5 things not to do in Japan (unless you want to look like a complete dope)
People on social media today have been gushing over how sound Japanese people are.
After getting kicked out of the World Cup yesterday, the Japanese team cleaned their locker room until it actually shined and left a note saying thank you in Russian. So cute.
And it wasn’t just them. Their fans stayed behind after the match to help tidy up the stadium. Jeeze. And I make a fuss when I have to empty the dishwasher.
So it got us thinking that we’d like to follow their example. Not that we’re going to go cleaning up any stadiums. We just want to make sure that if we go on a trip to Japan we don’t end up looking like utter gobshites.
I lived in Japan for a year so it meant that I learnt a few basic rules that stopped me making a fool out of myself. And because we’re nice, we thought we’d save you the embarrassment too. So, without further ado, here are the top five things you absolutely should not do in Japan.
1. Get off your phones when you’re on public transport.
In Japan, it is not the done thing to be nattering away to someone who is not physically there beside you. Never fear though, the Japanese are big silent phone users so you can still scroll through Instagram to your heart’s content.
2. Take your shoes off inside.
Of course, there are a lot of buildings where you can keep your shoes on but if you visit an onsen, a ryokan or an enclosed booth in an izakaya, leave your boots at the doorway. Unleash your sole.
Forgetting to take your shoes off in someone’s house is one of the few things that might get you shouted at by a Japanese person.
3. Do not eat while you’re walking.
This is a bit of a weird one and it’s also really annoying because Japan has amazing, portable food at every corner. Combinis, a.k.a. convenient stores and just one of the many wonderful things that make up Japan, provide you with a wide variety of ready-made meals which they will heat up for you on the spot. Honestly, if you were to break this rule we wouldn’t really blame you but remember – don’t make a mess! And that brings us to...
4. Don’t litter.
Now this one may seem pretty obvious. I mean, you’re not really supposed to litter anywhere. Except in Japan, there are no bins. For real. The only place you’re likely to find a bin is outside a combini. Apart from that, there’s no option other than to keep it until you get home. Just don’t litter.
5. Watch your chopsticks.
When you’re eating out and you’re taking a little break from the food, make sure not to leave your chopsticks sticking upwards out of your bowl. This is how rice is offered up to the spirit of a dead person at their funeral so leaving chopsticks like that as a big no-no. Just lay them side-by-side on your plate or bowl and you’re laughing.
So these are a few of the little tips I picked up living in Tokyo. Hopefully, they might help you avoid some judgmental stares or morto moments, but if you are heading over to the land of the rising sun what’s most important is that you don’t forget to have fun. Sayonara.