Be A Good Gaijin
Ok, so, Japan is a country of rules in the realest way. I could literally host a 3-day webinar on all the rules and how many times I’ve broken them unintentionally/because, America. In lieu of that, here are some crucial tips to remember.
Low-Key Condescending, but Important Cultural Etiquette Tips for n00bs ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
- Take off your shoes. TAKE EM OFF. DO IT. (If you’ve been to my crib, you already know this is like “open sesame,” but srsly. Major 🗝)
Get used to bowing. Don’t try to shake everyone's hands.
Carry cash. While they probably have technology that enables you to pay with your mind, most places are old-school.
Japanese taxi drivers are magic; do not open or close their magic taxi doors. They’ll get a lil’ pissy if you do. Awkward.
Pour drinks for other people. And while you’re at it, try to generally shed as many individualistic tendencies Western culture has indoctrinated us with.
Don’t cut in line or be banished to queuing purgatory. Especially important on the train platform--it’s not like NY. (I know you’re probably like, “Ok, STFU Anna, you need to chill.” But you’ll see what I mean.)
Plz don’t stab your chopsticks in rice. Otherwise, my mom will personally teleport to wherever you are to audibly gasp in your ear. Forever. Here’s why.
As if you’re receiving a handwritten letter from the Obamas *tear*, accept business cards with two hands. You’ll come across as an ultra respectful business bawse.
With all of this said, don’t let the inevitable and palpable pressure of being a clumsy, sweaty, bumbling gaijin turn you into a paranoid, sad tourist.* For better or for worse, foreigners often get a pass on these things and Japanese people are extremely polite
*Lots of self conscious projection here.
Su-mi-ma-sen (Excuse me/sorry)
Do-mo a-ri-ga-tō (Thank you)
- Ei-go ga ha-na-se-mas ka (Do you speak English?)
- Wa-ka-ri-ma-sen (I don’t understand)