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Trivia: What are 3 things Japanese people use cash for, other than purchasing goods?

May 11, 2020

Q.

What are 3 things Japanese people use cash for, other than purchasing goods?

A.

The answer is: Otoshidama, Okozukai and Wedding Gifts!

Otoshidama is the word for money that kids receive from their parents and relatives on New Year’s Day. This is a tradition every year, and sometimes even adults who are Sempai (mentor) will give money to other adults who are their Kohai (mentee).

Okozukai is an allowance that parents give to children, typically every month.

When you go to a Japanese...

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Trivia: What does this sign mean?

Apr 27, 2020

Q.

What does this sign mean, where are you most likely to see it and what should you do when you see one?

A.

This is called a “Maternity Mark”.

The maternity mark is a sign that pregnant women carry to indicate to others that they are pregnant.

Maternity Marks come in the form of stickers, keychains, pins, etc. You will most likely see a pregnant woman with this sign if you are near the priority seating of a train. If you see the mark and you are sitting in a priority seat,...

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Trivia: When purchasing gifts, why do Japanese staff give you an extra bag within your bag?

Apr 13, 2020

Q.

When purchasing gifts, why do Japanese shop workers give you an extra bag within your bag?

A.

If your main bag gets damaged via transit, you can put the gift in a clean bag to present to the receiver. It’s always these small thoughts that count! In Japanese we call this “Kizukai.” Japan has a strong gift culture, so it’s a good idea to show appreciation through gift-giving.

A great way to get started? If you’re going on a holiday, pick up some local snacks and...

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Trivia: Which of these are unwritten rules of etiquette on a Japanese train?

Mar 30, 2020

Q.

The hardest cultural etiquettes to pick up on are the ones where there are unwritten rules. When riding the train, which of the following are unacceptable (select all that apply)?

a) Eating

b) Drinking out of a can

c) Chatting loudly

d) Making a call on your phone

e) Texting

f) Applying makeup

g) Wearing a backpack

h) Sitting in a priority seat

A.

All of these are unacceptable except for e) texting and h) sitting in a priority seat. You can sit in a priority seat as long as there are no...

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Trivia: What is the main purpose of Ohanami?

Mar 16, 2020

Q.

Every Spring, Japanese people gather in parks to have picnics during cherry blossom season. We call this “ohanami”. What is the main purpose of these gatherings?

a) To enhance communication with coworkers, friends, and significant others

b) To fully enjoy the cherry blossoms at their peak by spending time outdoors

c) To finally enjoy nature and the warmer weather after months of being stuck indoors

A.

The answer is a) to enhance communication with coworkers, friends, and...

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Trivia: What are you obligated to do if you received chocolates from your coworkers on Valentine's Day?

Mar 02, 2020

Q.

What are you obligated to do if you received chocolates from your coworkers on Valentine’s Day?

A.

For starters, only men receive chocolates from women on Valentine’s Day. So, if you’re a man and you received chocolates from your female friends and coworkers, you have an obligation to reciprocate the gesture by giving candy or chocolates back to them. We have a special day for this in Japan called White Day, which is on March 14th, exactly one month after...

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Trivia: What is a "shindansho"?

Feb 17, 2020

Q.

What is a shindansho (診断書), when would you need one, and how much does one cost?

A.

A shindansho (診断書) is a “medical certificate” (doctor’s note). In Japan, you will need a shindansho to get a day off from work due to illnesses. Even if you don’t feel like you need to get checked, you will need the slip to prove that you are sick.

To obtain one, ask your doctor to provide you a shindansho and they will write you a slip to take with you after your check up....

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Trivia: How do teenagers and young adults date in Japan?

Feb 03, 2020

Q.

How do teenagers and young adults date in Japan?

A.

There are a couple of dating rules in Japan. When you have feelings for someone, you have to “kokuhaku”, which means to “confess your love”.

Usually, the male in the relationship has to kokuhaku and ask the female to formally be in a relationship. If the girl says yes, the next step is to plan “kinenbi”, which is to create and celebrate anniversaries.

Some couples choose to celebrate every month,...

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Trivia: What is a "chienshoumeisho"?

Jan 20, 2020

Q.

What is a chienshoumeisho (遅延証明書), when would you need one, and how much does one cost?

A.

A chienshoumeisho (遅延証明書) is a train delay certificate.

Trains can get delayed all the time, especially during rush hour. It is the general rule to take into account the possibilities of train delays and calculate the time, but even so, long train delays can cause you to be late to work.

Being late to work is a big no in Japan, so if will be late, you will want to make sure you pick up a ...

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Trivia: Which is NOT a way that Japanese people traditionally celebrate the New Year?

Dec 23, 2019

2020 is right around the corner, so this trivia question is dedicated to New Year’s celebration in Japan!

Q.

Which is NOT a way that Japanese people traditionally celebrate the New Year?

a) Giving money to children

b) Visiting a temple to pray for the New Year

c) Eating “osechi”

d) Going out to a New Year’s countdown party

A.

The answer is d) Going out to a New Year’s countdown party. While you’ll likely find New Year’s countdown parties at bars...

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