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Getting Familiar With Japanese Traditions

Before going to Japan, it is only right that you should acquaint yourself with the various Japanese customs and traditions that you will be able to encounter along your trip. A lot of foreigners don’t realize it, but even if they only have the most sincere of intentions, they could still offend some people. This is why its best to arm yourself with at least the basic information about Japanese traditions as well as their customs so you won’t end up looking rude or embarrassing yourself in front of the locals.

Don’t get easily disheartened by thinking that it is almost close to impossible to be able to learn these Japanese traditions and customs, you really need not be an expert on it, just try to be open-minded about their local customs and traditions, remember that you’re going to be in their territory so you must learn to respect them.

Giving gifts to your hosts or when there’s a special occasion is something that is considered as an act of kindness and generosity in Japanese traditions and customs. Expect that your newfound friends will very well receive you. In case you are moving to Japan, the same thing applies for your new neighbors, just a small token – like a souvenir from your native country is already good enough and would be greatly appreciated.

Try to limit your gifts to things that are not extravagant because you might just embarrass the people that you are giving it too. Modesty is a very admirable trait in Japanese culture. Giving small tokens from your trips to the people that you are close to or are your colleagues are referred in Japanese traditions as “omiage”.

As for instances wherein you are invited in a Japanese home, it is polite to also give your hostess a simple gift just to show your hosts that you are very appreciative of their invitation. Don’t worry when they won’t open your gift at once, it is a usual Japanese custom and in case you’re given a gift as well you should definitely do the same – unless the giver urges you to open it.

Also remember to take your shoes off before going inside a Japanese home. The tatami – the mats that cover their floors, are extremely delicate. Your hosts will offer you house slippers to wear although your must change them if ever you go to their bathroom and never make the mistake of using the bathroom slippers around their house. It is very embarrassing for your hosts to have no choice but to scold you so don’t put them in such a situation. And of course, don’t forget to return the slippers that your hosts have lent to you before you go home.