What are some traditional Japanese customs?


Quick Answer

Some traditional Japanese customs are showing respect to others by bowing at the waist to greet them and avoiding the number four because of superstition that it brings bad luck. In addition, it is customary not to tip for restaurant service in Japan and it is customary to avoid nose blowing in public and walking while eating.

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Full Answer

In Japan, children learn to bow to others as a sign of respect. The type of bow depends on the relationship with the honored person. For example, a friend usually receives a short, small bow while a boss receives a prolonged, deep bow.

In addition, in Japan, the cost of service is included in the restaurant's price. This is also the case with other services such as taxi rides. Servers see tipping as rude and others find it confusing and believe the customer overpaid. Also, when eating, it is customary to use chopsticks instead of forks. It is also customary to toast a round of drinks with others at the table before drinking.

Japanese custom avoids the number four because the number sounds similar to the Japanese word for death. The Japanese see the number four as unlucky in a similar way that Americans see the number 13 as unlucky. Some elevators in Japan do not list the fourth floor for this reason.

Wearing surgical masks to prevent the spread of disease is far more common in Japan than in other countries. Japanese find it rude to eat while walking or while sitting on a public train. However, custom allows a train operator to employ individuals to act as professional pushers that push people into a crowded train.

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