B1 Intermediate 6 Folder Collection
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Today we're going to go over common household manners and expectations in Japan.
Now unfortunately we weren't able to get permission to use an actual Japanese home,
so I'll have to do my best to explain it from here.
To start out with, many traditional Japanese homes have walls with a gate
surrounding their entire property.
At the front of the gate should be a doorbell, and if you go to visit you
should use that doorbell instead of going through to the front door, even if
that front door has a doorbell as well.
The doorbell at the gate might have a speaker phone on it, so don't be
surprised if someone starts talking to you!
Immediately inside is the genkan, which is where you take off your shoes.
It's polite to move your shoes off to the side, heels to the wall
so that they're out of the way.
One step up is the regular floor and there should be a rug there.
That's where you put on your slippers.
You don't have to wear slippers, and you don't have to wear socks, either,
although if everyone else is wearing them it's kind of strange if you're not.
Typically Japanese people will wear socks and slippers in the winter because
it's cold, although in the summer many people go barefoot.
If you choose just to wear socks, be careful
because many traditional Japanese homes have polished hardwood
floors, which are really slippery.
When you enter a Japanese home, if you're visiting you should greet your hosts with the
proper verbage for the time of the day.
So: "ohayou gozaimasu" if it's before noon,
"konnichiwa" during the day, and "konbanwa" during the evening.
And then say "ojamashimasu" which is an acknowledgement of
your being in the way or causing trouble.
If you are already in the home and another family member who is older than
you or is the host returns,
you should greet them with the time of the day and then say "ojamashiteimasu".
when you leave you should say "ojamashimashita"
and if it's in the evening, "oyasumi nasai".
If you're homestaying, when you return home simply say "tadaima"
and when you leave "ittekimasu".
When another family member returns home
reply to their "tadaima" with "okaeri nasai"
and their "ittekimasu" with "itterashai".
Almost all Japanese homes have one or more rooms where the flooring is tatami mats.
Tatami mats can be very expensive and they're difficult to take care of and
clean, so in some families they're not often used or are used only a storage
or entertaining guests.
Traditional rules say to take off your slippers before entering a tatami room,
but this depends on the family and the house.
If you're visiting someone, you can
either follow their example or ask them what you should do.
If you're homestaying in Japan, your family should go over their house rules with you
when you arrive.
A Japanese living room is similar to a living room anywhere,
and may have couches, chairs, a TV, a family computer, etc.
In addition they will probably also have a coffee table, which may be a kotatsu,
sitting atop one or several layers of rugs, one of which may be electric.
There rugs are for sitting, and some families may request or expect that you
take off your slippers before stepping onto them.
Unless you're in a small dorm or apartment, Japanese bathrooms are
usually compartmentalized.
The toilet will be in its own room.
On the back of the toilet may be a faucet that turns on when you flush.
This is for washing deodorizers and cleaners into the bowl
but you can also use it to rinse your hands.
To wash your hands with soap you'll have to find a washroom that has a sink and a
mirror in it.
In some homes this is immediately attached to the toilet room,
but in others you may have to pass through several rooms to get to it, especially if
the toilet is on the second floor.
The bathing room is usually connected through one of the washrooms.
Inside you will find a tub with a lid and a shower head outside of the tub.
Bathing rituals differ from family to family, but in many families all family
members will bathe at least once a day,
usually at night before bed, sharing the same water.
If you're staying overnight in a Japanese home, or of course if you're homestaying,
they'll probably insist that you use the tub first since that's when it's
at its cleanest.
For Japanese people who do take daily baths, this is an important time of
relaxation for them.
If you choose not to take a bath and shower instead, it's not offensive,
but they may be confused as to why you don't want to take the opportunity to
There should be a trash can in the washroom for you to throw away your hair.
If not, most Japanese homes usually keep their trash area somewhere in the
Most trash in Japan is either recycled or burned, so they have quite a few
bags for you to sort your trash into, from plastics to pet bottles, glass, cans,
burnables and sometimes more.
Ladies, your feminine hygiene products are going to go in the burnables--
you can't flush any of it down the toilets here.
The home you stay in should talk to you about it, but they'll either have newspapers
for you to wrap it in, or they'll ask you to use tissues or toilet paper.
In general, common sense about being polite applies here as well.
If you're homestaying your family should go over their rules with you,
but for example don't invite people over without asking them,
ask permission to use their phone and return by curfew if you have one.
And it would also be nice to offer to help out with chores every now and then.
In Japanese culture it's often expected that you help out, even if no one asks.
And since you're homestaying you're now a family member, which means that some
people may expect that of you, too.
But if you make a mistake don't worry!
No one's expecting you to be perfect and we all have our really embarrassing
moments in Japan.
I have a lot to say about table manners so I'll go over that in the next video.
But for now if you have any questions or comments about what to expect in a
Japanese home, or if something is polite or rude, leave it in the comments below!
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Japanese House Manners

6 Folder Collection
林宜悉 published on March 25, 2020
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