My sister lived in Japan for five months, to complete her degree in Japanese Language and Culture, and in this post, I would like to share with teh RGNN a couple of tips to better understand this far eastern culture before taking off from European shores.
1. What are good manners?
Neither EATING nor using your mobile phone in a public means of transportation. It is considered extremely rude.
2. Don’t fill your apartment with plastic bags
When going shopping, bring a canvas bag with you and try to kindly persuade the shopping assistants not to give you plastic bags, otherwise your house will be filled up with them in a short period of time. Moreover, there are very few trash cans in the city, so bring some vinyl bags for your rubbish when travelling. You will show a kind respect for the environment and demonstrate you are aware of the pollution.
3. Be aware of the professional code of conduct
If you are interning abroad in Japan, get as much info as you can on the company and learn a little bit of the business language. Moreover, you should be aware of the keigo lexicon in order to refer formally to your bosses.
4. Adapt your electronic devices
Be informed in advance on the use of mobile phones, Internet and other technical devices. You might need a Japanese sim card or you can buy a cell rental card directly at the airport.
5. Get your bad habits under control
Do not smoke in the street! Mind the appointed smoking areas. Japanese are very strict with this issue, please, be polite and respect the rules.
6. Learn how to understand Engrish
Yes, Engrish not English. In other words, the distorted English spoken within the Asiatic area. Find some examples here before you go.
7. Forget fruits and vegetables
The prices of fruits and vegetables are terribly high. My sister said she once spent 5 Euros on a banana. Prices can even be per piece and not based on weight.
8. Where is my money?
To withdraw money, we recommend using the ATMS at 7/11 and the Post Office. Ask your bank about international withdrawals before you go.
9. Lost in the underground
Do not get worried about the tangled labyrinth of the Tokyo underground. Sometimes, if you change trains, you will have to buy a new ticket to continue your trip on the second new line.
10. Black list supermarket items
Items considered as a shame (tampons, condoms, pregnancy tests) will be put in a black bag at the supermarkets cashiers, so nobody will see what you have already bought.