Japanese Customs and Traditions: How to be a Good Guest
Japan is renowned for its unique and rich cultural traditions – many of which are still practiced today. Western culture has adopted somewhat of an obsession with sushi and sumo wrestlers and this has come to stunt our knowledge of authentic Japanese heritage.
Before entering into a foreign space, it is important to be informed on the customs and rituals so that you can be a respectful and respectable guest. As a nation that is predominantly Buddhist, an exploration of the Japanese way of life is likely to bring you a sense of tranquillity and an appreciation of the simple pleasures in life.
Japanese Tea Ceremonies
Should you be lucky enough to be invited to a traditional tea ceremony, it is worth being informed on the etiquette. This practice, although stylised, is a common feature of the nation’s culture. It is regarded as highly sacred as it aligns with Buddhist philosophy in its meditative nature.
Your ranking in the group determines where you will be seated and what role you will play in the ceremony. You should arrive barefoot and dressed in a kimono, or conservative western clothing if you do not own a kimono. Enter the ceremony space on your knees and, when the tea is passed to you, turn the cup slightly so as to avoid drinking from the same place as the person next to you.
This tradition has been engrained in Japanese culture for many centuries. Presenting your host with a gift is a display of respect and gratitude. The nature of the gift will depend on the occasion and the way in which it is presented is extremely important. It should be beautifully wrapped and presented with both hands.
You should note that gifts should never be given in sets of four as the pronunciation of this word in Japanese is similar to the pronunciation of ‘death’ and so it is considered to be a bad omen.
This may feel counter-intuitive as it opposes Western traditions but in Japan, it is considered impolite to leave a tip at a restaurant. Rather save your money for apuestas de futbol Argentina. You might view it as a gesture of your appreciation for the good service and delicious meal however, in Japan it is interpreted as a pity donation. Tipping would signal that you do not feel their business is successful and that they are in dire need of extra money.
Firstly, you should never start drinking before everyone else has a drink in their hands. The host will generally take the lead and shout ‘kampai!’ or ‘cheers’, after which you can begin drinking. Contrary to Western manners, slurping and raising the bowl to your mouth is completely acceptable in Japanese culture.
It should also be noted that a restaurant will typically present you with a wet cloth before your meal. This should be used to clean your hands. Before eating it is customary to say ‘itadakimasu’ which, directly translated, means ‘I will receive’.