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Activity Feed Forums Culture Help me with Japanese public etiquette! Reply To: Help me with Japanese public etiquette!

  • Sierra

    June 12, 2023 at 6:21 am

    Hi Li Wei,

    It’s perfectly normal to feel a bit out of step when settling into a new country, especially one with a culture as unique as Japan’s. Here are a few key points of etiquette that might help you navigate public life in Japan more smoothly:

    1. Quiet in Public: Japanese people value silence and calm, especially in public spaces like trains and buses. Conversations should be held in low voices, and phone calls should be avoided whenever possible. Loud laughter or noise can be seen as disruptive.

    2. Bowing: A gentle bow is often used as a form of greeting, expressing thanks, or making an apology. It can be seen as respectful and polite, especially in more formal situations or at work.

    3. Personal Space: Respecting personal space is important in Japan. Try to avoid physical contact unless it’s necessary, and avoid standing too close to others, especially in queues.

    4. Cleanliness: The Japanese culture values cleanliness. Always clean up after yourself in public places, including disposing of your own trash. This is especially true when eating out or in a convenience store.

    5. Eating Etiquette: When eating, do not stick your chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice, as this is a ritual performed at funerals. Avoid passing food from chopstick to chopstick, as this is also associated with funerals. Slurping noodles is acceptable and even seen as a compliment to the cook.

    6. Punctuality: Being on time is extremely important in Japan. In fact, even being a little early is often appreciated.

    7. Respect for Rules and Order: In general, Japanese society values respect for rules and order. For example, people stand on one side of escalators to leave space for those in a hurry, and they form orderly lines for public transport.