Are you planning your trip to Japan? You might be worrying about accidentally offending someone by saying or doing the wrong thing. It is probably fair to say that Japanese society in general places a premium on etiquette, but don’t be too nervous! As long as you show your best effort to be polite and appreciative of the culture, a few mistakes here and there will be dismissed. But if you want to test your familiarity with Japanese etiquette, take the following true-or-false quiz!
True or False?
1. Kissing and hugging are becoming common ways to greet friends, especially among young people.
2. You bow deeply when you apologize.
3. You don’t have to say or do anything when someone sneezes.
4. You must take off your shoes when entering someone’s home.
5. You must put on bathroom slippers when they are provided.
6. A potted plant makes a good gift when visiting someone in a hospital.
7. When someone gives you a gift, you must open it immediately.
8. Chrysanthemums are funeral flowers and not to be part of a celebration bouquet.
9. You must always eat sushi with chopsticks.
10. If you are not confident about using chopsticks, it is okay to use a fork when eating noodles.
11. Drinking alcoholic beverages in parks and other public areas is not regulated by law.
12. You are encouraged to slurp when eating noodles.
13. The suffix さん -san (Mr./Ms.) should always follow a last name, and it should never be used with someone’s first name.
14. You may attach さん -san (Mr./Ms.) to your own name only when you introduce yourself.
15. You always have to say どういたしまして (You’re welcome) when someone says ありがとうございます (Thank you) to you.
1. F (Japanese people don’t ‘kiss and hug’ to greet anyone.)
3. T (You could say, 大丈夫ですか Dijoubu desu ka? Are you okay?, but you don’t have to say anything at all. There is no Japanese equivalent of the phrase Bless you.)
5. T (If you are already wearing slippers, you have to change your slippers to the bathroom slippers before entering the bathroom or toilet.)
6. F (A potted plant is an inappropriate gift for a sick person because it’s believed that the illness will take “deeper root.”)
9. F (You can also eat sushi with your hands.)
10. T (It’s much better to use a fork than to struggle with chopsticks both for you and for people around you.)
11. T (U.S. regulation is much stricter in this regard.)
12. T (Slurping noodles is actually considered good manners.)
13. F (It’s completely acceptable to use さん -san Mr./Ms. with a first name.)
14. F (Never use さん -san Mr./Ms. with your own name.)
15. F (People often rather say, いえいえ Ieie No no, (it’s nothing); you rarely hear people say どういたしまして Dou itashimashite. You’re welcome.)
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