Monday, April 12, 2010

Japan: Etiquette

Correct manners among the Japanese are very important. Whether you are traveling for leisure, business or adventure, spare yourself the embarrassment by getting to know a little more about Japanese Society.

1. Know how and when to bow: A slight dip of the neck and shoulders is plenty for a casual hello to friends!

2. Observe dining etiquette: Eat sushi with your fingers and sashimi with chopsticks. For soup, use your chopsticks to pick out the solid food and then drink the remaining liquid from the bowl. Feel free to slurp noodle soup loudly, this shows you are thoroughly enjoying the food. Tipping is not only unnecessary, but insulting! How about that?
Quick Tip- Use condiments such as wasabi and soy sauce sparingly. Using too much suggests that the chef didn’t season the food properly. (overdoing the wasabi never seems like a good idea to me anyway!)

3. Show respect for business cards: Offer business cards with both hands, information facing the recipient, and take theirs with either your right hand or both. Spend at least 15 seconds reading their card or you’ll appear disrespectful.

4. Follow business meeting etiquette: If you’re at a business meeting, always wait to be seated by your host; where you sit is predetermined by your status. If you’re served tea or coffee, accept it as is, which may or may not be with milk and sugar. Take a few sips even if you don’t want it.

Don’t stress out; like many other foreign countries, the people will understand if you forget or slip on etiquette. Do your best to remember what you can and if all else fails just observe what others are doing and try and blend in!

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