Living and Teaching English in Japan - Habits, Customs & Curiosities

Japan has been a popular destination for EFL teachers for decades and it is easy to see why.

The country offers a vibrant culture and amazing natural scenery, plus high salaries and great added benefits for teachers.

If you want to find out more about life in Japan, take a look at the graphics below which explore many different aspects of the country, including how and when to bow, the culture and customs surrounding food and things to do outside of the classroom.

There is also a useful guide to saving money in one of Asia’s more expensive environments.


Japanese Customs

There are certain aspects of Japanese culture that can seem odd or even shocking to foreigners in Japan.
Moreover, blowing your nose in public is considered extremely rude and should be done in private or as discreetly as possible.
Oshiya, or so-called ‘pushers’, are uniformed workers who make sure everyone gets in and no one gets stuck in between the doors.
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For example, the number 4 is considered unlucky as it sounds similar to the word for death.
It’s no secret that trains in Tokyo are extremely crowded during rush hours.

SOURCE: www . businessinsider . com/japanese-customs-that-are-shocking-to-foreigners-2015-7?utm_content=buffer4f24d&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook . com&utm_campaign=buffer

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How to Bow in Japan

Bowing is a deeply ingrained custom in Japanese culture and done on a daily basis. There are many varieties of bowing, from sitting (seiza) to standing (seiritsu).
Depending on the occasion, the angle of your bow increases from about a 15-degree bow for greeting to a 30 to 45-degree respect bow.
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It is worth noting that when bowing, the slope of your back and the back of your head need to form a straight line. A curved bow is considered impolite.

SOURCE: www . tofugu . com/japan/bowing-in-japan/

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Eating Habits and Cuisine in Japan

When thinking of Japanese food, the first thing that usually comes to mind is probably sushi. However, Japanese cuisine has a lot more to offer than just these delicious rice rolls.
These noodles are cooked in a variety of dishes, fried or in soups with different sauces and broths.
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A lot of Japanese dishes include rice which is eaten at least once a day by over 70% of Japanese people. Japanese cuisine also has 3 basic noddle types: ramen, soba and udon.

Essential Guide to Japan

Before traveling to Japan, be sure to have your passport and visa (for certain countries) ready. You should also get a vaccination to protect you against Japanese encephalitis.
Many people love to travel to Japan in spring when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. This is usually from March to May depending on the region.
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It’s very useful to practice a couple of basic Japanese phrases to help you get around and don’t forget to exchange your money into Japanese yen. Japan has a lot to offer.
Once you’re there, be sure to visit a hot spring, try out karaoke, try Japanese rice wine, ramen and unagi and dive into Harajuku culture.

SOURCE: theculturetrip . com/asia/japan/?utm_content=buffer53385&utm_medium=pinterest&utm_source=pinterest&utm_campaign=buffer

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10 Ways to Save Money in Japan

Japan is notorious for its high prices for transportation, accommodation and food. However, these 10 easy tips could help you save money when in Japan.
If you don’t want to spend too much on accommodation, consider staying at a manga or internet café.
100 yen shops are the Japanese equivalent of a 1 dollar store and can save you a lot of money for items like snacks, clothes, stationary and cosmetics.
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For example, save money traveling around the country with the JR Pass. With the pass you can freely use trains and buses owned by the JR company.
They cost around 1000 yen per night and offer customers their own little cubicle with showers, internet and a drink bar included.

Japanese Holidays

While Japan has some similar holidays to Western countries, there are also some that are unique to the Asian country alone.
February 2nd is Setsubun, or the beginning of spring, celebrated in shrines and temples around Japan.
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Although the first of January is also New Year’s Day in Japan, the second Monday in January is called ‘Seijin No Hi’ which is the Coming of Age Day that celebrates all people who will turn 20.
February 11th is an important date on the Japanese calendar as it is the National Foundation Day marking the crowning of the first Emperor of Japan.

SOURCE: www . houseofgenjisanjose . net/blog/2014/december/highlighting-japanese-holidays-infographic- . aspx?redirect_referrer=https%3a%2f%2fit . pinterest . com%2f

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How to Enjoy Onsen in Japan

Onsen are traditional Japanese hot springs where people can relax and find peace. Onsen have been used since ancient times due to the volcanic activity of Japan and are even mentioned in many Japanese legends and myths.
You must wash your body before entering the baths and you should refrain from rinsing before leaving the bath as the minerals of the water should remain on your body to maximize the effects.
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The first thing to know is that there are no swimsuits allowed in the gender-segregated bath houses at an onsen.

SOURCE: tg . tripadvisor . jp/enjoy-onsen/

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Chopstick Etiquette in Japan

When visiting Japan, you should follow a couple of set rules when using chopsticks.
Also, do not shovel the food rapidly into your mouth using your chopsticks and never chew on your chopsticks.
Note that two people eating from the same dish at the same time is also considered impolite as is rummaging a dish for only the things you like to eat.
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For example, the chopsticks must never stand upright in your rice bowl as this is the way a bowl is offered to the spirit of a dead person.
Japanese food culture consists of sharing meals rather than having individual meals for everyone.

SOURCE: tg . tripadvisor . jp/news/graphic/chopsticksmanners/

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How To Eat Sushi

To maximize the flavor of the sushi pieces, you should eat the fish in a certain order. Start with a white fish, move onto silver, then red.
The egg variety is seen as a dessert and ordering a simple tuna roll means that you are done and ending your order.
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Next, you want to eat fish with heavier flavors like salmon and salmon roe. The last sushi piece should be the fattiest fish.
When dipping sushi into soy sauce, be sure to only dip the fish and not the rice to avoid overpowering the flavors.


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