Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Culture Differences

So the other day I was talking to a few American friends back home and I kind of realized that a lot of Americans don't know a lot of culture differences so here's a few essentials if you ever plan on traveling to Japan.

First, Japanese take baths EVERY night, and it's unusual if someone doesn't.

Next, walking inside a Japanese house with your shoes on is VERY disrespectful... In fact, they'd be utterly horrified if you did something of the sort. It's a sin to do so.

Also, at school, students have to say "Konnichiwa" and a bow (only with the head, though, sometimes a few boys will stop and bow) whenever they walk by a teacher in the hallway, other wise it's also very, very disrespectful.
----Students will also bow and say "Konnichiwa" to Senpai/s (Older students then them in the same club).

Whenever meeting someone for the first time, make sure to bow (unless you're walking***if you bow and walk you'll probably run into something ;) and also when seeing someone who you aren't close to, but know, it's also best to bow.

VERY IMPORTANT. Hand objects to people with TWO HANDS. Although this is often forgotten between friends and informal situations, it can be considered rude if you don't (unfortunately I made this mistake). Also, with sharp objects (such as scissors) NEVER hand them with the sharp point pointing towards the person you're handing the object to, other wise this is rude too.

The toilets here are different too. They are basically porcelain holes inside the ground and you have to squat to go to the bathroom.

Most Japanese houses have at least one traditional room with a tatami floor.

There is the formal way and informal way to speak in Japanese... be careful which one you use for which situations. And for names too, there are formal and informal ways to call someone. For example, one of my friends (who is older than me) will call me Holly-chan (chan is used for people you're close to or to people**usually girls** younger than you. But one probably don't want to add this to a boy's name. It can sound degrading. Be careful when using chan). Anyway, when we're with friends or by ourselves I'm Holly-chan but in formal situations (like introductions) I'm Holly-san (Miss Holly). When in doubt, use -san for someone's last name. But for really formal situations -sama.

Another thing about names, Japanese usually call each other by last names unless they are close friends, or have requested to be called by their first name.

Before eating, say "Itadakimasu" (I humbly recieve this) and afterward eating "Gochisosama deshita".

Hmmm... so that's all I can think of at the moment!


  1. Continue to share your cultural experiences! Your stories are fascinating ways to keep us linked to the far corners of the world.
    Also, I am sending an early HAPPY BIRTHDAY wish on your blog!!

  2. Hi Holly I just wanted to say... HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

    -Abby G :)