【Japanese taboos】Don’t blow your nose in public.

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If you’re coming to Japan for any reasons, I would really like you guys to enjoy your journey, never be awkward or disappointed. To be accepted or get close to Japanese, it’s better to know their etiquette. I’m not forcing you to copy Japanese manner, but I would like you to understand manner and smooth your life in Japan. So let’s get started!

The list of Japanese taboos

Tatoos in the hot spring or the sea


Unfortunately, you cannot enter the hot spring or the sea with your cool tatoos. The reason why they don’t let you in is to avoid making others scary. Tatoo is the icon of scary people in Japan like Yakuza (Gangster) and not as much popular as in other countries. Now that we know tatoo is not always for scary people, but it’s still reminds us of gangster.

How to solve? There is a tatoo sticker to hide your tatoo. I think almost no hot spring nor sea has tatoo sticker, so it’s better to buy it beforhand. I hope you can buy it at 1 dollor store like Daiso, Can☆Do, Seria, but not sure the item is available. From that perspecive, online store would be better and probably cheaper.

Red ink for name

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In Japan, using red ink to write someone’s name is generally associated with death and is considered highly inappropriate. The color red, especially in the context of names, is often linked to funeral traditions. When someone passes away, their name is traditionally written in red ink on a family register to indicate their deceased status.

Using red ink for living individuals’ names is therefore avoided due to the superstition and cultural sensitivity surrounding death. It is considered inauspicious and disrespectful. When writing names, black or blue ink is the preferred choice, especially for official documents or any form of communication.

How to solve?If you are in Japan or dealing with Japanese individuals, it’s advisable to use colors like black or blue when writing names to adhere to cultural norms and avoid any unintended negative connotations associated with red ink.

Whisle at night

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Whistling at night in Japan is considered inappropriate and is often associated with superstitions and cultural taboos. The belief is rooted in the idea that whistling at night may attract snakes or evil spirits. In Japanese folklore, it is said that whistling can invite bad luck or even supernatural entities.

Additionally, there is a historical reason behind this belief. In the past, whistling was associated with street vendors or beggars who wandered at night, and their presence could sometimes be linked to criminal activities. As a result, whistling at night gained a negative connotation.

While these beliefs may not be strictly adhered to by everyone in modern Japan, some people, especially in rural or traditional areas, may still consider whistling at night disrespectful or unsettling. It’s always a good idea to be mindful of local customs and traditions to avoid inadvertently causing discomfort or offense.

Pointing someone by your index finger


  In Japan, pointing directly at someone using your index finger is generally considered impolite and can be perceived as rude. It is often viewed as confrontational and may make the person being pointed at feel uncomfortable or embarrassed. Instead, if you need to indicate a person or a direction, it is more polite to use your whole hand or gesture subtly with your thumb. This is a more culturally acceptable way to convey information without coming across as direct or accusatory. Being mindful of non-verbal communication is an important aspect of respecting cultural norms in Japan.

How to solve? You should point someone by opening all of your finger and turning your palm up. Like when you’re asking someone to hold your partner’s hands.

Cut your nails at night

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  In Japan, there is a superstition that cutting your nails at night is considered bad luck. This belief is rooted in historical and cultural traditions that associate cutting nails in the evening with death and funerals. The sound of nail clippers cutting through the darkness is thought to attract or disturb spirits, and it is generally avoided to prevent any negative consequences.

It’s important to note that superstitions can vary among individuals and regions, and not everyone in Japan may adhere to this belief. However, in a traditional or more conservative setting, people might be cautious about cutting their nails at night due to these cultural superstitions. As with many superstitions, the level of adherence to this belief can vary, and not everyone in modern Japan necessarily follows this practice.

Forcing your strong will

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Umm, I’m a little bit awkward to mention this. Coz it will be considered offensive to other cultures which is thought having and express your personnal opinion is good. But this time however, I would like to state my personnal opinion.

So, firstly, I want to make it clear that having strong will is a great thing and I can understand it’s needed to success in your life. But I doubt about forcing or winning over someone to make someone’s opinion changed. As I remember, one of my vegan friends were always explaining about how great to be vegan and the benefits for environment. For example, after she explained how awful the meal off meat is (of course I haven’t asked at all) , she was always trying to share meals on restaurants so that I cannot choose the food from meat. That experience made me so bored and I felt like she doesn’t accept and even listen to my opinion at all.( French girl )Such an enthusiastic opinion would be nice for non-Japanese, but for us, Japanese, it will disturb you to get close to your friends.

How to solve? In Japan, of course it’s okay to hae different opinion, but you cannot deny it. You should listen to various opinion even if it’s contrary to yours and accept it.

Blow your nose loudly in public

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Blowing your nose loudly in public in Japan is generally considered impolite and might be viewed as disruptive or unsanitary. Japanese culture places a strong emphasis on maintaining a quiet and orderly public space. Making loud or conspicuous noises, especially related to bodily functions like blowing your nose, is often considered socially inappropriate. I was o astonished when I faced in my roommates blowing nose so loudly in front of me.(French girl)

How to solve? If you need to blow your nose in public, it is advisable to do so discreetly, preferably in a restroom or a private area. Carrying tissues or handkerchiefs is common in Japan, and it is considered more polite to handle such matters privately. Being mindful of cultural norms regarding personal hygiene and public behavior is essential to show respect for those around you in a Japanese context.

Done! Hope you can enjoy staying here.