the loudest slurper because it can be very difficult to do if you're not accustomed to doing it). Slurping is not considered rude in Japan, and is actually encouraged as it has many functions throughout your meal. Slurping your food (noodles, preferably) will help cool it down as it approaches your mouth. Many Japanese do not like to let their food get cold and have other things to do, so slurping makes things easier and faster. Not only that, but it also let's people know that you are enjoying the food.
Slurp your ramen!

Not tipping.

Once again I'm not sure about other countries, but in America it is rude to not tip people. The places we mainly tip at are restaurants, deliveries, hotels (bellhops) and valet parking. These places are know for being tipping spots because the positions of those jobs may not pay much, so many people in these positions rely on tips. If you don't tip it looks really bad.

I love Japan! There's no tipping, and it's totally okay! It is actually considered rude to tip in Japan because that's like telling someone that they didn't do their job right. In Japan, those jobs I was talking about above get paid fairly. Those people don't need to rely on tips because they are getting paid for their work. Please don't tip in Japan! If you do, they will think you accidentally left money and come chasing after you to return it. So no tipping! Even if it hurts you, don't tip.

Those are all the main things I can think of that are rude to us but not in Japan. I hope you all learned a little something about customs in Japan. It's a very different culture, so make sure to study up on it before going so you know what to do and not to do.

Thank you all for reading! For more Japan related content or just to chat about Japan, follow me on social media: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Until next time!