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7 things that are rude elsewhere, but OK to do in Japan

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Jeanh, Aug 10, 2015.

  1. There are many communication rules in Japan and sometimes they might confuse you of what is appropriate and what not. However, there are a few rules that would be considered impolite in the other countries, but in Japan, those rules are not applicable.

    1. Pushing people inside when getting on a train
    It sometimes gets too crowded in Tokyo trains to apologize each time you have to push someone in order to get on or get off the train.

    2. Shouting out loud in the restaurants
    What to do when you need to call a waiter to your table when eating out? Just shout “Sumimasen!” (excuse me) out loud and they will be at your service as soon as possible. This is a normal thing to do in the Japanese restaurants!

    3. No tips!
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    Japanese does not have tipping. The surprising fact is that sometimes tips are considered to lower a person’s pride.

    Giving tips may create inconveniences to both the customers and the people at service. Without tips, a sense of equality is created among everyone within the service and it makes people feel much more comfortable, and hence, the work’s results can be enhanced. Thanks to this, the Japanese service industry is considered to be one of the best in the world.

    4. Being indirect
    The Japanese do not like conflicts, they usually do not address the matters directly. The complaints are also said in a much lighter way and you need to think of the hidden meaning to actually get what they mean to tell you. In many cases, the Japanese often exaggerate their comments. For example, even though your Japanese is only so-so, they will keep saying how good it is in front of you.

    It does not mean that the Japanese are being sarcastic when they talk to you. They are just trying to be polite to people, with no means of insulting and being disrespectful.

    Somehow, this is often a source of cultural conflicts because to Western people, being indirect in expressing your true thought is often considered to be disrespectful to other people.

    5. Interrupting when the other person is speaking
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    While talking with a Japanese, you will often hear they say many random things during the conversation. For example, “Eh?”, or “Souka” (I see), or “Hontou ni!” (Really!). Although interrupting while others are talking is considered as being rude in many countries, in Japan, it is seen as showing the interest in your stories. To Japanese people, this is one way to express their attention, care and urge to know more about the matters that you are talking to them about!

    6. No door-holding for other people
    In most situations, the Japanese rarely hold the door for other people. In Japan, there is no such thing as ‘men must hold the doors for women’. It does not necessarily mean that Japanese men are impolite because to the Japanese, being a gentleman has nothing to do with the door holding.

    7. Producing noise when eating
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    While eating noodles (ramen, soba or udon), producing noise as loud as possible is equal to being respectful to the chef who has made the dish for you. Therefore, this action is totally normal to Japanese people. Of course, it takes time to get used to this habit. Moreover, some people believe that the food tastes much better when you eat and produce noise at the same time!
  2. Thanks for sharing :)
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