In a country with a unique culture like Japan, visitors can feel daunted by the rules and social norms that regulate public life and interpersonal relations. Foreigners visiting Japan are not expected to be familiar with Japanese etiquette, but knowing a few basics will go a long way in helping you adapt to local customs and avoid making cultural gaffes. If you’re planning a trip to Japan, here are a few cultural faux pas you should be aware of.
1. Don’t break the rules of chopstick etiquette in Japan.
The Japanese will be impressed if you’re comfortable using chopsticks. But making the following faux pas will definitely raise eyebrows. Never stick your chopsticks vertically in your bowl of rice — this resembles a funeral ritual. If you need to put them down, always use the chopstick holder next to your plate. Avoid using your chopsticks to pass food to someone else’s chopsticks, as this is another taboo. When sharing dishes, use your chopsticks to take the food and put it on your own plate before eating it. And don’t rub your chopsticks together – it’s rude.