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.