Hot answers tagged

41

I've seen this happen myself, where tourist-friends will completely ignore local customs, and assume that the people they interact with (waitstaff, retail staff, hospitality, etc.) will bend to their way of doing things. It's not wrong, it's just cultural — in the US for example it's a widely-held belief that the customer is king, and it's almost expected ...


18

If you're willing to, show interest in their culture. I faced this a few times. At 1st lunch/dinner time opportunity, I usually "share and compare": I show a vegetable, and say the word in my language. Then, in their language, with an interrogative tone in my voice. The person will be glad to say it with the proper accent, and won't feel rude because you ...


18

With businesses where it is a big deal to pay by card then the answer to "is it okay to pay by card" should be no. If the answer is yes then it is only fair for the customer to assume that it is OK to pay by card. I would see this as pretty elementary and cross-culture, answering yes when the reality is no is just lying. Asking such a question in the ...


15

I also live in Japan and have occasionally had guests who want to pay for a meal by credit card. In this situation I would say to the guest, "ah, you might not be able to pay by card - Japan is a cash-based society." If they don't have cash I'd lend them some until they can go to an ATM. The phrase "cash-based society" lets them know that they are likely ...


13

Being an introvert is not a problem. I am an introvert. That means that talking with people makes me tired instead of the opposite. While it's true that I became uninterested in other people and quite shy as a consequence, I have currently no issue talking with strangers, even about embarassing stuff. That's because being an introvert only means that social ...


10

Great question WatermelonLemon, especially considering the cultural difference present in this question. I am a ethnic Chinese who grew up in the USA. Let me help you shed some light on this. I make an assumption here, please don't get mad at me non-shy Chinese friends. Stereotypes do exist, Chinese are generally shy, especially traditionally Chinese women. ...


8

What I did during my trip to Japan (I spent a week there) was to go to the bathroom whenever I had to blow my nose. Ideally, I tried to wait for a time when there were no other people in there. When that didn't seem likely, I used flushing to mask the sound. When going to the bathroom was not an option (such as on a street), I would at least try to find a ...


8

The cultural differences in your question are a huge influencing factor on any potential solution. It is difficult to tackle a problem interpersonally without any confrontation which you say is contrary to the culture of where you live, but it is not impossible. You seem to understand Japanese culture very well - and no surprise, you live there and ...


8

My current strategy: If possible, wait for the clerk to talk first, and use that language (ignoring the いらっしゃいませ salutation that they use anytime the door opens). If I need to talk first, use Japanese. Only switch to English if necessary to safely/efficiently perform the transaction. Pros: Not all Japanese people have the same look. Some of my friends who ...


8

You are actively avoiding those girls. Your friend tries to include you in conversation. It has nothing to do with him being white. It has everything to do with you feeling uncomfortable talking to them. Answer to yourself these few questions question: Why are you avoiding them? Is it to do with your self esteem? Can you change that? Can you become ...


8

Ok, so what it looks like is that your challenge is managing expectations from both yourself and the girl regarding dating and relationship progressing. Cultural-wise, the western society is much less "strict" on relationships and more often than not there is no expectation on the step-by-step of a budding romance. And some of the terms and definitions are ...


7

What it looks like to me is that you have two very valid reasons for not wanting to do this, and what makes this easier is that both of these reasons are obviously reasons that limit your ability to do the task as opposed to merely not wanting to do it. I would approach your friend addressing both points in ways that hightlight WHY you can't do the job e.g. ...


7

That's what friends are for. For helping each other when in need. It's very easy call each other "friends" as long as nothing really important and demanding happens (to be honest, this request is not so demanding in my opinion). That being said, what you can do is tell him exactly what you told us: that your english level is not good enough to ...


7

I want to tell her that, since I am a PostDoc researcher I perfectly unterstand the need to sometimes vanish from all other personal connections and just focus on research. I want to tell her that I want to try to support her with this decision and are really happy for her. But at the same time I want her to give us a chance to at least try and see if we can ...


6

First of all I do agree that, when we speak about mass-tourism, a little bit of cultural understanding would make the world a better place. What I am about to say may sound very stupid, but in the western world we see Japan as the country of technology, so the equation Japan = Technology = Electronic payment pretty much comes to mind. You guys trying to ...


6

It's none of your business. It could be risky, if the guys are mafia, or otherwise shady. Perhaps you could help, though. I advise looking at the law. Here, for instance, if a salesman comes into your home and you sign, you have 14 days to walk out of the contract, because there were too many cases of salesmen putting their foot in the door and strong-...


6

Being an introvert, you prefer to write how you feel. However, a love letter could make things awkward early in a friendship. You are just friends who haven't been alone with each other yet. You don't know how she feels about you, do you? She may only see you as a friend. She may like you but is shy. She may be seeing someone else She may not want to be ...


6

As Imus has answered earlier, the (modern) expected dresscode for anyone is usually a yukata for summer festivals. This isn't always the case, especially for females, where yukatas can be considered stuffy or a trouble to put on. As an example that this is the general view, here's a small comparison on preferences that was trending a few years back, on the ...


5

If you have her phone number I would ask her if you can meet to drink something or just talk. If you don't have her phone number try to talk with her when you see her at the train station. Don't confess your feelings at the first meeting. I don't think that this would be a very good idea. Could be a bit awkward for her and maybe even for you. You said that ...


5

As an American with a strong interest in Japan and Japanese culture I think that you will be fine without bowing. This is second-hand advice, so definitely don't treat it as the final word. Bowing in Japan is (as far as I am aware) a lot more intricate than just bending at the waist to some arbitrary angle. Advice that I have received as someone travelling ...


4

雰囲気読めない人 Already gave an excellent answer, but I would just like to say in general if someone is frightened of you and is walking away, the best you can do is go about your business and not engage that person in any way, no matter how well intentioned any attempt to "defuse" the situation is probably going to make the other person a lot more uneasy. Look at ...


4

I would tell them that exactly that way. In America, pointing out changes in customs to visiting colleagues and friends isn't rude, so saying FYI, when dining out, be sure to bring cash as most restaurants do not have credit card machines, and it can be difficult for the restaurant to process your payment. This way, even if they try to use a card, ...


4

First. Don't confess yet to her. You stated yourself that you sometimes hangout and that you are friends. You like her, and with a little luck, she likes you. But that is all. It's not loving. Second. Give yourself a chance to really know her and get in love with her, same goes for her. Try going out with her alone to the movies, dinner, just shopping, ...


4

BluePulse's answer already outlines the main points you can use. As you write that you want to keep the friendship, you could offer a compromise. The idea is that you tell him what you can offer - then it's his choice whether that is enough or not. Something like: I'd be glad to help you, however I must warn you that my medical English is probably ...


2

Starting from the culturally expected dresscode at these kind of events wearing a yukata is the most "normal" thing to do. Just like wearing a black (or really dark) suit to a funeral or a tuxedo to a wedding would be the expected dress code. If a foreigner shows up with the "culturally correct" clothes it's most likely percieved as appreciation for the ...


2

On this Kyoto University thread, someone describes what they do in such cases: 4人で席取りしてた奴らの机に「席取り禁止」の三角ポストを4つ置いてやったことはある。 My translation: On a table where 4 seats were "reserved", I placed 4 triangle signs saying "Seat reservation forbidden". Such signs can apparently be found in some places: More humorous suggestions on this thread tell the asker ...


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