These are some random tips I got while interviewing a foreigner here in Kyoto. For those who’s willing to come to visit/live in Japan.
Before arriving in Japan. Get to know Japanese rules and customs.
There are several social rules or manners that you should keep in mind, to not offend someone and instead look respectful. I have realized that a lot of Japanese people really appreciate effort from foreigners. They get amazed when you show interest in their culture.
Japanese people usually don’t shake hands, instead, verbally introduce themselves with a slight bow.
2. Be quiet in public
Don’t yell, don’t speak on your phone in public transportation. Especially temples or shrines.
3. When eating, don’t exchange food with chopsticks
Instead, place the food on a plate and pick it up.
4. Get Japanese friends from an educational perspective.
The Japanese language is extremely layered. It goes from several casual ways of speaking to differently layered formal speaking. What is being taught in language schools is mainly formal parts. Therefore, getting a native friend will get your insight and let you practice the casual parts of Japanese.
5. Get hygiene
Japanese people are clean and tidy. They always dress neatly and have good personal hygiene. So, not wearing dirty clothes or applying a bit of deodorant might get you a long way.
6. Be prepared to get attention
Whether it’s wanted or unwanted, during your stay in Japan you will get attention. Even though a lot of tourists visit every year, Japanese people still don’t seem to be used to it. You might have a kid coming up to you saying “Hello” or asking you questions in simple English. Having people trying to start a conversation with you in bars more than you might be used to.
7. Get LINE
A simple application widely used to communicate with each other in Japan.
8. Check the weather forecast
The weather here in Japan changes frequently; it goes from sunny to rain, from cold to hot within days or even hours. Summers are super humid and hot while late fall is chilly.
Any Japanese person who enters your apartment WILL desire a tissue. For you European people, probably thinking “just grab some freaking paper from the toilet” I feel you.
10. Take off your shoes
Before entering someone’s residence. Several Japanese houses or even apartments might have a little ramp by the door in front of the hallway. You should neatly line your shoes up there.