Japanese culture is different from any other culture, and the society is also very unique. Japan is a very homogeneous country, so “being Japanese” requires many things. You may find something very different from what you have experienced in your life and might feel confused, so here are some tips for you.
Take off your shoes
When you enter a Japanese house or private space, you often have to take off your shoes. There is usually a place to put your shoes away, so when you enter a house find the right place. Some restaurants, hotels, and other public facilities also require you to take off your shoes. They often have slippers for you. Sometimes you will find a pair of slippers especially for use in the toilet; please make sure you use them only in the toilet.
Body contact & Touching
Hugging or kissing as greeting is not common in Japan. Even hand shaking is not used commonly. Japanese people use bows to greet others and express appreciation. In some formal situations, you may see Japanese people bowing many times to show their respect and gratitude. Here is a link to learn a little bit more about bowing.
People in Japan can be shy and try to avoid eye contact. Especially if you speak English, they may shy away not knowing what to do. But please don’t take it personally; they are friendly, but just aren’t used to it.
People in Japan like to be quiet in public, so make sure you don’t disturb the peaceful atmosphere. Talking on the phone on the train is considered rude and impolite. Blowing your nose loudly in public is also not recommended. However, making noises while eating noodles, soup, or drinking tea, or anything hot is socially acceptable.
You may find it rather inconvenient in Japan when it comes to throwing away garbage, because it can be difficult to find a public trash box in public spaces. However, you can often find recycling bins for plastic bottles and a trash box next to vending machines.