7 THINGS YOU CAN’T DO IN JAPAN
Before going to Japan, it would be useful to familiarize yourself with some cultural characteristics in order to avoid insulting the feelings of the Japanese. Manners and social rules are not universal, and it is easy to commit an oversight if you do not know the customs of the country. The Japanese are restrained and polite, so tourists often do not even understand that they are insulting someone from the locals. To help you understand the customs and traditions of the Land of the Rising Sun, we decided to introduce you to the 19 rules to be followed while in Japan.
1. REMOVE SHOES BEFORE YOU ENTER THE HOUSE
Let’s start with the simple. Most people know that in Japan you need to take off your shoes before entering a house. This is a reasonable and customary requirement for us. The Japanese do not like dust and dirt from the streets being brought into the house. Most houses have a small lobby, called Genkan, where you need to take off your shoes and put on slippers (guests’ slippers are often available). Pay attention: these slippers should be removed and stay in one socks when you enter the room with tatami.
2. DO NOT FORGET ABOUT SLIPPERS FOR THE TOILET
The Japanese have a special set of slippers for the toilet. They are often decorated with the appropriate word or pattern, so that it is clear what they are intended for. Just take off your slippers and put on toilet slippers. After visiting the toilet slippers should be changed. It sounds simple, but only at first glance. Quite often, tourists who come to rest in Japan, forget to change the toilet on slippers. But most Japanese are quite loyal about this cultural difference and don’t pay much attention to the curious behavior of forgetful tourists.
3. DO NOT STAND IN THE NEXT CABIN
For tourists who come to rest in Japan from the post-Soviet space, the queue in the toilet stall is quite commonplace. In Japan, the queue system is slightly different. Each person stands in front of a random booth and enters it when it is released, regardless of whether someone is waiting longer. For foreign tourists, this behavior of the Japanese may seem a manifestation of bad manners, but in fact it is the norm for Japanese society. That is why visiting some of the tourists call the lottery.
4. DON’T LOOK FOR WOMAN IN WESTERN STYLE
If you’re lucky, you may encounter one of those high-tech wonderful Japanese “thrones” with a control panel that warm the seat, dry it, eliminate odor and lose the melody. Some toilets even measure blood pressure. However, at some point on the next excursion, tourists are sure to encounter traditional Asian toilets with an outdoor toilet. Of course, if during a trip to Japan to visit Western restaurants, live in hotels in major cities, it is quite difficult to meet a traditional Asian toilet. But if you go on a trip to Japan, especially in small cities, you can find floor toilets, which represent a hole in the floor. Moreover, such toilets are quite typical for Japan, moreover, they are the norm for the Japanese. Please note: in traditional toilets, toilet paper is usually not provided, so always keep a pack of napkins in your pocket.
5. DO NOT ACCEPT BATH DIRTY
This may seem illogical, but the bath in Japan is not taken to cleanse the body. Baths are designed for relaxation after you have washed, for example, in the shower adjacent to the bath. Several people can bathe in the same hot water, so it is better to be clean before plunging into a common bath. This is a blissfully relaxing procedure, and not an ordinary wash, as some foreigners think.
6. DO NOT DRINK AND DON’T EAT DURING THE WALK
Unlike Western countries, where people constantly chew on the go, the Japanese prefer to stop and have a snack in a relaxed atmosphere. Perhaps this has something to do with their respect for food, because quite often, many Japanese people start eating with a prayer. Some people think that the reason why the Japanese do not like to eat on the move is much more banal: they just don’t want to get dirty. Whatever the reason, tourists will not see how the Japanese drink and snack while walking the streets, so it’s best for you to follow the same unwritten rules. Even street food, auto food and fast food deserve a break and eat sitting or standing.
7. DO NOT REMOVE RICE WITH SOY SAUCE
Rice is the main starchy product in Japan, and small plates with sticky white grains are served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, contrary to Western tastes, the Japanese do not season rice with soy sauce. Local tourists will look with horror at a tourist who has come to rest in Japan if he adds salty sauce as a seasoning. Rice is designed to balance the flavors of other dishes on the table. If needed, you can dip a piece of rice in a small bowl with soy or another sauce to give it a flavor. But in no case should soy sauce be poured into a bowl of rice.