Amy’s Guide to Best Behavior in Japan
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Amy’s Guide to Best Behavior in Japan

Do It Right and Be Polite!
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Amy Chavez
eBook Typ:
Adobe Digital Editions
Adobe DRM [Hard-DRM]

Going to Japan? This unfussy modern guide guarantees you keep it polite and get it right!

This guide to common courtesy, acceptable behavior, and manners is essential for any visitor to Japan. Japanese are unfailingly polite and will never tell you if you've crossed the line. But by knowing how to act in every situation you'll gain the respect of your hosts and in the end get even better service and enjoyment during your travels. Covered here are all the essentials—like travel, greetings, dining—plus subtle niceties like tone of voice, body language, cell phone usage, city vs. country styles, and attire (and what to do about your tattoos!).

The author, a 25-year resident of Japan and tourist adviser who lives on the fabled Inland Sea, knows just what foreign visitors need and delivers it in a smart, compact, and delightfully illustrated package for quick use and reference.


  • Hospitality and Thoughtfulness in Japan

  • The Role of the Outsider (You)

  • Manners = Gratitude

10 Things You Should Never Do in Japan

10 Things You Should Always Do in Japan


  • talking about money

  • money envelopes

  • tipping

  • monetary gifts

  • paying the bill at a restaurant

  • paying someone for their time or for a favor

  • Anecdote/commentary

Bowing & Shaking Hands

  • when to bow

  • how to bow

  • the head-bow

  • kowtowing

  • bowing while exchanging business cards

  • shaking hands while exchanging business cards

  • Anecdote/commentary


  • when to speak

  • voice level

  • adjusting you speech for non-native speakers

  • listening

  • good topics

  • bad topics (see Taboo Subjects)

  • making suggestions

  • how to be firm but polite

  • asking for help

  • expressing interest without creating obligation

  • apologizing

  • expressing disagreement

  • expressing disappointment

  • dealing with embarrassing situations and mistakes

  • Anecdote/commentary

Taboo Subjects

  • burakumin

  • yakuza

  • suicide

  • racism

  • gays/lesbians

  • foreigners

  • money

  • about tattoos and piercings

  • Anecdote/commentary

Showing Appreciation

  • thanking

  • gift-giving

  • turning thoughtfulness into a habit

  • returning favors

  • omiyage

  • gifts of anticipation

  • thanking someone the next time you see them

  • Anecdote/commentary

Romance and Flirting

  • dating

  • holding hands

  • visiting someone's house

  • dating

  • sex

  • texting and use of emoji

  • Anecdote/commentary


  • waiting to get into a restaurant

  • queuing on the train platform

  • middle-aged women who don't que

  • giving up your seat on the train to an aged person

  • Anecdote/commentary

Eating in Public

  • on the train

  • eating while walking

  • standing while eating

  • what to do with your garbage after eating

  • foods you shouldn't eat on the train to not cause offense (kimchee

  • etc)

  • how to put your bento box back together before throwing it away (chopsticks back in sleeve

  • uneaten food covered with lid and bound with elastic

  • all that put back into plastic bag)

  • Anecdote/commentary

Eating in Restaurants

  • letting your host order for you

  • choosing shareable dishes

  • eating leisurely

  • chopstick etiquette

  • types of food and protocol (nabe

  • okonomiyaki

  • etc)

  • vegetarians

  • Anecdote/commentary


  • in public

  • at parties or functions

  • ohanami parties

  • kompai etiquette

  • pouring beer

  • refiling others' beer glasses

  • wine

  • sake

  • Anecdote/commentary

Drinking Establishments

  • izakaya

  • bars

  • hostess clubs

  • cafes Asking for waiter/waitress

  • paying

  • tipping

  • who pays

  • Anecdote/commentary


  • the genkan

  • taking off shoes

  • properly taking off shoes

  • lining up shoes

  • using slippers

  • bare feet & tatami mat

  • toilet slippers

  • outdoor slippers

  • using shoe boxes

  • Anecdote/commentary


  • J-style

  • Western style

  • washlets

  • hygiene

  • big and small flush

  • how to knock on stall door

  • the "sound princess," old style pit toilets

  • Anecdote/commentary

At the Hotel

  • tipping

  • how to complain

  • dealing with staff

  • letting yourself be taken care of

  • using the bath and other common facilities

  • Anecdote/commentary

On the Subway/Train/Bus

  • finding a seat in an unreserved compartment or train

  • eating

  • sound levels

  • use of electronics, headphones, and cell phones

  • making conversation (or not) with fellow passengers

  • asking for help

  • solving ticketing and reservation problems

When You “Take a Meeting” in Japan

  • greetings

  • basic workplace etiquette

  • to bring a gift or not?

  • to receive a gift or not?

  • who pays for lunch?

  • where and when to use your phone

  • thank yous at day’s end

  • how to listen

  • how to say no or “I’ll think about it”

Bringing Good Manners Home With You