Why Do Japanese (and Other Asian) People Wear Face Masks?

Why Do Japanese (and Other Asian) People Wear Face Masks?

With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, face masks exploded in usage. People who had never worn a face mask in their lives suddenly had to rush to the store and obtain masks in order to keep up with current pandemic health restrictions. But while face masks are a strange novelty and byproduct of the pandemic to many parts of the world, wearing a face mask is nothing new in Japan. While other countries had to handle protests and even…

Chopstick Etiquette: What You Should Know Before Visiting Japan

Chopstick Etiquette: What You Should Know Before Visiting Japan

Despite their widespread usage in Asia, chopsticks haven’t taken off in popularity in the same way in Western countries. For those unfamiliar with these sticks used for eating, it may come as a surprise that these deceptively simple-looking tools have a protocol attached to them. While chopstick etiquette and Japanese dining manners as a whole share many similarities with Western table manners, there are unique cultural aspects of chopstick usage in Japan that are important to be aware of. Different…

Is it Okay to Slurp Noodles in Japan?

Is it Okay to Slurp Noodles in Japan?

Japanese hospitality, sometimes called omotenashi, is praised as being a step above the rest of the world. With this reputation for elegant respect and ceaseless courtesy, travelers fresh off the plane and hungry for their first authentic bowl of Japanese ramen may be in for a shock.  Lift the curtain and step into any ramen restaurant in Tokyo to be met with a loud symphony of slurping noises as customers happily squelch down their noodles. Your inner etiquette may scream…

Valentine’s Day in Japan: A Look at Japanese Valentine’s Day Traditions

Valentine’s Day in Japan: A Look at Japanese Valentine’s Day Traditions

Most well-traveled, culturally-aware people will know that holidays are not universal. As we approach February 14th, you might wonder: Do they celebrate Valentine’s Day in Japan? And if so, how is it different? Valentine’s Day in Japan: The Basics Most of our readers will be familiar with the Western way of celebrating Valentine’s Day. Generally speaking, it’s a holiday where romantic partners either gift equally, or where the male gifts the female (that all depends on relationship dynamics). In Japan,…