Like people of any other society, Japanese also follow a specific code of etiquettes, which rules the social behavior of the people. In effect, it is mandatory for every individual to conform to the customs and traditions and to follow them without fail. While some of the traditions are being followed since ages, some have been modified in modern times. Still, no matter what, even visitors are expected to learn these customs and abide by them, till the time they are in the ‘Land of Rising Sun.‘ So, to escape embarrassment, go through the list of the conventional customs and traditions followed in Japan, listed below.
Japanese Family Customs
- Bathing is an important part of Japanese daily routine. A traditional bathtub in Japanese bathrooms is quite small, square in shape and deep enough to hold water till shoulders. However, soaping and scrubbing is done before entering the tub. The water in the tub is kept warm and used without soap. All the people in the family use the same water for bathing.
- Giving gifts is another popular tradition in Japan. In case you tend to go out of town, it is supposed to be a courtesy to bring back some souvenir from the place. However, the gift should not be too expensive and should belong to the place you visited; otherwise its authenticity will be lost.
- In Japan, exchange of business cards is the first step towards any business relationship. Thus, if you are in Japan or a business trip, make sure you have plenty of visiting cards available. Moreover, whenever, you receive a business card, read it with interest and also comment profusely. Simply taking the card and putting in pocket is considered rude in Japan.
- Bowing is the most common as well as the most popular tradition of Japan. Japanese bow when they meet or part from each other, in order to show gratitude or respect.
- Removing shoes is another prevalent practice in Japan. While entering houses, schools and many other buildings, people are expected to remove shoes. It is basically done to keep the house clean. Make sure you are wearing decent socks, as you will be expected to take off your slippers when seated on tatami mats.
- The use of chopsticks while eating is quite common in Japan. After you have finished your meal, keep your chopsticks across your dish or on the side. Never leave them in your bowl or standing in your rice. This is done only on funerals and is thus considered disrespectful.
- While going out with friends for a drink, do not just fill your own glass, as it is considered rude. Once you have drunk enough, leave the glass full or it will be filled again. It is also customary to split the bill amongst friends, irrespective of how much you have spent.
- It is customary to say "Itadakimasu" before starting to eat and drink or else it is considered rude.