Today, I want to introduce some facts that you should know before coming to Japan to enjoy real Japanese life.
After you read this article, you may know some hidden, interesting Japanese facts! These 5 facts will either make you surprised, or feel strange and so on. But Cultural differences and customs are interesting. Let’s know 5 facts that you should know about and talk about why knowing them could be helpful!
1.What is a Women-Only carriage? To protect women from harassment
Not only in Japan, there are Women-Only train carriages. For example, Pakistan is Muslim country, they separate women from men because of religious reasons. But Japanese Women-Only carriage come from another reason.
As you know, Japanese rush hour is tough, therefore there are some men who take advantage of how packed the train is and intentionally touch women(sexually harass) women inside the train. Because of this, train companies introduced a new system intended to protect women from sexual harassment.
According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport is defined as “considered carriage as transportation services in rail way company” Basically, all carriages have the exact same legal protection, therefore there is not a legal basis to reject men on these carriages.
In Japan, the Woman-Only carriage system started in 1912 in Tokyo, called “Lady and Children-Only carriage”. (Fujin- senyosha)
In the 2000s, the nuisance and pervert incidents became a much larger problem people recognised sexual harassment as a criminal offence, and therefore some railway companies tried to set Women-Only carriages for the sake of women.
Sexual harassment is a very vicious act for women, and for the gentlemen who get annoyed from unjust accusations of sexual assault. It is also an interesting fact.
You can find Woman-Only carriages easily, as they stand out so conspicuously.
If you are a woman, please use this carriage. It is much more comfortable, and men can take a seat in another carriage. If you are a man, please do not use this carriage as as much as you can. As we already know, there is no legal basis for that men can’t use this carriage, but using a Woman-Only carriage would be trouble and very disrespectful. However, some women-only carriages are restricted to women-only for specific hours. Typically, it is Mon-Fri, 7:30am-9:30am. Make sure you read the sign before entering!
How do you feel about this interesting fact? Funny or strange? Knowing these customs is also an important thing.
2.If you borrow a bike from a friend, you have to pay attention to bike registry. In Japan, bike registry exists because bikes are often stolen.
Especially these days, expensive road bikes are often. Stealing bikes is extremely popular among middle school, high school and university students. So, use the bike registry as often as possible.
If you or your friend who lent their bike to you forget to register, you will disappointed after it’s stolen! Registering your name also very important.
Do not forget to register your name and this system before you borrow their bike!
3.For cheese lovers, don’t expect to find a lot of it
Do you like cheese? If you live in EU or United States of America or some country where cheese is very commonly used, you like cheese, don’t you?
Especially in EU, there are many kind of cheese like a camembert, gouda cheese, gorgonzola cheese, Bleu de Gex and so on. Especially French cheeses are tasty and good with Wine. What a fantastic cheese parade for cheese lovers!
However, in Japan, the situation is entirely different. Most Japanese prefer to eat rice. Of course, Japanese also eat cheese but it is difficult to find many kinds of cheese.
If you enter a hamburger shop, you may find cheese sandwiched between meat and buns. This food culture is more Americanized day by day. Especially younger people prefer Western style or American style food. But generally speaking, Japanese prefer to eat rice with Japanese cuisine.
Therefore if you are cheese lovers, you must remember that you will not be able to find many cheeses in Japan! Even orange and white cheddar is difficult to find.
If it is available, you have to bring some cheese from your country from an airplane. Check information about luggage and restrictions.
4. When walking around, stay on the left side
Especially in Kyoto, people stay on the left side of escalator, because some people may be rushed and want to leave the station or change floors quickly. In this case, they can use the space made on the right side (from people standing on the left side) to walk past those standing still on the escalator and get up or down faster. Therefore, if you stop in the center or right side, people will be annoyed because they cannot proceed, even though you are a foreigner and they understand you do not know these customs.
In Japanese, this system called “hidarigawa tsukou” means keeping to the left.
Of course it is not limited on escalator, if you want to walking around outside, you must stay on left side to avoid bumping into others. If you do not know this rule, it may be more difficult for you.
It is an interesting fact but, it’s Japanese manners to live safely.
5. Don’t tip
This is the last interesting fact that I’m introducing today!
If you come from EU or US or some countries that have a custom of leaving a tip for your waiter or waitress, you often leave a tip on the table or hand the tip to your server. Of course some Asian countries have the custom of giving a tip. It is polite at café or restaurant, right?
But, Japan is totally different.
In Japan, the custom of leaving a tip does not exist, if it is at a café or sophisticated restaurant.
Therefore, if you leave some money as tip, your server will run and get you to return your money! What an amazing thing it is! No need to give a tip? Why?
In Japan, the service is high quality and a tip is not required. The Service fee is already included in your drink or dishes, therefore there is no need to acquire a tip from the customer. In Japan, it truly is the customer comes first, so we have our original service system.
Sometimes foreign people leave coins for their server as a tip, and their server will find it after he or she already left the café, so the server will run out to tell them, “ No need tip in Japan, so I have to return this.”
It seems funny, but actually some foreigners have experienced this and were surprised!
Please attention to these cuture differences that I introduced!
These are also interesting facts at the same time. Enjoy your stay in Japan.
How did you feel after reading this article? You found a new aspect of Japan and new interesting facts that shows Japanese culture and customs. Enjoy your Japanese life, prepared with these 5 interesting facts!
Ruka / Japan