The Countdown for Summer 2020 Tokyo Olympic has begun! Must Know This! 8 Basic Things Not To Do!

The Countdown for Summer 2020 Tokyo Olympic has begun! Must Know This! 8 Basic Things Not To Do!

The final countdown for 2020 Olympic has entered the home stretch, July 24th marks a year to come until Tokyo hosts the biggest game of 339 events in 33 sports.

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You must know that!

Before you travel to Japan for this coming Olympic, it pays to brush up on some cultural differences to avoid offending local sensibilities. Manners and social rules are not universal, and it is easy to commit a gaffle if you are not aware of their customs and convictions.

The Japanese are relatively reserved and polite, so you probably won’t even realize you’re slighting anyone, but they notice.

Part of the enrichment of travel is learning about other cultures and being sensitive to their ways.

The Japanese are about as hospitable and welcoming as it gets, so take time to read up on some basic behavioral Do’s and Don’t to ensure a fault-pas free trip.

8 Basic Things Not to do in Japan.

1. Wearing shoes in the house.

Japanese tatami mat room
Japanese tatami mat room

It is the common one; most people are aware that you take your shoes off before entering a house in Japan. It’s a reasonable and hygienic request when you think about it. They don’t want the dust and dirt from the outside streets trekked all over their clean floors and tatami mats.

Most homes have a small recessed vestibule called “genkan” where shoes should be removed and slippers put on (quest slippers are often provided).

Note: These slippers should be removed when you enter a tatami mat room, wear socks is the preferred footwear.

2. Taking a hot bath unsoaped.

It may sound counter-intuitive, but bathing is not for cleaning in Japan. Those deep Ofuro tubs you see are for soaking and soothing after you’ve already soaped and scrubbed in the adjusted shower (often seated on an individual bathing stool in front of a hand-held shower nozzle).

Several people may take a turn in the same hot water before draining it to warm the body, so you’ll be squeaky clean before dipping your toes in one of the communal tubs.

Youll be submerged up to your neck in steaming hot water, not stretched out, and reclining like on the western bath. It is a blissfully relaxing spa-like treatment that will warm you to the core.

Remember when you’ve done, don’t pull the drain plug as someone else may be waiting for their turns.

3. Playing with Chopsticks.

Use your chopstick properly
Use your chopstick properly.

Before you go to Japan, learn how to use chopsticks.

It is not that hard if you practice and will be amazed at how the locals will praise you for your skill as if it’s some incredible feat.

Even if you’re already adept with using it, there are few chopsticks etiquette rules to keep in mind over there.

  • Don’t wave them above your food, use as a drumstick, mock sword-fight, or point to people with it. Consider the pair a unit, so don’t poke your meal with one solitary stick on hand.
  • Never stand it upright in a bowl of rice or pass food to another person with it. That’s akin to funeral rituals and will be considered very impolite.
  • Don’t stab a spear morsels of food, and don’t use it to pull dishes towards you.
  • Don’t link or suck on the end of the chopsticks.
  • Don’t cross chopstick like an X or lay across your bowl like a bridge. When you are finished eating, put your chopstick down in front of you facing left.

4.  Minding the Slurp and Burp of the person next to your table.

With all these Japanese guidelines for table manners, it can take foreign visitors by surprise to hear the locals devouring their meals in a way foreigners might consider a bit uncomfortable.

Drink your soup naturally
Drink your soup naturally.

They’ll sip, slurp, smack, suck, chew, chomp and ever burp audibly throughout the meal as a polite sign that they are enjoying the feast. The lauder, the better, it seems. So go ahead, forget what your mom taught you and make little gusto noise at the Japanese table. The cook will be flattered.

5. Pouring your Drink.

Alcohol is a vital part of socializing in Japan, and the custom is for colleagues and friends to keep each other’s glasses full and bottomless. It means there will be a constants stream of refills as everyone tries to top each other up.

As a foreigner, you may be the beneficiary of this hospitable gesture more than most. So be careful, It can be challenging to keep tabs on how much you’re imbibing here. Don’t forget to reciprocate the gesture to others.

The most polite and honorable way is to pour using two hands, and say Kampai!

6. Tipping in Japan.

Tipping is not a standard practice in Japan, and it will be perceived as an insult if you try to do so.

Service workers like waiters, taxi drivers, and hairstylists receive a reasonable wage and do not expect any bonus payment from their customers.

Save yourself the awkwardness and forget the gratuities in Japan.

7. Blabbing on your Cell Phone.

Japan is one of the most densely populated countries in the world and has 90% penetration when it comes to mobile devices.

You’ll think they’d all be yammering on a cell phone all day long. However, that’s not the case. While almost everyone has a smartphone, there are some socially agreed-upon etiquette rules for talking in public.

The Japanese put group needs ahead of the individual, so they never want their phone usage to be considered a nuisance to others.

They find it rude to talk loudly on the phone on the streets, trains, buses, or other public spaces in the country. You are asked to switch your phone to “manner mode” in quite places like hotel lobbies, restaurants, museums. They respect other people’s zone of privacy and don’t want to intrude by taking voice calls in.

8. Using Recreational Drugs.

Japan takes it’s drug laws very seriously. If you are caught with even a small amount of Marijuana or other illegal drugs, you will be met with a hefty penalty and even jail time.

There is a zero-tolerance policy there, and there is no pardon if you are a foreigner. Avoid recreational drug usage when visiting Japan or prepare to face the consequences.


Enjoy your visit to Japan! In my next post, I’ll be writing more about Japan.

Thank you so much for reading this post. I hope I was able to provide you useful information. If you have any questions or concerns about this article, Then, please feel free to leave me a comment below, and I will be happy to help you.


Lyn  Read here About Me




  1. Kavitha

    Interesting read. My husband worked in Japan and he explained about their culture. I wonder how people are so disciplined. Switching the phone to ‘manner mode’ in public places is really great!
    Waiting for your next post.

    • admin

      Thank you, Kavitha for your kind comments, Yes that’s true they are so much disciplined not only in switching their phones to “manner mode” but in some other things too.

  2. Hi Lyn

    Thank you for your blog, it is very interesting, I want to come to the Olympic games and I found your writing about what not to do in Japan! I believe for me will be difficult to eat with Chopsticks, somehow I just don’t get it! And when I eat and talk I have to move my arms around to explain! But I will try my best!

    Thank you for the tips!
    All the best

    • admin

      Hello Dusan,

      Thank you so much for stopping by with your kind words. You’re very much welcome to the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic, I look forward to meeting you!
      Using chopsticks seems difficult for the first time, but you’ll find it easier for the second time around, don’t worry you’ll be used for the third time.

      Once again thank you and I’ll see you around on the 2020 Tokyo Olympic.

      Warm regards,

  3. Very informative and detailed article! Some of the rules regarding the usage of chopsticks are very similar to the chinese culture. For instance, standing chopsticks in the bowl is regarded as praying the deceased and never to cross the chopsticks!

    I was really intrigue with point 4! It is interesting to know that making loud slurping noises while eating is actually polite! In my country, it is the totally opposite. If someone eats with sound, many people will be staring at the person! I find that this is the interesting part of different nationalities. Each one is unique!

    • admin

      Hi Lynn,

      Using chopsticks is the same way in Japanese and Chinese culture when comes to rules and regulation, They sometimes say chopstick is sacred and don’t play with it!

      Yes, that’s true! With all these Japanese guidelines to table manners, it can take foreigner visitors by surprise to hear the locals eating their meals, especially on noodles. They sip, slurp or burp audibly as a polite sign to the cook that they are enjoying their meals. It’s sometimes foreigner consider a bit gauche or bad manners. When you come and visit try eating your noodles this way, the cook will be flattered.

      Thank you so much, I hope that this bit of information helps you to know some of the uniqueness of Japan.

      Best regards,

  4. You would think some of these would be common sense but there are a large majority of people that are simply unaware of bad etiquette.

    I just read an article about the Japanese school system and they don’t have custodians, the kids clean up the schools themselves so it came as no surprise that the Japanese fans during the World Cup stayed behind to clean up their area.

    They are taught this type of etiquette from an early age, which is why it’s so clean in Japan.

    Me and my wife actually tried to save money to go to the 2020 Olympics but it doesn’t look like it’s gonna happen, I just we’ll have to wait till 2024 instead, thanks for the info!

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