Sunday, October 16, 2011

Japanese Etiquette Rules


Good day, Lovely!

In general, Japanese people are very refined, polite, neat, courteous, and also quite formal. I think that this is partly due to their system of etiquette, which is very strict yet very much a part of their culture. Etiquette and the formalities are of the utmost importance to them, darling!

I admire Japanese culture (especially the women) quite a bit -- I think that they are fantastic examples of femininity and feminine traditional womanhood. *smile*

They are almost even ideal women, darling, because they perfectly balance both adhering to traditional and extremely detailed codes of etiquette and also being femininely playful. :-)

I would like to tell you a bit about Japanese manners and etiquette rules today.

Slipper Etiquette
When entering a Japanese house, it is most proper to take off one's shoes. The host or hostess should provide house slippers for you to wear around the home.

If one enters a room with a floor made of tatami mats (see the photo above), it is most proper to take off one's slippers. According to Japanese Polite Custom, one only walks on tatami with feet that are socked or bare. *smile*

When using the toilets or the washroom, do not enter the rooms with your house slippers. There are special slippers for toilets and washrooms. House slippers are left outside. When finished using the toilets or washroom, do not forget to change back into your house slippers!

Japanese Bowing
In Japan, it is not common to see people shake hands like in the West (although in Japan they sometimes make exceptions and do this if they are greeting Westerners). In Japan, people greet one another by bowing. The Japanese also bow to say "thank you," to apologize, to make a request, or to ask someone a favor. There are different levels of bows as well. They range from a simple nod of the head to a 90-degree bend at the waist. The deeper the bow, the more respect you expect to convey and the higher status of the person you are bowing for.

For example, you would do a deeper bow (90-degree is the ultimate... you would use it to greet the Japanese Royal Family) for a professor, a teacher, an elder, a leading politician, or your boss... and anyone else you want to convey great respect towards.

Japanese Table Manners
The interior of a Japanese restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand.
If dining in Japan, before you start the meal you say: "itadakimasu" which means "I gratefully receive." At the end of the meal you should say "gochisosama deshita" which means "Thank you for the meal."

In Asian culture, it is quite often that one eats with shared dishes placed in the middle of the table. 

If this is the case, move food from the serving plates to your own plates with the opposite end of your chopsticks or with serving chopsticks that may be provided.

Do not blow your nose in public in Japan. It is considered to be bad manners and this is especially true while dining.

It is considered to be bad manners to not finish your food. Empty your plates to the last grain of rice if you can.

It is bad manners to burp.

When you are finished eating, try to put all dishes and utensils back to the same place it was before the meal, such as replacing covers, putting your chopsticks back on the holder or in the paper slip, etc.

When drinking alcoholic beverages as a group, do not start drinking until all members of the party are served and all hold up their glasses in a customary "drinking salute." 

In Japanese etiquette, one does not serve themselves more alcohol during a meal. It is customary to check the glasses of others and refill all other glasses for other members of the party. If someone wants to offer you more to drink, quickly drain your glass and then hold it out to them politely.

If eating rice, do not add soy sauce to it. Hold the rice bowl in one hand and hold your chopsticks in the other. Bring the bowl closer to your mouth as you eat.

When eating sushi, do your best to eat each piece in one bite - taking it apart will ruin the beautiful work that the chef spent time on for you. :-)

Pour soy sauce into the dish and if you would like wasabi, use only a little bit so as not to insult the skills of the chef. One can eat sushi with their hands, although chopsticks are preferable.

When eating Miso Soup, drink out of the bowl simply as if it were a cup. Eat the solid food inside the soup with your chopsticks.

When eating a noodle soup, use your chopsticks and try not to let the noodles splash back into the soup. Drink the broth with the ceramic spoon provided. Only lift the big bowl up if a spoon is not provided.

When eating big pieces of food, try to break it into pieces with your chopsticks. Such a skill can take practice, understandably. If you are having trouble, pick it up with your fingers and take a bit and then put the rest back into your plate.

Visiting a Temple
Japan is known for it's beautiful temples and if you are touring the nation, it is understandable that you may want to visit one or two temples. However, one must remember that these temples are not simply places for tourists but also places of worship for modern Japanese people. It is important to be respectful, darling.

If one is visiting a temple, it is important to be quiet and calm. If one has children, it is best not to visit. It is best not to visit if there is even the slightest chances of making noise and distracting others who are there to worship and reflect. :-)

Upon arriving, make a small donation by throwing a coin or two into the offering box and bowing your head for a few seconds.

When entering some temples, you may be required to take off your shoes.

Photography is forbidden at certain temples so watch for signs.

Do not visit a shrine if you are sick, have an open wound, or are in mourning.

At the offering hall, throw a coin or two into the offering box, bow deeply twice, clap your hands twice, bow deeply once more, and then bow your head in prayer for a few seconds.

Well, that's all for my article, "Japanese Etiquette Rules," dove!











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