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Trivia: What are some unspoken rules and etiquette at onsen (hot springs) in Japan?

Jan 18, 2021

Q.

What are some unspoken rules and etiquette at onsen (hot springs) in Japan?

A.

My Japanese family spent generations in the sento (public bath house) business, so this topic is close to my heart!

For starters, if you have any tattoos, you might want to check with your onsen whether or not tattoos are allowed. In the olden days, yakuza (Japanese mafia) were the only people with tattoos, so banning tattoos was a way for onsen owners to avoid yakuza at their establishments. Obviously yakuza...

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Trivia: Where can you find English-Speaking Therapists in Tokyo?

Jan 04, 2021

Q.

Where can you find English-Speaking Therapists in Tokyo?

A.

The best definition of therapy I’ve heard of is that it’s like “a massage for a brain”. You can’t think your way out of negative thinking, so why not talk to someone who can help you move your thinking in a positive direction?

That said, it might seem hard to find help in Tokyo but, here are counseling centers with licensed professionals who speak a variety of languages:

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Trivia: What is Otoshidama?

Dec 21, 2020

Q.

Have you heard of Otoshidama? What is it?

A.

On New Year’s Day, kids receive otoshidama (a money gift) from their parents and relatives. Japanese kids will start to learn how to appreciate money and how to handle it from this experience.

There are no rules for the amount; it is different in each family. But to give you an idea, relatives start giving kids around 1000-2000 yen ($10-$20) from when they are born to 10,000 yen ($100) when they complete school. Some people stop giving...

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Trivia: When you turn from a vacation, do you have to bring a gift to the office?

Dec 07, 2020

Q.

When you return from a vacation, do you have to bring a gift to the office?

A.

It’s not an obligation, but the majority of employees who return from their hometown or vacation in Japan bring a small gift to the office for their coworkers.

What kinds of gifts are good to give? Typically, inexpensive treats like chocolates or cookies that can be easily shared are the best options. Gift-giving is a great way to create small talk with other employees and share your experiences about your...

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Is culture shock the same for both foreign men and women in Japan?

Nov 26, 2020

Last week, a company hired me to do a training on “Women in Japan”. They asked me to talk about this topic because foreign women in their company had expressed challenges related to culture shock and gender. 

It made me wonder...is culture shock the same for both foreign men and women who come to Japan? 

If it is the same, then why do some women assume that common cultural frustrations are gender-related? 

And if the experiences are different, what would those...

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Trivia: Why do Japanese people hesitate to take paid vacations?

Nov 23, 2020

Q.

Why do Japanese people hesitate to take paid vacations?

A.

Depending on the company, Japanese people are entitled to take around 20 paid vacation days throughout the year. While most Japanese people take off public holidays (For New Years, Golden week (early May), and Obon (mid August)), the majority of people end up taking only half of the remaining paid holidays provided.

Why don’t Japanese people take advantage of their holidays? There are two main reasons.

The first is a worry...

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Trivia: When is Pocky Day?

Nov 09, 2020

Pocky is a popular Japanese snack; it's a stick-like cookie covered in chocolate. Have you tried it? Pocky has it's own special day in Japan, let's find out when that is:

Q.

When is Pocky Day?

a) March 3rd (3/3), because 3 pm is snack time

b) June 6th (6/6), because Pocky was invented in 1966

c) November 11th (11/11), because Pocky looks like the number “1”

A.

The answer is c) November 11th, because Pocky looks like the number “1”!

Pocky day is celebrated mostly among...

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Trivia: Why is Halloween so popular in Japan?

Oct 26, 2020

Q.

Halloween is popular in Japan…but why?

A.

Even though Halloween did not originate in Japan, Japan has become one of the top destinations for travelers looking to have the best Halloween Celebration. It all started back in 2000 when Tokyo Disneyland decided to host a Halloween event, an opportunity so popular that it spread to other theme parks and caught on to the general population.

The reason why Halloween has become so popular in Japan is because of the cosplay (dress up)...

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Trivia: Women's Work Attire Do's and Don'ts in Japan

Oct 12, 2020

Q.

Which style is inappropriate to wear in traditional Japanese companies for women?

a) Leggings

b) Dresses and skirts that show your body line

c) Tank tops

A.

The answer is….all of the above!

Dress code of course applies to the company and industry you’re working in, but in any case, there are general rules of thumb to follow to avoid questionable attire.

Here are some dos and don’ts:

Do wear stockings when wearing a skirt to cover bare skin

Don’t wear anything...

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Trivia: Restaurants will allow you to take home bentos, but not leftovers. Why is this?

Sep 28, 2020

Q.

How come some Japanese restaurants will sell you a bento (a takeout meal), but they won’t allow you to take home your leftovers if you’ve dined in?

(Note: This might be changing due to COVID-19 encouraging restaurants to be more flexible!)

A.

Within Japan, it is considered safe to sell cooked food even if it has been sitting in a shop for hours. Most vendors are efficient about making sure that food has not been sitting out for an unsafe amount of time, and Japanese people...

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