Japan is understandably one of the most popular countries to visit. People from all over the world see the country as a very interesting existence. Its rich traditions, world-class cuisine, unique ceremonies, and amazing arts are some of the most prominent things people know about Japan. Around 30 millions of people visited Japan in 2018, which set a record for the East Asian island nation.
Interesting Japanese culture to learn more
Is it important to learn about the culture before visiting the place? In my opinion, yes, it is. by learning the culture, you have an insight of how people are living their lives. You also know how to stay respectful to what they believe even if it is something that is contrary to what you believe. By learning the culture, you also gain more knowledge about something beyond your own little world. And if you plan on visiting Japan, here are its unique cultures you can learn about:
It doesn’t mean that you are obligated to know Japanese table manners. Japanese people will know that you are a tourist or that you are a guest so you will not be expected to know everything about their culture included table manner. However, it will be appreciated if you know about it even just a little. Before eating eating your meal, perform bow your head and shoulders while saying itadakimasu. It was a common custom in Japanese culture to respect for the foods served.
Before meal, you will also be given a towel. In Japanese culture, the towel is given to help you wipe and clean your hands before touching and enjoying your food. So make sure that you do not use the towel to wipe your face or other parts of body.
It is common to see people in Japan bow to one another. In fact, it is a common custom in most East Asian countries. The way in which you bow has different meaning. So you can learn more about it before bowing to the people you meet in Japan later. Meeting a friend, the Japanese usually bow at 30 degree with hands on sides. Meanwhile, lower and deeper bow demonstrate respect for people of greater importance be it of age, status, etc. It is also done to demonstrate deep regret of mistake made.
In western countries, it is common to see people get inside their house with their shoes on. However, it is different when you are in Japan, and most Asian countries. In some cultures, feet are considered the dirtiest parts of body since they are used to walk and step of almost anything. For this reason and hygienic reason, the Japanese take off their shoes before entering places especially sacred places such as temples and shrines. Always see the sign before entering a place whether you have to remove your shoes or not. If unsure, ask the locals or your guide instead of assuming or offending their culture.