What Not to Do in Social and Business Situations in Japan

– Don’t spear your chopsticks or stick them upright into a bowl of rice or a piece of sushi
– Don’t point your chopsticks at other people
– Don’t take food directly from a dish and put it in your mouth. Add it to your bowl first
– Don’t pour soy sauce directly on to your rice
– Don’t wear your shoes inside the home
– Don’t wear the house slippers in the toilet. You need to change into the toilet slippers
– Don’t tip in restaurants, taxis or at hotels
– Don’t use sarcasm
– Don’t eat while you’re walking
– Don’t blow your nose with a handkerchief. Use a tissue
– Don’t wear shoes with too many ties or buckles. You’ll need to remove them in Japanese homes and at traditional Japanese restaurants.
– Don’t wear socks with holes in them if you know you’re going to have to remove your shoes
– Don’t use too much eye contact or physical contact as this is considered to be rude


– Don’t show too much emotion in business meetings.
– Don’t be too negative in business meetings. Try to avoid the word “No”
– If you’re offered a business card, accept it with both hands and don’t put it in your wallet without looking at it
– If you’re doing business with a Japanese company, don’t use aggressive sales tactics
– Don’t forget to introduce your colleagues. Proper introductions are important in all business and social situations
– Don’t chat too much in social or business situations. Silence is more important than constant chatter
– Don’t use sarcasm or joke about your manager in a business meeting
– Don’t expect business connections with the Japanese to form straight away or too quickly
– Don’t forget to nod to show you’re listening when a Japanese person is talking to you
– Never forget harmony and etiquette are the basis of all good social and business interactions in Japan
– Don’t wear flamboyant clothing. Men should wear dark suits and a tie for a meeting or an interview and women should wear a dress or a skirt with heels
– Don’t forget to take gifts from your own country if you’re meeting with a Japanese company or if you’ve been invited to a Japanese home
– Don’t be late for meetings. Punctuality is important
– Don’t use sloppy wrapping techniques when you give a Japanese person a gift. The wrapping is just as important as the gift giving process



  • D Hunter Sanchez says:

    What about English companies/schools that are not totally honest with obtaining a work visa or changing the salary? How can I look out for and avoid these companies?

    • I recommend that you apply to work at the more well-known and prestigious English teaching companies such as Aeon, ECC and Interac. I hope this helps and I wish you all the very best working as an English teacher in Japan.

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