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Thursday, January 11, 2018

How to Behave in Japan

This may seem like an obvious topic but I'm realizing that its actually not. When people travel abroad leisurely, like for vacations, they only think they are on vacation. They don't think about the bigger meaning behind visiting a different country such as Japan. I'm going to share with you how you should behave in Japan and why it's so important.

Why you should behave in Japan?

You may think of your travels as an ordinary vacation, and so will your family, friends and co-workers. But let's look at this from the eyes of the Japanese. Most of them will see your decision to visit their country as a learning experience from both sides. Think of yourself as a delegate. A delegate is a person who visits a foreign country to make good ties between the two countries. In this sense, you are a representative of your country and the people. However you decide to behave in Japan will reflect heavily on the rest of your country. Since this is the case, you need to present yourself in a positive manner. Behaving yourself should be an obvious thing, but specifically for Japanese manners I suggest doing a little research before going (my blog is a great resource). You can have fun in Japan without acting out of line. Japan is a fun country to visit, especially when you get the locals to show you their culture. Don't give locals a reason to dislike foreigners. If you act out while in Japan all that does is leave a bad taste with the Japanese people. You will unintentionally be ruining other foreigners' interactions in the country.

A weird, but true example is foreigners being banned from certain restaurants and shops. In a visitors eyes this is seen as rude, but to the owner's eyes it can be seen as avoiding a problem they've had previously. They are not banning foreigners specifically out of hate. What happens is that an ignorant foreigner goes into an establishment and does something extremely rude and so the owner makes the decision to ban all foreigners. Tokyo is where this can mostly be experienced, but it is still rare to come across. But if you do come across this situation it can definitely ruin your trip. That's why I don't like to stay in Tokyo for too long when I go visit Japan.

How to behave in Japan.

If you do something bad, the only thing that will happen is that a Japanese worker will tell you no, such as filming in a store. It will most likely never go any further. The reason for this is that the Japanese are typically non-confrontational, they don't like trouble so that just try to stay out of the way of others. The society as a whole follows the motto of think about others before yourself. Will doing something disruptive as being loud disturb others? Yes, so then they will be mindful of their actions. Visitors to Japan need to act with this same consideration. Just think about what it is you are about to do, and will it bother other people. If so, don't do it. It's that simple!
Following the rules by waiting for the light to signal I can walk across.
Japan is built on respect. They respect other people, their environment and hard work. So one of the things you will need to keep in mind is not being wasteful. An example is with food. It takes a lot of effort to bring food onto the table to eat. Not just the workers and the chef, but the farmers too. It took many people's hard work to service and provide for you. You need to return that favor. I have a small stomach so I understand it can be a bit difficult to finish all your food. I usually order small and if I'm still hungry after eating then you can continue to order.
Cooking meat from a yakiniku shop. Ordering as we eat.

There's not much else to it. I think it's common courtesy and common sense but just in case it needed explaining, there it is. I did an article for my blogger friend that touch specifically on Japanese values if you'd like to learn more. It's a great read and goes into behavior in more detail than this. I really wanted to point out the why you should behave in Japan. I understand that some may feel they are not doing anything harmful, but disrupting their society and daily life is harmful. So just be on your best behavior when visiting Japan.

Please feel free to share this with others. If I wanted one of my blogs to really make a difference, it's gotta be this one.

Thanks as always for reading my blog. I really enjoy teaching other people about Japan and just sharing our love of Japan. For more Japan related content follow me on social media: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Until next time!