Tourist Tip #5: Five Don'ts to Do
"When in Rome, do as the Romans do." - or in Japanese, 「郷に入っては郷に従え」 (Gou ni itte wa, gou ni shitagae; "Entering the village, obey the village.")
Nobody wants to do the wrong thing, especially when it means very possibly embarrassing yourself, and potentially others, in front of others. With that theme in mind, here are five easy-to-forget DON'Ts to help you make the most during your stay in Japan.
1. DON'T enter a home with your shoes on. In Japan, it's customary to remove your shoes in the "genkan" (entryway). Knowing this, don't wear dodgy socks when visiting your Japanese friends, either. Someone will notice.
2. DON'T shout, raise your voice in anger or frustration, or exhibit overly outspoken behavior - even if it's at your travelling companions or family. Such displays of emotion are frowned upon in Japan, and often seen as a lack of self-control.
3. DON'T eat or drink while walking in public. In crowded Japan, it's inconsiderate, not to mention an accident waiting to happen. Yes, some Japanese do it - no, they aren't very well liked.
4. DON'T talk too much, interrupt, or not listen when communicating with Japanese (they're the top three complaints that the Japanese have against foreigners).
5. DON'T worry, be happy. Getting upset or making it known that you are will only help you make enemies and lose friends. At the very least, you will be avoided and shunned by everyone in your general vicinity. Not very flattering.
Have a favourite or useful DON'T you'd like to share? Leave a comment below!
Former Deep Japan Writer