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Subtle Ways Japan Does Things Differently

In Japan people drive on the left side of the road and the steering wheel is on the right side of the car. In Japan people bow to greet others and say thank you or sorry rather than shake hands. In Japan people beckon you over with their hand up but palm and fingers facing down, as opposed to the opposite way in America. In Japan you take off your shoes when entering a house or school, and there are special shoes for special rooms such as bathrooms.

In Japan people generally don’t start eating meals when they are in groups until everyone has a plate in front of them. The same is with drinks. You wait until all your friends have something in their hands to throw a little cheers with. Here, you eat things differently too. Expect to share your food. Expect to be looked at funny if you eat raw carrot or an unpeeled apple. The Japanese peel their fruits. They don’t even eat the skins of many varieties of grapes.

In Japan you don’t walk while you eat. It is considered impolite. Drinks are ok though. You don’t open a present you received in front of the giver, and you are almost always expected to give something in return at an appropriate time in the future.

Japanese people do some things differently, and it’s so subtle that you may not notice, but one of the biggest things is their ok-ness with smoking. Not everyone smokes, but most people are ok with others smoking in public. No one will say anything if there’s a parent smoking in front of their infant children. People will smoke in no-smoke areas and no one will say a thing.

People tend not to talk to you for no reason here. They will ignore you even if you act strange, and will pretend you don’t exist. It can be nice if you like peace and quiet, but also very lonely.

Are there things you noticed that Japanese people do subtly differently here?

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