That’s so different! 6 Japanese customs that foreigners get surprised for!
In 2017 about 28,000,000 foreigners came to Japan, I think Japan has become a very popular country.
Even more foreign tourists are expected to visit the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.
Maybe for the many foreigners who visit Japan, Japanese culture and customs might be often surprising!
For this reason, this time I would like to introduce some of those customs to you♪
1. Public security
Japanese extreme low crime rate is world-wide known.
Have you ever noticed for instance, that in Japan only few people are worried that their bag could be stolen if they leave their seats in a café?
There is no such thing abroad!
When I was abroad, once I was buying train tickets at the station, when I caught a pickpocket around me just because I placed my hand luggage on the ground for a second.
It seems that this kind of episodes happens every day, that’s why my foreigner friends are so surprised when Japanese people leave their bag anywhere without any worries.
2. Trains are always on time
In Japan, transportation facilities are widely developed especially in Tokyo and in urban areas.
Also, the number of commuters is relevant too!
The extraordinary punctuality is another reason why foreigners get so surprised in Japan!
Occasionally there might be delays but even in those cases you can arrive on time, at least with a minute to spare too.
3. Short Holiday break
In Japan summer holyday and winter holiday are during the Obon period (mid-August) and New-year period. Each holiday takes more or less one week.
However, in countries like France, according to the law is possible for workers to ask for vacations.
For this reason, in France it’s even possible to get one month of vacation!
One of my French friend got a month of vacation to come in Japan for a long-term stay.
Such an attractive perspective when you can fully enjoy your vacation as well as your job…!
4. Protective masks
Recently more than ever, it’s not difficult at all to see Japanese people by the street wearing protective masks!
Moreover, it seems that many people wear a protective mask not because of a cold or something like that, they wear it with a different purpose:
Hide their own face because they have a complex about it, or sometimes, more simply, hide their face because they didn’t put some makeup on.
This is what Japanese people call “だてマスク (Da te Masuku)”.
The number of people who wear “Da te masuku” is increasing.
When I was abroad, I didn’t feel I could wear with no worries a mask in the “familiar” Japanese way.
5. High-tech toilets
Nowadays in Japan washlet toilets are very common.
About 60% of Japanese families have a washlet toilet in their house.
I think that from foreigners’ point of view washlets are incredible high-tech products!!
Even public toilets are clean and beautiful too, like in department stores for instance! Washlets are set in private toilet rooms in order to guarantee to people privacy.
6. Immediate apologies
The word “sorry” in Japan is very very used.
Behind this word of course there is the intention to apologize, but actually it is not uncommon for Japanese people to say “sorry” meaning “thank you” instead.
This is probably hard to understand for all those who are studying Japanese, but this is a reflection of the modest temper of Japanese people!
On the contrary, it is said that abroad, depending on the reason why someone would like to apologize, it is not good to apologize first because there is the risk to give a bad impression.
Therefore, the immediate and frequent Japanese style-apologies sometimes may cast doubt on their authenticity.
Let’s learn more about Japanese culture and customs!
What’s your opinion about these aspects of Japanese culture?
This time I tried to introduce some of those Japanese customs that surprise foreigners a lot.
Everybody knows that each country has a different culture and different customs, but the first impact always causes a surprised reaction.
It could be interesting to consider cultural differences not only from foreigners’ point of view but even from the Japanese’s one!
Who knows, maybe lots of new discoveries are waiting for you!