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14 Signs the Japanese Identify Foreigners in the Crowd

Japan has one of the most complex systems of social conventions and rules of behavior. Due to seemingly insignificant mistakes, locals easily spot foreigners in the crowd. Fortunately, the Japanese are very receptive to inexperienced tourists who unknowingly break some rules. But even so, it is better to know these behavioral details.

Us from Iawesome.club We carefully reviewed the rules of social behavior in Japan, reviews from locals and tourists, and found 14 common mistakes that make it easy for Japanese people to recognize a tourist in a crowd.

1. Not paying attention to posture

The Japanese can easily identify a foreigner just by his posture. Locals note that many tourists are characterized by the curved back and the posture.

The Japanese themselves are very sensitive to posture and are rarely careless, always paying close attention to it.

2. Wear perfume

The Japanese are very sensitive to odors, so imported perfumes tend to seem very aggressive to them. According to perfumery owner Franco Wright, the Japanese may even find these scents offensive. The best fragrance for places is the absence of smell.

The perfume market in Japan is relatively small and there are not many options in cosmetic stores. Local brands produce perfumes that smell like washed body and hair, or freshly washed bedding.

3. Wear clothes that show your shoulders

Not to mention the cleavage! Japanese women, especially adults, dress very conservatively and, even in the heat, try to cover their shoulders and belly. To protect themselves from the sun, they wear umbrellas and long gloves. Therefore, tourists who walk around in open clothes can attract too much attention from the Japanese.

However, young Japanese girls often neglect this rule. They love to wear short skirts and shortseven in winter.

4. Do not remove your street shoes

In Japanese houses you don’t enter with street shoes. This rule is associated with Japanese ideas of hygiene and cleanliness. They divide the surrounding space into “clean” and “dirty” areas. The entire house, with the exception of the bathroom, is considered a “clean” area. And for the “dirty” area of ​​the bathroom, the Japanese invented special slippers. After all, the guest should not carry street shoes from the balcony to the bathroom.

Slippers at the entrance to the bathroom can be seen both in private homes and in restaurants and hotels. This is also very practical: the presence of slippers shows that the bathroom is free. The Japanese find tourists who sometimes forget to take them off when leaving the bathroom, committing a funny faux pas.

5. Show tattoos

In Japan, tattoos are not as common as in the rest of the world. People who have them tend to hide them with long clothes, socks or special tape when they go to the office or other public place.

For a tourist, a tattoo can make life a little more difficult. For example, he can’t get into the pool, SPA, gym or traditional Japanese bath. But if a foreigner exposes his tattoo on the street, on the subway or in a restaurant, he will likely receive a compliment.

6. Shake hands

Many tourists in Japan get confused when it comes to greeting. The Japanese don’t approve of close body contact., then you should not touch, hug or pat anyone on the shoulder. The most acceptable physical contact is a handshake, then wait for the host to extend it first. Otherwise, it is better to limit yourself to a bow.

7. Picking up objects that someone dropped on the street

The Japanese are extremely methodical about misplaced items. Without knowing it, the tourist can pick it up to try to identify its owner. It’s not worth doing. The maximum acceptable is move the item to a more visible locationl, so that the owner, when returning, can find it easily. Valuable items can be taken to the nearest police station.

8. Eating or drinking in public places

It is not forbidden, but it is still frowned upon, especially if the products are unpacked. The Japanese are very sensitive to cleanliness, so they may worry that the person will forget to pick up the trash later.

Currently, this rule is no longer so relevant, young people have started to allow themselves to have a snack on the street during the rush of everyday life. But they do it modestly and certainly not in a crowded subway car.

9. Offer a seat on public transport

It may seem strange, but the Japanese don’t release seats on subways, buses and trains. Some may even find it offensive, because by giving up your place, you seem to highlight the other person’s weakness. In addition, there are special seats in each car for the elderly and disabled.

10. Open the taxi door

When trying to stop a taxi on the streets of Japan, tourists often make a mistake. And that’s not surprising, because the rules in the country are very different from what we’re used to. When stopping a taxi, you you need to raise your hand not to the side, but up. And don’t touch the car door — the driver opens it for the passenger.

11. Leave tips

This is especially true in restaurants, cafes, taxis and hotels. The Japanese already know that the service they offer is good and do not expect additional incentives. On the contrary, they can even find a rude gesture. You just need to thank them politely. But guides who work with tourists are used to tips and don’t refuse them, but of course they don’t ask either.

By the way, in Japan it is not common to give money directly into the hands. Before you buy something, it’s best to put the bills in an envelope, not count them in front of the seller. If you don’t have any envelopes on hand, a special tray, which is available in all stores, will help.

12. Eat in silence

The Japanese prefer to eat with some ambient sound. If a tourist enters an empty and silent restaurant, the host will immediately turn on the TV or radio. For foreigners used to eating alone with their own thoughts, this might seem strange, because in Western culture, eating in silence is considered a manifestation of good manners.

13. Speak out loud

Many Japanese consider foreigners to talk loudly and gesticulate too much. In order not to be seen as a rude tourist, you should not, for example, talk on your cell phone in crowded transport. Only if there are few passengers and turning their backs or hiding.

And these rules don’t just apply to public places.

I don’t sleep until seven in the morning, because I work Moscow time, but I’m an absolutely quiet and proper person: I don’t listen to music, I don’t watch TV programs at high volume, I don’t do yoga at three in the morning. However, just get up to use the bathroom at night, and the neighbor starts yelling at me. I think the problem is Japanese houses where you can’t even breathe deeply. © mariarichard / Instagram

14. Publicly expressing attention to a person of the opposite gender

In Japanese culture, there is still a certain division of genders. Friendship between men and women is not very common, especially if you are married.

One of the biggest shocks I experienced in Japan was in the relationship between men and women. Upon reaching eight-nine years, boys and girls become ashamed of the opposite gender. For example, in any hobby group or club, men and women always sit on different sides. And any attempt by the presenter to speak to the female half of the audience is met with laughter and jokes in the style “Wow, what a womanizer!”🇧🇷 Don’t they believe in friendship between a man and a woman here? © Olivier Tarteaut / Quora

Would you be able to follow the Japanese rules of behavior without getting in the way? Which of these customs impressed you the most?


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