Ten Things to Avoid in Japan

I’ve done most of the following in Japan over the past eight years so if you come over, I’ll spare you the embarrassment. Some of the following may seem like no-brainers…

1. Never walk into someone’s home with your shoes on.
Japanese people feel like this is very dirty and disrespectful.

2. Always walk on the left side. This goes for driving in Japan too.

3. Never go to someone’s home unexpected even if you think this Japanese friend of yours is very close.

4. Never be late for an appointment. There is no Hawaii time in Japan. Japanese run their time and life like a top time planning seminar guru in the States.

5. Never call in sick. This was a big one for me to over come in Japan. Everyone works sick here. People even die on the job from being over worked. Also, if your job ends at five, be prepared to work until most of your work is done even if you need to punch out at five and go back in to clean up the days deeds.

6. Do not start eating first when eating out with Japanese or eating at there home. Everyone starts together.

7. Do not tell American jokes like “hey you’re looking fat today-just kidding.” The old saying that all people must enjoy a joke in order for it to be funny is the golden rule in Japan. Respect for others is one of the highest values in Japan so these types of jokes are way out of line.

8. Speak very slow and when people don’t understand, avoid getting frustrated. Japanese people don’t have to speak English because Japanese is the main spoken language.

9. Forget about you when talking with Japanese people and let them do all the talking. This is hard and takes some work on your part but they’ll love you for it if you can get them to open up to you. What you don’t want is to hold a Japanese person hostage to your story. You may think their enjoying it but believe me, they’re not.

10. Never stick your chopsticks in your rice causing them to stand straight up. This means death in Japan.

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