22. Juni 2021

Come together Lesson 20

When in Rome, do as the Romans do

A planned trip to Japan presents this British couple with some challenges. Before starting their trip, they ask their travel agent for some advice.

Woman: Will we be able to use our credit card or other bank cards?

Travel agent: Well, more and more businesses are accepting cards, but you should always carry some cash to be able to pay street vendors or in small shops.

Woman: What about clothes? Are there any ways of dressing that would be inappropriate?

Travel agent: Not really. There isn’t anything that would be considered offensive.

However, Japanese people generally dress nicely and stylishly. They care a lot about appearance.

Women almost always wear make-up and some even put on surgical masks if they forget.

Woman: Seriously? I thought they were only used for protection from diseases or air pollution, that is pretty sad.

Well, what about general behaviour? Greeting someone, talking in public, talking to strangers?

Travel agent: Let’s put it like this: Japanese society is all about not invading other people’s space and privacy.

That means, no loud conversation if any on the subway. The motto is: Silence is golden.

Japanese people generally speak in a softer voice than people from other cultures are used to.  

          Also, remember to walk on the left, so that you don’t bump into anyone.

Woman: That is not so different from the UK after all.

Another thing: I heard that it is common to take off your shoes when entering a restaurant. Is that true?

Travel agent: Yes, that is common in some restaurants.       

          Another thing you should know about Japanese restaurants is there is normally a button to press if you want to call your waiter.

Woman: What about tipping?

Travel agent: There is no tipping culture like there is in other countries. Tips are welcome but not expected.

Woman: That is good to know. Is there anything else we should be aware of?

Travel agent: Let me think… Yes, this might be important: tattoos should be covered, but that might not apply to you.

Woman: Well, it actually does, but that shouldn’t be a problem, since it is on my back.

Travel agent: Well then, I think you are good to go. Enjoy your trip.

Travel agent: Well then, I think you are good to go. Enjoy your trip.

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