Don't Be Rude! Here's How to Be Polite When in Japan
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Every country has its own unique customs and ways of expressing emotions and Japan is no exception.
When you visit another country, it is always nice to try and abide by some of the etiquettes while you’re there as it also makes the experience better!
In Japan, some things that are often done in other countries can be seen as rude, so you may want to avoid these practices on your next trip.
Japan is arguably a nation of smokers.
There is currently no national smoking ban in buildings or on trains.
However, there are still some things you should be mindful of.
Although you may be able to smoke while eating a meal, note that the areas for smokers and non-smokers are usually separated.
Walking and smoking at the same time is considered as bad manners in Japan.
Smoking is also limited to specific smoking areas when outside.
On many corners in areas such as parks and attractions, you will find giant ashtrays with signs, in both Japanese and English, asking you to smoke there.
At train stations and other places, you may find smoking rooms to smoke in.
To be polite, simply save smoking until you reach a smoking area and always put your cigarette out and in the ashtray.
In the UK and other Western countries, it is common to see people eating everywhere while walking, while on the bus, or even in a shop.
In Japan, this is not the same as it is sometimes considered rude to walk around while eating or to eat on the train.
Some exceptions to this are on bullet trains and more long distance trains where they encourage you to buy food on board.
Eating outside is also common during festivals (matsuri) and flower viewing (hanami) where there are food vendors selling and eating areas set up.
Trains are more than just a mode of transport in Japan.
You will find that most trains in Japan are clean and tidy, and there are a few ways you can contribute to this.
If traveling on a train, make sure you don’t take up more room than you need.
When sitting, put your knees together so people can sit either side.
Also, try not to be too loud on the train as there are other people on board who might not want to hear such noises.
Making sure your music is not too loud through your headphones is a polite thing to do.
It is also frowned upon to speak on the phone while on the train, but it is fine to answer and say that you will call back later.
There are lots of little things we can do to make everyone’s train journey more enjoyable.
In the UK and America, it is seen as rude not to leave a tip after eating in a restaurant or using a service such as a taxi.
However, in Japan, it is not necessary.
But if you are staying at a traditional Japanese inn (ryokan), you can politely tip by placing some money inside an envelope and directly giving it to who you think deserves it.
It is nice to follow local customs when visiting another country.
Why not try it on your next holiday to make a good impression?