It is always better idea to know about that place you are going to either for study or for work. So, before going to Japan, there are a lot of things to know first. You may have heard different things about Japan and their people like Japanese people are very strict and the interesting thing is some of your basic
instincts might go completely against Japanese culture. For example, speaking and laughing loudly is often taken as embarrassment in Japanese culture. So, here are the top things you need to know before going to Japan.
1.JAPAN HAS FOUR DISTINCT SEASONS
You must know the weather of your desired place. In general, Japan has four distinct seasons, but if you’re planning on moving around the country keep in mind that temperatures can vary depending on where you stay. Japan’s latitude stretches over several climates. Hokkaido can stay chilly as late as June, while Okinawa starts to get warm as early as January. If you plan to remain mostly in central Japan, generally you can pack according to the season unless you intend to go to Mt. Fuji or other high-altitude areas. Mt. Fuji’s summit averages -7°C (20°F) annually. Even on hot, summer 30°C (86°F) days, Fuji’s peak can dip as low as 7°C (44°F) with winds reaching an annual average of 11 miles per second.
2. MASTER THE ART OF BOWING
Bowing is more of art like in Japan. The duration and inclination of the bow is proportionate to the elevation of the person you’re addressing. For example, a friend might get a lightning-fast 30-degree bow; an office superior might get a slow, extended, 70-degree bow. It’s all about position and circumstance.
3. DON’T FORGET THE CASH MONEY
You may have the habit of carrying credit or debit cards.But in Japan, you’ll find this opposite in nature as Japan’s economy is cash-centered, and many business firms don’t accept credit cards. Large companies in big cities have credit card facility, but your neighborhood shop may not. And forget about using a credit card for riding public transportation. You can’t use a card to buy a train ticket, ride a bus, and some taxi drivers only accept cash.
4. CHOOSE THE LEFT SIDE
On the streets, you might quickly notice Japanese people drive on the left side of the road. Take heed that they walk on the left side as well! Of course, this isn’t a hard truth, there are exceptions, but most Japanese people will gravitate towards the left side and not the right. You’ll find this especially true when in indoor places like malls or stations, and crowded areas like festivals and markets. If you’re not used to this, try to pay attention as much as possible as to not run into anyone. While you’re watching out for the crowds, you might notice a sight that could seem a little unusual.
5. MASK WEARING HABITS
When you are passing through, you’ll see a person wearing a surgical mask every so often. And Japan isn’t filled with unemployed dentists. There could be the several reasons wearing masks. Most commonly, they wear masks if they have a cold and don’t want to cough and sneeze on others. Some do it to prevent from being coughed and sneezed on. And some women use mask when they don’t have time for makeup!The number of people sporting a mask face goes up in the spring and winter. Masks can prevent dust and pollen from entering the system in the warm months, and protect your face from the dry air when it’s cold outside. Don’t feel concerned when you see someone wearing a mask in Japan.
6. TAKING OFF YOUR SHOES AT A RESTAURANT
Take off your shoes at the entrance to all homes, and most businesses and hotels. Usually, a rack will be provided to store your shoes, and pair of guest slippers will be sitting nearby; many Japanese bring a pair of indoor slippers just in case, though.
7. KNOW TO USE CHOPSTICKS
You may have habit of having meal with your hand or fork.But, if you don’t know how to use chopsticks yet, start practicing! You’ll have to use them at some point, and you can’t always ask for forks. You don’t need to concern yourself with using perfect form, but never put your chopsticks in your rice upright. Japanese people only do this during a funeral, and every other guest will notice. Otherwise, no one will judge you for how poorly you might use chopsticks.If you’re having a lot of trouble, it’s perfectly acceptable to hold your small plate or rice bowl close to your mouth. If you can’t get the hang of it, there are plenty of dishes that don’t require chopsticks.
8. NO TIPPING CULTURE
The price on the bill is the price you pay. To tip someone is actually a little insulting; the services you’ve asked for are covered by the price given. If you a tip, the staff will chase you down and return it. As much as you insist they take it, they’ll insist harder that you take it back. Restaurant employees usually get paid by the hour and don’t depend on tips. That goes for taxi drivers, hairdressers, massage therapists, and so on.
9. METRO SYSTEMS DON’T RUN 24 HOURS
Depending on where you stay, some bus systems might finish in the early evening, and trains may stop running shortly before or after midnight, even in Tokyo. If you miss the last train, it’s possible to return by taxi if you’re willing to pay the extra nighttime percentages. Japanese people usually stay over in a capsule hotel or stay out partying until morning. If you can keep up join in the fun! Many establishments stay open through the night to serve stragglers. Keep in mind that drinking and smoking laws might differ from you’re home country.
10. HIGH-TECH REPUTATION, LOW-TECH LIFESTYLES
Japan has a reputation for always being at the forefront of the world’s technologies. Cars, home electronics, and robotics that come out of Japan make up key components of the economy. Everyday life, however, hasn’t caught up with the latest developments. Businesses and government institutions still use pen and paper methods by and far. If you need to retrieve or replace essential documents, the bureaucracy struggle can be real. Duplicate and triplicate all of your important papers! It may seem inconvenient, but it could save you a lot of time in an emergency.
Hope you know a lot about Japan and its culture. If you have any queries, let us know.