Japanese laws and customs that are surprising to foreigners

Japanese laws
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1. Take your shoes off when entering a house.

As a foreigner in Japan, there are certain customs and traditions that you will have to get used to. One of these is taking your shoes off before entering a house. This is because the Japanese people don’t want the dirt and dust from outside to be brought in.

Most houses in Japan have a small area called a genkan where shoes can be removed and slippers put on. Slippers must be removed when entering a tatami room, where socks are the preferred footwear.

2; Slippers for toilets

One law is the use of special slippers for going to the toilet. These slippers, which are often inscribed with a word or image to make them stand out, are meant to be used specifically in the bathroom. To use them, simply change your house slippers to your toilet slippers, do the right thing, then change back before you leave. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

I guarantee that at some point during your trip, you’ll forget to change back into your house slippers and you’ll be caught walking through a house or restaurant in the offending footwear. Don’t worry, most Japanese people are quite accommodating about this cultural difference. It will be considered a source of amusement rather than serious rudeness.

3; Using public restrooms

 When it comes to using public restrooms, the Western world typically adheres to the queuing system. This means that people line up one after the other and take turns using the facility. In Japan, however, people use whatever booth is available to them at any given time, regardless of who may have been waiting longer. This can seem frustrating if you’re in a hurry and end up picking a door with a sloth inside, but it is simply the local convention of luck of the draw.

4; Traditional Japanese style toilets

If you’re lucky, you may never have to use a traditional Asian squat toilet. But if you do, here are some tips to make the experience a bit less daunting.

First, bend your knees and mount up. Be careful not to lose your balance. Then, use your hands to guide you and do your business. Although it is rare, sometimes toilet paper might not be provided at some places, so it may be a good idea to always have a pack of tissues in your pocket.

When you’re finished, be sure to clean up any messes you may have made. Use water from the sink if available, or take some toilet paper with you to use as makeshift wipes. Finally, flush the toilet and wash your hands thoroughly.

5; Rice is a Japanese starchy staple that is served at all meals. Contrary to Western tastes, soy sauce is not meant to be poured directly over the rice. If you need extra flavour, dip a piece of rice in soy sauce or another spread sauce. Do not pour soy sauce directly over the tofu – this will make it very salty.

In Japan rice is important and is considered to the main dish of meals.

6. Age of consent in Japan is so low.

Recently the legal age of consent in Japan has been talked aboutwidely on the internet. The age of consent is 13, which is set by Japanese Penal code. Having said so, this is rather a de jure age and the de fact age of consent is 18 because of other laws implemented over the last two decades. Japanese government has been under criticism as the age of consent is so low compared with other nations on the globe and now they are considering changing it to 16.

7. Legal age for majority is 18 now.

The low has recently been revised and the age of majority in Japan is now 18 yeas old. It used to be 20 until very recently and there has been many confusions. The legal age for smoking and drinking, however, is still 20 years old.

Selim Khan

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