Tag Archives: Japanese politeness


The New Japanese Etiquette

Even ten years ago, the world seemed bigger. Japan still had a bit of that “Oriental” mystique, and visitors to its shores sent reports home of an exotic land populated by simple, if slightly daft, inhabitants: “The Japanese are so friendly and polite!” (Actually, the folks who just gave you directions were Taiwanese tourists) “Japan’s...
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Japanese Customs

“Stop that,” she said. “Sit still. You want people to think you’re a better person, don’t you?” This is me, learning not to do sewing machine leg from Yasuko, my girlfriend. “Better than whom?” I asked. Well, Yasuko was crazy, so whatever. But she was also right. Not moving one’s limbs is actually a thing...
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How Japan Killed my Vegetarianism

“Okay, how ‘bout a sheep. Would you have sex with a sheep?” I asked. “Mmm,” Ryan replied. “Boy sheep or girl? “Like it matters? “If it’s a boy sheep, that’s gay. Okay, let’s say I bought a hamburger, would you eat it? “Nope,” I said, “No way. “For a hundred dollars?” This was twelve years...
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Japan’s a Scam

I was drinking with Sandy in the park recently. It was dark and naturally we were on the swing set. “I’ll just never be happy here,” she said. “Congratulations,” I replied, “you’re finally Japanese. Here, have a chu-hi. It’s got real lemon flavor.” Then we kampai-ed as our swings passed, which is hard to do...
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Why Japanese People Lie

A reader named Furansujin recently described his stay with a Japanese host family: “They showed complete hysteria when I told them I loved curry or could eat takoyaki . . . the only reason i can think of for so many grins, laughs, and exclamations is acting. Like people were overly polite because they felt...
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Crime in Japan

You never know what the day will bring—that’s the exciting thing about waking up. So this morning, just as I was heading out for a fresh can of coffee at the corner 7-11, I noticed somebody’d pasted a scary Japanese note to the windshield of my car. “Contract parking place!!” it said in large, crimson...
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One Japanese Book You Must Read

You should think twice about taking any advice Ken Seeroi’s got to give. I mean, we’re talking a guy who ditched a sensible life in a first-world country for a freezing, tiny apartment, sleeping on the floor, and eating rice with sticks. So, really? Well, it’s not so bad once I move the shochu boxes...
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Is Speaking English in Japan Unavoidable?

A reader named mintyroll recently commented: The “Japanese People Don’t Want you to Speak Japanese” part is one of those minor things I’ve always been afraid of whenever I think of how my first trip to Japan will be . . . Consequently, it’s made me want to reach at least fluent level of Japanese...
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Taking a Japanese Bus Tour. Rule #1: Beer Helps

So I went on this Japanese bus tour last weekend. I don’t really know why. Apparently Japanese people are wild about the bus for some reason, and so I figured eh, maybe it’d be cool. The whole thing started when my iPhone vibrated and The Tanuki was on the other end shouting in rough Japanese,...
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The 9 Best Things about Japan

Also known as, “Why on Earth am I Still Here?” So the bad news is, I shattered a wine glass all over my new carpet last night. The good news is, hey, I got a new carpet. See, there’s a bright side to everything. So today I woke up with the window wide open and...
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