As a potential foreign tourist in Japan

Discussion in 'Japan Practical' started by Malik00, Feb 21, 2018.

  1. Malik00

    Malik00 Kouhai

    I've had much of a fascination with japan and it's culture. Not just in anime and video games and the like, but in terms of its history, it's lore and societal structure.

    But I fear that someone like me would not last very long in japan's society. You see I am a very frank and straight forward individual. I say what i feel with little to no filter, and and very rarely tend to worry about things i consider small or trivial. So things like specific days for trash, having to bow all the time, no using the phone on the train, just tiny things that you normally don't even pay attention to.

    I guess my biggest worry is that i wouldn't be able to adapt to the idea that japan takes what is effectively the work/professional environment etiquette. And has that expanded to all of its society. It would make you think japan is super stuck up and the like.....until you look at akihabara and harujuku which couldn't be more different from the japan a lot of foreign travelers expect. Every expressive, Open and weird(in a good way).

    And so these conflicting images makes me wonder how a person like me, who doesn't much care for sugarcoating things would be received in a country like japan.

    So Any natives or people who lived there for a good few years, how would someone like me who is very straightforward but not necessarily "Rude" Do in japan?
  2. Mike Cash

    Mike Cash 骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう

    We covered some similar ground with you last July.

    You have a warped and misinformed view of Japan based on the type of media you've been consuming.

    Before we spend too much time and effort alleviating your concerns, though, would you please first clarify for us if you are even eligible for a visa that would let you come here for anything other than tourism and are you actively and seriously considering a move?
  3. Malik00

    Malik00 Kouhai

    No no it's nothing quite like would mostly be as a tourist. but i would rather do my best to avoid offending anyone that's all. And i know somethings that I kind of overlook are very important to Japanese natives. So i want to make sure if i do go there i show as much respect as i can.

    Unfortunately im in no position to even try to move as i don't have the money.
  4. lanthas


    Two years ago, I participated in a group tour of Japan with a native guide. For most other members, it was simply yet another country to see the sights of, and so, they behaved in public like they would at home: talking loudly everywhere they went, including on trains and buses, too engrossed in conversation to notice everyone else spoke softly or not at all.

    Near the end of the tour, the guide confided to me that she often stayed at a distance from the group during travel - because she was ashamed to be associated with them.

    That said, if you don't make too much of a scene, people will generally ignore you. In the total of six weeks I've been there so far, I've never had anyone stare at me, make remarks behind my back, or subtly distantiate themselves from me in public baths. So as long as you try to act at least a bit like the Romans Japanese do, I don't think you'll have much to worry about as a tourist.
  5. Glenski

    Glenski Just me

    If you're here as a tourist, you don't have rules for trash days, but it is rude to use phones on trains here, so you might want to take stock of yourself and promise that you will be more polite for the sake of others. Bowing all the time? There is no obligation for foreign tourists (or even foreign residents) to do that.

    I'm not going to check back on your previous posts like Mike did. I'll just say that if you are a tourist or resident, you represent your country. Please consider how what you say and do affects the image that Japan has of the US, for the sake of the next tourist or all of the American residents here. Being straightforward in talking to people is not a major problem, and you stated that you aren't rude when you do it, so what's your concern? Has someone told you that you come off as rude?

    Bowing, saying thanks, being courteous, following laws are not etiquette for work or professionals. It's a way of life for all Japanese. Come and have a good time. Try to be polite and definitely obey the laws.
  6. nice gaijin

    nice gaijin Resident Realist

    the desire to not be offensive seems at odds with self-identifying as rude or indifferent to the "little" things that make Japanese appear polite to you. I'll proceed assuming you genuinely don't want to be offensive if and when you visit.

    If you really care, keep your eyes open and try to emulate the locals where it makes sense. Ask questions if necessary. Understand which cultural norms actually matter and try to adhere to them, or at least be honest in your decision not to. If you care, you'll probably embarrass yourself--multiple times--but that's a sign that you're at least paying attention. As mentioned, you wouldn't be held to the same standard as a local, just don't take it as carte blanche to play the role of a barbarian. Use your brain and don't act a fool, and a majority of people will do the most polite thing and pay you no mind.

    If you want a good example of what not to do, watch the Logan Paul videos where he runs around Tokyo and harasses people, before he finally managed to cross the line with his antics in Aokigahara Forest. Measure your own response and pay attention to the Japanese people in the video... then watch this reaction video which lays out from a Japanese perspective what was so unacceptable about his actions.
  7. thesuker

    thesuker 先輩

    Honestly, I think that Japan isn't that much different from any other country in terms of what's perceived as rude. Playing music out loud or talking really loud on the train, jumping a queue, littering... There are of course some things specific to the country and its culture, but I think most times you make a mistake people will just shrug it off as a tourist being a tourist (same as in any other country) and not really feel too bothered by it.
  8. tomoni

    tomoni 先輩

    As long as you’re sincere about trying not to be rude, that is the most important thing. And trying not to be rude as many people of already commented is just keeping your eyes open and thinking about other people around you.

    There are no real special tricks to Japan ( not using your left hand etc) it’s not that different from any modern country.

    I suppose the biggest things are you need to take off your shoes in certain places if you NOT are willing to do that- then yes you would be considered uncouth, and in a bath house to shower (at least rinse completely) before entering the communal bath. Don’t be loud anywhere except a disco and you will be fine.

    So I’m not sure if this is a case of OVER worry or you do things like say “this food taste like crap to the person who made it for you”- If it’s the latter please don’t come.

    But I suppose since you’re here posting you want to make an effort, and a sincere effort to not offend people and to be a polite and respectful tourist is the most important aspect

    Do these things and you’ll have a great visit in Japan.

    Good luck
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  9. Nekodesu

    Nekodesu Furry one

    i watched this yesterday - with captions :emoji_smile: and i think itll answer your questions

    in short,
    - dont litter
    - dont smell
    - dont do things with chopsticks you wouldnt do with a knife and fork
  10. OoTmaster

    OoTmaster 先輩

    I visited for the first time this last April. (almost a year ago now) I'm a straight forward guy like you. Some of my friends even consider me rude at times. They know it is not intentional though. When I was in Japan I did my best to emulate the polite behavior of the locals. Even trying to do things I never would in my home country, like wearing a mask when I was feeling under the weather. I think that if you appear like you're trying to be considerate most people will overlook things they view as rude. I think there was one time I was talking a little loudly on the train with a friend and saw people look my way. I used body language to express an apology and everyone seemed to accept it.

    Also seeing your flag as an American flag, in our country we often don't know who is foreign and who is native. Just from the nature of our country. In Japan it's not that way at all. They will know you aren't native and give you slack if you appear to be trying.

Share this page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice