Books like Etiquette Guide to Japan: Know the Rules That Make the Difference!
Etiquette Guide to Japan: Know the Rules That Make the Difference!
2001, Boyé Lafayette de Mente
I am so glad I read this little book before I visited Japan, I can’t tell you. It’s actually more for people there on business, but for me, travelling for pleasure, it gave me a brilliant insight into the Japanese culture and saved me the world of embarrassment too. I learned how to know when to take off my shoes. How to perform a symbolic purification before approaching a shrine. When and how to bow. Dining etiquette. Bath and toilet protocol. And, above all, how to apologise (sumimasen, the most useful word in Japan meaning not just “sorry” but “pardon me” “excuse me” and “thank you”) and how to express appreciation (Oishi = delicious). Most helpfully the book explains the origins of Japanese etiquette, and once I understood that the primary focus of Japanese society is harmony, everything made sense. They do not exist for the individual, but for the whole, explaining why no one uses their phones on the train (they don’t want to disturb their neighbour’s harmony), why no one shouts or calls out on the street, and why the whole country feels low-key and oddly noiseless. It’s all to protect their wa. A great little book that gave me a great insight into the country as well as help me avoid any unwitting faux pas.