Traveling from Japan to America? These tips will help you get an insight into what to expect and tackle “cultural shocks” in a better way.
Eating in Japan and America
In Japan, there is no concept of a “dinner plate”, with diners getting as many as 10 plates or more for their individual needs. Instead of having a single large bowl in the middle of the table and taking helpings on to a bigger dish during meals, Japanese are known to enjoy larger quantities of meals at home. So, be prepared for dinner times being an elaborate affair with food, decorations, tableware and music floating in the background. On your trip abroad you will not find “secret ingredients” in the form of salt, pepper, oils, sugar and routine spices included in meals- U.S. cuisine is generally bland tasting. (image by Wunkai)
Dress “hip hop” to be Considered Stylish
Fortunately, unlike in America where all parts of the nation do not boast of good security, at home there is a difference between “rough area” and places with good regional security. Doors/windows are strictly fitted with bars, there is a lot of graffiti and people walk less….with young people dressed in hip hop dresses seeming to say “hey, pay attention to me!”.
In America, where people wearing hip hop clothes are oft mistaken for being members of a street gang, you need to dress accordingly.
America ranks higher on Street Manners
Well, coming from a Japanese city, you may be surprised to see the relatively high quality of street manners practiced in USA. While at home you are not used to waiting at intersections for the traffic light to change and pedestrians getting too pushy to cross roads; it’s not the same here.
Drinking too much is not Impressive
In the U.S, people do not have a sense of superiority if they end up drinking large amounts. Rather it means that that you are not able to control yourself and your self-management traits are relatively poorer than others. Habitual drinking is akin to alcoholism and people indulging in the same are considered to be mentally weaker. Similarly non-smokers are also considered to be more important than smokers in USA.
Free Time in USA
Regardless of whether an individual is a working person, student or housewife; in USA they all have room for leisure time, weekends and weekdays. The free times ensured during weekdays are used for jogging, bicycling, tennis, walking, racquetball, bowling, volunteering and reading. Weekends are for even more freedom: sporting leisure, camping trips, liberal arts courses and so forth. In contrast, Japanese do not have the luxury of free time during weekdays. Weekends are spent in watching TV, working, studying, shopping, hanging around home or listening to music.(image by Megan)
The well known adage,”While in Rome do as Romans do” rings true in America as well. So, instead of gaping at the laid back lifestyle of Americans and the ways in which they enjoy their life, simply join the bandwagon-you will be spending some food time here.
Related post: Mélange of Cuisines and Culture in Philadelphia
Feature image Ian Britton