• International Insurance Blog

  • Sunday, March 18, 2018

“Konnichiwa” hello, to world of Japanese. Japan is a country that has an ancient and thriving culture. Japanese are very particular about their manners and etiquette and would be offended if not reciprocated by the other party. So before you travel to the Land of Rising Sun, remember to brush up on Japanese etiquettes.

Let’s start with body language and the appropriate postures. When you first meet someone say “Hajime-mashite” which basically means to begin a new acquaintance. Japanese people prefer not to stand close to others. Maintain a distance and do not speak with your hands in the pocket. That’s considered rude. When it is a formal meeting (boss, business) then a bow is suited, when it is just a normal occasion then they will just nod their head. If you have to indicate an object or direction to someone, wave your fingers with the palm downwards. Do not take a smile as being a signal of happiness, the Japanese smile when mad, embarrassed, and sad or disappointed. Dressing appropriately is required when meeting for any sort of business. When visiting someone, sit towards the edge to show proper respect and leaning back means closeness. So now that we know how to dress and converse with a Japanese counterpart, lets move on to eating etiquettes.

Eating and drinking while walking down the street is considered impolite to others. There is no American way like “help yourself.” Do not eat until the host offers food. In Japan, you say “itadakimasu” (“I gratefully receive”) before eating, and “gochisosama (deshita)” (“Thank you for the meal”) after finishing the meal. It is normal to make slurping noises when drinking or eating noodles. It shows that you enjoy the food and keeps it from burning your mouth. Do not leave a mess when you’re done eating. Put your chopsticks down, fold your napkins and fix your area.

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