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When its compared to the United States, there are certainly a lot of similarities to found, but Japan and the U. While a group of people cannot be generalized as a whole, and, just like America, culture can vary from region to region, here are twelve cultural differences that stick out to American expatriates living in Japan.
Religious Practices Differ The vast majority of Japanese people identify as Shintoist, Buddhist, or both at the same time. Though Christian missionaries have been present in Japan for hundreds of years, their presence has had little effect on Japan's religious identity and philosophy.
Therefore, issues that are the basis of debates in the Abrahamic faiths, such as gay marriage or teaching creationism in schools, lack a religious foundation in Japan.
In Japan, Shinto and Buddhist practices are predominantly limited to traditions, celebrations, and superstitions more than strong spiritual belief.
For example, in America, a politician's religious affiliation may become the cause of heavy debate, but there are few such issues in Japan. People tend to stand a relatively far distance apart when speaking, and last names with honorifics are used.
An example of this can be seen in different approaches to customer service.
In America, ideal customer service is usually warm and friendly. In Japan, it is formal and unobtrusive. Waiters don't usually stop by tables to ask customers how the food is and what their weekend plans are, and strangers won't often chat while waiting for the bus.
Physically touching is also more sparse in Japan than it is in America. Politicians are quick to resign after making mistakes, which is why Japan has switched its prime ministers almost once a year since Japan has a parliament system with many parties, and politicians don't win elections with a majority vote.
In fact, Japanese people have a notoriously low voter turnout rate. On the other hand, Japanese people tend to have a lot of love for their country, and they celebrate their unique history, language, and culture in a way that's not dissimilar to Americans.
Because most Japanese citizens have an identical ethnic and national identity, seeing people who don't appear to be of East Asian descent can lead to instant assumptions of being a foreigner. This can affect society in the sense that because Japanese people view their culture as homogeneous, it is expected that everyone understands the traditions and rules of society.
Japanese People Bow It is well known that many Asian countries utilize bowing instead of shaking hands, but Japanese people bow in more situations than just greetings. Bowing can be done while apologizing or expressing gratitude.
In business or professional environments people might bow deeply to a 45 degree angle, but most bows are a casual bob of the head and slight incline of the back. Despite the prevalent importance of bowing in Japan, Japanese people are well aware of the fact that foreigners usually shake hands and might readily offer their hands in greeting instead.
In fact, it isn't unheard of for newlyweds to live with one partner's parents until they can find a place of their own. It can even be insulting to tip, because doing so is considered to be an affront to an employee's salary.
If you leave a few bills on the table after eating out, prepare to have the waiter run after you with your "forgotten" item. In America, tips are meant to show appreciation for good service.
Considering that many service jobs in the U. Space in Japan Is More Precious Because Japan is an island country that's only about the size of California, and much of the land it has is mountainous terrain, its available land is precious and often expensive.
Apartments and houses are usually small, and yards are often tiny if they exist at all. Still, Japanese people have learned to adapt in ways to maximize space, but it can still be shocking for an American who might take space for granted.THE TRAGEDY OF THE COMMON REVISITED by Beryl Crowe () reprinted in MANAGING THE COMMONS by Garrett Hardin and John Baden W.H.
Freeman, ; ISBN An article discussing the differences between could and can when expressing possibility.
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Tinted engraving: a rather typical representation of a Hindu woman about to plunge into the flames of her husband's funeral pyre.
"The widow now ascends the funeral pile, or rather throws herself down upon it by the side of the dead body" (Ward ).