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What habits have you picked up from living in Japan that you sometimes have to try and stop yourself doing when you go overseas because you don't think it will look right?

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I sometimes make short karate chops in the air when I want to walk in front of someone. I also sometimes bow when I shake hands. But otherwise, it is mainly language - adding Japanese words to English sentences.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

Involuntary shallow bowing when speaking on the phone.

15 ( +18 / -3 )

Drinking soup etc. from the bowl instead of using the spoon.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

The habits I have picked u i n Japan have - honesty- made me nicer- so I don't drop a thing. . LOL

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Slurping my noodles; drinking at a nomihodai pace, which means pounding'em.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

When I'm driving and someone let's me into their driving lane, I'm constantly bowing or I let people in my lane and bow.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Doing the batsu X sign.

Forgetting to tip.

Treating the sales assistants as automatons, instead of people.

Using 24-hour clock to arrange meeting times (I wish everyone would do that).

Calling people at home really late at night, thus alarming them.

Not standing for elderly people on trains and buses.

I accidentally picked my soup bowl up and drank from it, got some really disgusted looks.

-7 ( +17 / -23 )

Bowing at cars that let me cross a crosswalk, mostly.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

We don't actually do this in public (for "obvious" reasons) but at "home" in France we still eat spaghetti with chopsticks...

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Every time I meet someone--client, friend, girlfriend--I try to remember what they did for me the last time I saw them: giving me a lift, doing the dishes when I was on deadline, bringing omiage from their hometown. The obsessive-compulsive climate of tit-for-tat gift-giving in Japan can be a bummer, but the upside is mindfulness of gratitude, and how we depend on each other. It's made me more grateful for everything.

19 ( +21 / -2 )

I stop letting people in in traffic and just smile. Road rage is all the rage elsewhere.

I stop expecting a clean table, clean glasses and clean eating utensils at restaurants. Dirty utensils and plates is the norm elsewhere, it seems.

I stop expecting things to work right. It would look strange to be surprised that elevators feel like a carnival ride and just as noisy elsewhere.

I stop expecting service employees to give a crap about anything or anyone. I would be out of place thinking that their selfies, texting, and conversations among themselves were less important then a customer like elsewhere.

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

I almost got run down by a car in Anapolis, Maryland because I looked in the wrong direction before crossing a street.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Expecting the train to be on time

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Picking up bowls for sure. Another one is depositing money into an ATM - can't do it where I'm from! You have to actually walk into the branch and fill out a deposit form. Annoying!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Not giving a rat's bum about what others think.

Oh wait, that applies everywhere for me.

Um, saying "Yo-kara-shoto" whenever I sat down attracted a few strange looks.

Sleeping on public transport seemed to freak people out. Until everybody started doing the same.

Raising food to your mouth makes more sense than inugui.

The zebra crossings were safer, took awhile to get used to people actually stopping all the time.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

...can't seem to stop gawking at the sight of so many humongous gaijin....

10 ( +12 / -3 )

Laguna : ...can't seem to stop gawking at the sight of so many humongous gaijin....

Haha, that happened to me too after a month in Asia, landed in Seattle on transfer ...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Talking and keeping my head still instead of looking like a bobble-head going uhn, uhn, uhn.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Definitely forgetting to tip and bowing while talking on the phone (it's become second nature).. Also I "say" many more uhn's while listening :(

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Not holding doors open for people behind me. Forgetting 'ladies first.' Not saying 'Bless you!' when someone sneezes.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Apologizing for almost everything I do or say.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Sucking air through my teeth when I'm too nervous to answer someone in the negative ; asking pubs if they offer an all-you-can-drink-deal ; lighting up to have a smoke in cafes, bars, beaches and restaurants ; constantly saying "eeehhhh!" upon hearing a mildly surprising story. (Trying to stop the last two!)

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Bowing. Patience. Drinking and smoking too much. Saying "eeeeeeeh" when something is odd. occasionally forgetting my manners when doors open and i go first. Expecting good service.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Smashing myself into a crowded train, turns out people get annoyed when you do that anywhere else because it's dangerous and unnecessary.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I pretend I can't see people right in front of me by focusing my eyes into the middle distance, then I don't have to acknowledge them or hold the door open for them.

Some people call that rude back home, but here it's apparently the way to do things.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The bowing. It's really embarassing to have relatives point it out to me without realizing it.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Pretending to look attentive and nodding at meetings when I am really thinking, "For God's sake get this over with."

Not leaving work until the boss does and giving him gifts in the summer.

Pretending to be asleep on trains so I do not have to give my seat to the elderly, disabled, or pregnant women.

Sucking my teeth like an oyaji.

Stopping 4 feet in front of escalators, elevators, and door ways and looking lost.

Texting while driving and pretending I do not see people attempting to cross at cross walks.

Oh yeah, and stopping right in the cross walk so all the pedestrians have to walk around my car.

Not coming to a full a stop at stop signs.

Taking up three seats on trains with my bags. Letting my daughter put on makeup, perfume, and hairspray on the train.

Yelling "oishii" and "kawaii" at the top of my lungs.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Ha! I know it's bad, I do, but swearing in English at the idiots who almost kill me everyday from not looking while driving, or using their phones on their bikes or just plain rude people. Oh, and when I taught English here and the staff treated me like dirt, I'd get away with talking quickly about how big of poops they are.

Ive gotten into a bad habit of telling people off openly and loudly in English. I don't know, but in my home country I just let things go... What happened to me since coming here?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I shout "eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee?" at comments which are only vaguely diverting.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Habits I got in Japan:

picking nose anywhere

letting door slam on those coming behind me without a care in the world

farting on trains in someone's face

hawking and spitting in the sink

getting red faced drunk anywhere and everywhere

eating obnoxiously loudly

2 ( +10 / -8 )

It's sad that some people here have forgetten their good manners from back home and have only managed to pick up bad habits.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

Exactly, mrkobayashi !

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Bowing , bicycling to work, using chopsticks on every food in my country of origin, removing before entering house, eating and making fancy bentos, shaving eyebrows(Japanese dudes regimen) and saying "kawaii" on things that are cute.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Talking crap on the bus/train assuming nobody can understand me.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Hai!!!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

You're right @mrkobayashi !

I don't know what happened. I mean, the fundamentals of please and thank you and holding open doors are still with me, I carried that with me to Japan, but I've been so much more aggressive and at times selfish since I came here. Always rushing, fighting for the last of something, and complaining a lot. Gossiping. In my small town, I'm often treated as the immigrant, or a curiosity, and this after many many years. it's made me more on edge. Sorry.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I think this question would be very interesting if put to Japanese people who had lived overseas and returned. Here are a few that my colleagues told me today:

saying "keep the change" to astonished shopkeepers

letting ladies go first

arguing with restaurant staff about the tab, and with friends about who ordered what, and how much to tip

insisting on helping clear the table when invited to friends' homes, or even worse, barging into the kitchen to help with the dishes (yes, a male colleague told me he does this)

helping yourself to food from the refrigerator without asking first

bragging constantly (well, the ones who've lived in N. America)

smiling at people for no reason (creepy!)

keeping a photo of your wife in your wallet, and showing it to people (in Japan any man who did this would be regarded as certifiably insane)

describing others in terms of their political persuasion (he's a Democrat, she's a Republican) or their sexual orientation
6 ( +8 / -2 )

When taking attendance marking "O" for in attendance and "X" for absent. argh!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Being polite when the Jehovah's Witnesses knock on my door.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Ha! I know it's bad, I do, but swearing in English at the idiots who almost kill me everyday from not looking while driving, or using their phones on their bikes or just plain rude people.

Yeah, I've gotten myself in big trouble overseas by snarling "out of my way, gramps" and "buzz off, granny!" at people who get in my face. I do it on a daily basis in Japan, and no-one ever seems to mind!

3 ( +6 / -3 )

"Apologizing for almost everything I do or say."

Good grief, that's no way to go through life no matter where you are.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I haven't lived in Japan, but I always spend about three weeks there a year... and I do pick up some habits, like the bowing and and standing at a pedestrian crossing waiting for the light to change even though there's nothing at all on the road.

As for the apologising - I'm British, we do that all the time anyway. lol

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Walking fast even though I have time to get to where I need to go. LOL

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

What habits have you picked up from living in Japan that you sometimes have to try and stop yourself doing when you go overseas because you don't think it will look right?

Good manners.

-12 ( +3 / -15 )

@harvey parker

Ive gotten into a bad habit of telling people off openly and loudly in English. I don't know, but in my home country I just let things go... What happened to me since coming here?

I'm with you 100% on this. I think it's just the ridiculous proximity of people - in ridiculous volumes - all. the. time. Seriously, there's no escaping it! And doubly for the (mostly) rude seniors on public transport & in shops (especially supermarkets).

It's really easy to take personal space for granted when back home - so I savour every moment of it!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Getting hog-whimpering drunk and falling asleep on the sidewalk. Not a good move in places like LA or Vancouver.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Openly spitting on the street and spreading a sneeze among everybody on the tube. I also try not to publicly urinate against walls.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Whenever I'm enjoying a discussion in my home country, I have to get back into the habit of supporting my case with facts, logic or reasoned argument.

I often find accusing the other person of hating Japan, demanding he agree with me or leave the country he lives in, and shrieking "It is culture" like it's a magic spell don't persuade others of the merits of my viewpoint as conclusively as they do in Japan.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Readers, some of you are trying to use this thread to post your usual anti-Japan bashing, such as this rubbish above. This is not what the question asks you.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Using the word 'international' to describe a place with one non-native in it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

-looking the "wrong" way first when crossing the street -putting on make-up and nice clothes before going out -not smiling at or saying hi to people I pass on the street -not making eye-contact very much -not tipping wait staff -using an umbrella (I'm from Seattle. The only folks who use umbrellas there are tourists)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Cleaning up my own table at food centers and stuffing garbage in my pockets in the assumption there are no public trash cans around. Avoiding conversing with strangers unless absolutely necessary.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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