Japanese Culture FAQ's Feb 21, 2008 22:33:32 GMT -5
Post by GM on Feb 21, 2008 22:33:32 GMT -5
Heres some information that may...or may not..come in handy.
Calling People the Right Japanese Title
In everyday life, "san" is the most common suffix. "-chan" is a more affectionate term, used mainly with friends, family members and children, "-tan" is a kind of slang version. "-kun" is usually reserved for boys or young men, but can sometimes be used for girls or young women too. There is also "-shi", which is an intermediary form between "san" and "sama" in terms of politeness, and is mostly used for professionals like engineers or lawyers.
Then comes "sensei",which is used for anybody with a knowledge superior to yours. It is most common for doctors, teachers and professors, but can also be used for politicians, martial arts masters, etc. Contrarily to other suffixes so far, "sensei" can be used alone, without a name before it, just like "doctor" or "professor" in English. So, one can say "Nomura-sensei" or just "Sensei", like one could say in English "Professor Nomura" or "Professor". "Sempai" is another very common way of addressing someone with more experience or a hierarchical superior. It can be used alone or after a name, like "sensei".
- The indispensable basics
- Never enter a house with your shoes. Slippers are usually provided in the entrance hall. If slippers are provided for the toilet, use them instead of the one for the rest of the house.
- When you are invited into a Japanese family, bring a small present or "omiyage" (souvenir, usually food).
- Say "o-jama shimasu" (sorry for disturbing) while entering someone's house.
- Some shops, cafes or department stores provide plastic covers for umbrellas. Make sure not to enter with a dripping wet umbrella without one.
- Refrain from blowing your nose in front of other people. Like in other Asian countries, it is considered rude to blow you nose in a handkerchief and stuff it in your pocket afterward. Japanese are usually aware of this Western practice, although that might make them feel uncomfortable.
- You should not eat while standing or walking in the street. Even inside a house, you should sit down to eat. The only exceptions are for eating at a counter (e.g. ramen) or for eating an ice-cream in the street.
- Do not point your finger, feet or chopsticks at people. If you have to indicate an object or direction to someone, wave your fingers with the palm downwards.
- Table manners
- Do not stick your chopsticks vertically into a bowl of rice, as this is used in Buddhist funerary ceremony.
- Do not pass food to someone else with your chopsticks for the same reason as above.
- At a "nomikai" (e.g. while going drinking with colleagues at an Izakaya), you should (re)fill the glasses of people around you when they are empty, and they should do the same for you. If you want to refill you glass, start by serving other people. If you do not want a refill, do not empty you glass.
- It is polite to say "itadakimasu" once before eating or drinking, and "gochisousama deshita" to your host or to the restaurant's staff after eating or when leaving the place.
- Noodles can be and should be slurped. Likewise, bowls or plates should be brought up the the mouth rather than bending one's head toward it.
- Bathing etiquette
- Most Japanese wash themselves before entering the bath, as they have a customs of sharing the bath water. This is true as well for public baths (sento) as for thermal spring (onsen)and bath in individual homes. The reason is that other people will use the same water after you (except if you live by yourself, of course). Therefore, you should not empty the bath after using it.
- Tattoos are banned in most public baths. If you have one, you should consult the staff at reception beforehand to avoid causing trouble.
- Traditional manners.(in traditional homes you might have too...)
- Sit in the "seiza" position. It involves sitting on the floor with the legs folded under your body, with your back resting on your heels.