16 things I realized after living a year in Japan

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Journalist Amy Chavez now lives on the tiny Japanese island of Shiraishi Jima and lead editorials in several Western publications, which tells about the mysterious Japan. Us Site loved her insights about what Westerners can learn from the Japanese.

Man first appeared in Japan in the first place catches the eye of the public order and effective device all in all.

The streets are clean, trains come in second in the second, the people are calm and polite, but slightly eccentric, which gives them a charm (take at least widespread fascination with cosplay, ice cream with the taste of chicken noodles and a lottery where you can win a five-storey Burger).

But seriously, any trip to Japan, even the shortest, can greatly affect your life and Outlook. From Japan no one returns unchanged. In this post are my own conclusions and observations of the tourists I asked.

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Japanese street fashionistas.

  • To always return the favor
The first thing you learn in Japan is to not only accept help, but have to do a reciprocal gesture. Remember how many times you wanted to write someone a letter of thanks, but spun and forgotten. Or bought a card for someone's birthday but never sent. In Japan this would not have happened — there is a good relationship is impossible without mutual exchange of courtesies.

On the other hand, in this country do not have to provide equivalent value and return the favour. For example, if someone helped you to move the sofa when you move, enough to buy him a coke. And everyone will be happy.

  • Thanks for the help at our next meeting
In the previous paragraph, the expression of gratitude does not end there. The Japanese never forget to say "thank you" for your help at our next meeting. To us it may seem unnecessary, but it's nice when you say: "Listen, and you were so helpful last time with the couch, thank you very much!". That's nice, agree?

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Just geisha, just walking in Kyoto with a friend.

  • Politeness is more than just a "thank you" and "goodbye»
Politeness in Japanese culture a much greater premium than in the West. If you asked for directions on the street, a passerby not too lazy to draw a map for you, as the owner of the shop may even quit the trade to hold you a little. The politeness of the Japanese people means cultivating selflessness — when they help someone on the street, forgetting for a moment that in a hurry, they do not have the thought: "And why do I care?".

  • To think about others more than himself
The best way to show loved ones how much they mean to you, to think about their convenience more than your. Friend to give a bigger piece of the cake, to put the relative on the most comfortable place in the restaurant to put guests in the center of the overall photo, bake a cake and give it to the neighbor — all this is a normal behavior of the Japanese.

In a traditional Japanese house there are special places for guests opposite the niche tokonoma, where the most beautiful things — antique engravings, ceramics or elegant ikebana.

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  • All are part of the group and she never let anyone out
If colleagues after work in a bar, it is open to all, not just "the circle". It is not possible awkward moments when someone finds out that the afterparty went off without him. If you make a picture, you collect all those present, regardless of whether the member whether it is family, friend or "just stood there". This attitude allows you to cultivate tolerance for those who are not like you.

  • They respect the property of others
In English there is a proverb: "Who found — takes, lost — weeping" (Finder's keepers, losers weepers, Russian analogue of "What fell from the cart, then it was gone"). It's not about Japan. If someone dropped an umbrella or other useful thing on the street, on his return, he will find in the same place or at the nearest bench. To take things — shame on you!

  • Here is completely safe to drink
Tourists from other countries celebrated that evening on the streets of Japanese cities quite a lot in Tabagan drunken office workers (often you can see them by day). Interestingly, getting drunk in Japan is absolutely safe, and drunken bar fights are rare. If you plan to come off as it should, you can not be afraid that in the morning you Wake up with a black eye, with a torn sleeve or without the purse. So quiet drunky's in decent costumes sleeping peacefully Saturday morning on a bench in the Park to Wake up and go home.

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Tachinomi — popular Japanese bars, where one can only stand.

  • Sometimes the monopoly of the state — it is very good
Magnificent Railways (and public transport system), e-mail, which works like a clock, and excellent health are perfect examples of areas that are controlled by the state. It is difficult to imagine that private business would be better.

  • Arrogance is a Vice, and not "the second happiness»
Japanese society encourages modesty and does not like those who swing right. People wait in long lines — I got this — and no arguing and no yelling. Drivers do not behave aggressively on the road and God forbid anyone cut. There are no disgruntled votes, skeptical of sighs "what are you all stupid", arrogant attitudes and impenetrable expressions of the type "arms length". And traveler someday soon catches himself thinking that he's comfortable and wants more and more to breathe this air of tranquility.

  • The Japanese are great listeners
Before acquaint you with my valuable opinion, the Japanese will give to speak to you. And they know how to listen to great. To listen to others, and not seek to dominate the conversation is very important. So we cultivate tolerance and fairness, learn to respect other people's opinions. Japanese discuss the subject, no matter how topical it may be, and not argue with foam at the mouth, trying in any way to suppress the interlocutor.

  • The Japanese are alien to nationalism
Everyone deep down believes that his country is the best. So to prove to foreigners that your country is the best on earth, useless. And this "best country in the world" simply does not exist.

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Fun street food in Tokyo — the doughnut in the form of Hello kitty, ice cream-fish.

  • Ganbaru (Ganbaru) — perseverance in achieving goals
In English (and in Russian) is not the word that is similar to the Japanese Ganbaru. Many of us will throw begun to discover that it takes more time and money than it seemed. In Japan, any business begin to bring it to fruition and make all efforts for this. Japan brings in people Ganbaru, just because it's acting all around.

  • The promise must be fulfilled
If Japanese is something you have promised to keep you one hundred percent sure that he will do it. And in any case will not forget! He will come to your event, even if outside the window pouring rain. Just not show up — it's unthinkable, but if it does not work, you need to call in advance and apologize or send someone in his place.

  • The Japanese are responsible citizens
During the world Cup in Brazil in 2014 Japanese fans impressed everyone with the unprecedented purity in their sector of the stadium. If you are familiar with Japan, it won't surprise you — people here always clean up every last piece of paper. In the season of admiring the cherry blossoms when the Japanese throughout picnics on the grass, you will not see a single disposable Cup, lying on the grass.

But if you invite guests, you can be sure that they will help to clear the table and even wash the dishes. The usual case, when the accountant pushing a broom in front of the office of the company, and the neighbors have shared Saturdays.

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The temple Daigo-JI in Kyoto.

  • Refined behavior and elegance
If I had to choose one word to describe the Japanese, I choose "elegance". All, regardless of background and income, behave exquisitely. No one, for example, will not poke a finger, pointing to interest of his thing, and will make an elegant hand gesture. This applies to all: they dress well — primarily out of respect for others, a welcome counter with a kind smile, but if you convey some thing, will not do it without looking, and definitely use two hands and a face.

  • The Japanese are never late
One of the important lessons that foreigners receive in Japan — precision, which is a manifestation of respect for others. Moreover, the Japanese accuracy leads to the fact that everything in this country — from mechanisms to people is reliable and efficient.

Photo preview of A Girl Eats World / Tumblr
Author Amy Chavez
According to the materials Rocketnews24

See also
15 things I learned after living two years in China
50 unexpected facts about Japan

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