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Greetings Used Before and After Meals: “Itadakimasu” and “Gochisosama”

Before eating meals, Japanese people join their hands in front of their chests and say, “itadakimasu.” After finishing, they perform the same gesture and say, “gochisosama.” These greetings are part of a day-to-day manner. Japanese people hold their hands this way to show respect and to put their thoughts and feelings into form. They use the…

Tips for Navigating the Rules of Japan

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines social norms as “the informal rules that govern behavior in groups and societies.” As a country with a famously high-context culture, Japan is known for having an endless amount of unspoken rules that conjure up conflicting feelings of fascination and frustration among foreign visitors and residents. In this inaugural…

Are Tokyo’s Streets Really Clean?

Tokyo’s street cleanliness is a natural object of admiration among foreign visitors. “Japanese people don’t litter” has become one of the most famous misconceptions about Japan, along with “Japanese trains are always on time.” Tokyo is indeed cleaner than most big cities anywhere else in the world, and Japanese people tend to be extra careful…

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