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Japanese customs and culture that foreigners found strange when they came to Japan

Strange Customs and Culture in Japan making a sound eating noodle

Customs and culture differ greatly from country to country.

In Japan, too, there are customs and culture that are completely different from those of Western countries and other countries, and visitors to Japan are often surprised by them.

Some people may say, “I am planning to stay in Japan for a long period of time, so I would like to know about it beforehand.

There may be such people.

In this article, we would like to explain about “Japanese customs and culture that foreigners found strange when they came to Japan” for the reference of such people.

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“Eating noodles noisily”

In Japan, there are many kinds of noodles such as “udon,” “soba,” “ramen,” and “somen,” and Japanese people eat such noodles with making noise.

Japanese people eat these noodles noisily, which is called “susuru” in Japanese. After putting a small amount of noodle in the mouth, the noodle is sucked into the mouth in one gulp.

To Westerners who usually put pasta in their mouths slowly and without making a sound, this must seem like an impossible scene.

Incidentally, Japanese people often eat pasta without making a sound, but there are some who eat pasta noisily, just like other noodles.

In many cases, the act of noisily eating noodles is not considered a breach of etiquette.

“Putting your wallet in the back pocket of your pants

After visiting Japan for a while, you will notice that many Japanese people put their wallets in the back pockets of their pants.

In other countries, this is an absolute no-no, as it makes you a target for pickpockets.

However, in Japan, many people (especially men) put their wallets in their back pockets as a matter of course.

“Falling asleep on the train”

As with purses, many foreigners are surprised to find that many Japanese doze off on trains.

In other countries, falling asleep on a train, a public place, greatly increases the possibility of being a victim of pickpocketing.

On weekday evenings and later, there are many people who doze off on trains, especially on weekdays, and the scene can be described as alien.

Strange Customs and Culture in Japan sleepin in a train

“I apologize frequently.

Living in Japan, you often hear the phrases “excuse me,” “I’m sorry,” “I’m sorry,” “I’m sorry,” and so on.

For example, when you ask a waiter a question at a restaurant, he or she will say, “Excuse me, where is the restroom? and then ask the waiter a question.

The use of the word “masuremashimasu” throughout the conversation is a uniquely Japanese cultural trait.

Note that in many restaurants in Japan, the waiter will not come unless you call out or press the call button.

“Cars are parked in reverse.”

In other countries, it is common practice to park cars facing forward in parking lots.

In Japan, however, many people park their cars backwards.

This is meant to prevent accidents that often occur when cars are parked facing forward.

In addition, because the front wheels of a car are the steering wheels, it is actually easier to park backwards than forwards.

It may take some time to get used to it, but when driving in Japan, it is recommended to park in reverse.

“Taking a bath at night”

In the West, many, but not all, people tend to take a shower in the morning instead of at night.

In Japan, this routine is considered a no-no, and people always shower at night (or take a bath in Japan) from childhood.

It is common practice to clean off the day’s dirt and sleep in a clean bed or futon.

Therefore, if you try to sleep without taking a bath as a child because it is a hassle, your parents will be quite angry with you.

In recent years, more and more people are taking showers twice a day, once at night and once in the morning.

Strange Customs and Culture in Japan taing a bath at night

“There are so many vending machines”

In Japan, vending machines are located everywhere in the city.

Although there are vending machines in other countries as well, they are much less common than in Japan.

For example, in Tokyo, it is not unusual to find vending machines placed several dozen meters apart.

Furthermore, vending machines can be found in rural areas where few people pass by at night.

In a foreign country, if a vending machine were installed in such a place, it would be vandalized at a high rate and the money and drinks inside would be stolen.

“The arrival time of trains and other transportation is surprisingly accurate.”

In Japan, trains, buses, and other forms of transportation are widely used, and their arrival times are surprisingly accurate.

In other countries, trains are often delayed by 10 to 20 minutes, or even 30 minutes or more depending on the country.

In Japan, however, arrival times at train stations and bus stops are almost always on schedule.

Trains, in particular, are very precise, and if they are even 3 minutes late, an “apology announcement” will be made.

Strange Customs and Culture in Japan panctuality


In this article, I have explained about “Japanese customs and culture that foreigners found strange when they came to Japan.

I have listed some of the unique Japanese customs and manners, but there are so many other customs and manners.

I think you will enjoy living in Japan just by discovering such things, and you will be stimulated by challenging these customs and manners yourself.

When you visit Japan, why not enjoy the differences between Japan and your own country?

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