7 Things OK in Japan but Not in Your Home Countries!

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7 Things OK in Japan but Not in Your Home Countries!

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You’ve probably noticed that some things in Japan are definitely more acceptable compared to in your hometown. And it’s interesting to see the contrast in Japan of how you can do this here and how common it is.

1: It’s safe! (99% of the time)

It is quite true that Japan is safer than most other countries. You can go toilet and expect to see your laptop and phone still on the table in a cafe. You can fall asleep on the train and not expect a pickpocket. When saving a table for yourself, you can leave your bag or even a scarf down to tell other people it’s been reserved. There have been times where you might drop your purse and it will be handed to you or in lost property. But you should still take care regardless.

2: Holding doors is not necessary!

When you are right behind a person and they don’t hold the door especially department stores and even elevator doors, do not be surprised! There isn’t such a culture of door-holding being a way to show politeness. In fact many people find it awkward and just walk through the door due to the sudden gesture. However, things are changing. It seems like things are changing slowly as more people are starting to hold elevator doors.

3: Table manners are the opposite!

Photo by Tokyo Girls' Update

Photo by Tokyo Girls’ Update

While many Westerners are told not to pick up our bowl off the table and not to make sounds, it is the opposite here in Japan. When eating rice or soup, it is hard not to finish your food without picking up your bowl. So don’t be afraid to do so! Slurping in Japan is also ok as it shows to the cook that you really enjoy the food.

4: You don’t need to tip!

 Whether it’s a taxi or restaurant, save your change because this is another thing that is the opposite in Japan!  Do not expect to give a tip as it is seen as incredibly rude. In Japan, you are paying for a service so giving more money is insulting. You may even be chased down to hand back the change!

5: Don’t bother apologizing in busy areas!


Photo by Nyasha

“Excuse me” and “Sorry” are rarely heard during rush hour and busy areas. There is no point in apologizing while passing through a sea of people. It is true that people do get angry but choose not to express it and create a scene. But you can expect them to glare at you for one moment before turning back to their business. 

6: Dogs are treated like babies!

This is something that is only starting to arise in the West in the past few years but in Japan, it is a bit more common especially for small dog owners here. Some dogs are treated like family members – similar to a baby! When a dog gets tired, the owner will likely carry their pet. But it’s much easier in a big city like Tokyo where there is a lot of people to just use a pram right? There are also some designated for big dogs. Wardrobe is another thing! There are a lot of people who like dressing up their dogs in not just a simple coat for the winter but sunglasses and bows to accessorise their dogs! 

7: Queues are everywhere!


Photo by Nyasha

Public transport, food stands and even just to go up and down escalators, queuing is more common than you think. While it does happen in other countries, it feels weird not to join a queue. Pushing in front of someone is rare and even tourists conform to queuing too. There are times when there’ll be an occasional person rushing to get to their destination but the system still works pretty well.

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A writer who sees Tokyo as her second home and often writes about food, travelling, culture and living in the capital.

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