Traveling sins? What the hell is this? I'll explain: The good news is that Japan is a safe country. It's also a remarkable culture – a delight for any traveller. This does not mean that all travel is easy.
After all, some visitors to Japan make mistakes that make their trip less fun, leave the locals with a bad impression, or land them in prison. Be sure to avoid these 7 travel sins on your next visit to Japan.
Traveling Sins #1 – Selfishness
First of all, let's take something into consideration: Japan is not an English-speaking country since most of its inhabitants cannot speak English. If people are kind enough to speak English with you – speak slowly.
First, consider at least learning some Japanese. Don't be selfish to think that others should know your language in their country.
On top of that, use visual communication such as hand gestures. Keep your words simple.
Occasionally, you might get lucky and find people who speak English, just like you do – but generally, you need to speak carefully. However, make a point of learning their language.
Therefore, some Japanese words are always appreciated. Communication is a two-way street.
Traveling Sins #2 – Lack of Resilience
The Japanese have a completely different set of social norms and manners. In fact, all countries do.
As well as what is socially acceptable in one country can be completely taboo in Japan. Likewise, what is rude in your country may be perfectly acceptable in Japan.
This is where patience and common sense help the traveler. Ask for suggestions. If you're on a crowded train and people keep pushing into the car – that's normal. Different norms and ways are a challenge – and therefore it is better to be ready to face that challenge.
Traveling Sins #3 – Pride
Visitors to Japan say the word gaijin (foreigner) often since the gaijin is a small minority in Japan.
If you are the only foreigner in a restaurant or on a train – you may feel that you really stand out, however the opposite applies.
After all, there are many foreigners living in Japan. Most Japanese have lived abroad or traveled extensively.
In other words, the locals aren't interested in you simply because you're a gaijin. In general, it's best to forget all about your race/nationality and have fun.
Traveling sins #4 – Lack of common sense
We all step out of our comfort zone on vacation. After all, it's your vacation – you've worked hard for it.
Enjoy, but police yourself: If you take off your clothes and go swimming in springs in your country – Japan is probably not the place to start. Japan is a conservative country with conservative laws:
- Yes, Japan has the death penalty;
- Yes, the police can keep you in prison for 23 days without charge, without bail and without an adequate legal representative;
- Yes, more than 95% of people confess their crimes in those 23 days;
- Yes, if you get into a fight or dispute with a fellow countryman – they can communicate with the police and you cannot;
- Yes, your embassy will try to help if the police allow you to contact them. There's usually not much they can do;
- No, the police don't have a place in their hearts for foreign tourists who just want to express themselves;
Traveling Sins #5 – Lack of Respect
This is not so much a sin as a reminder:
Just now, I scared him off with the Japanese legal system. Let me remind you again – Japan is a safe and civilized country. If you treat people with respect, you will be rewarded. It's a matter of not acting like a vandal or a wimp.
The Japanese are proud of their culture. They like to share their culture with foreign visitors.
When you're walking down a street looking for food, it's tempting to walk into a McDonald's. Especially when most restaurants have Japanese signs and menus.
Japan is a wonderful place to be adventurous. Try new things. People will help you.
Traveling Sins #6 – Inflexibility
Everyone has expectations about the holidays. Japan is too set to live up to your expectations. Be flexible and Japan will exceed your expectations every time. Enjoy!
- I got sick in Japan! And now? – Cold and Flu
- What to do with the intense heat of the Japanese summer?
- How to spend little on food in Japan?
Traveling Sins #7 – Lack of Preparation
Cities like Tokyo are too big to just hang around. You need to prepare. Traveling aimlessly is simply the worst thing to do. Make sure you stop being lazy and make a schedule of the places you are going to visit.