In this issue, I would like to introduce you to some of the things that you should not do in Japan. There are things that you may have done without knowing it, but that even foreigners are not allowed to do. How many of Japan's unique cultures do you know?

Gift Giving Etiquette
There are two numbers that are frowned upon in Japan: 4 and 9. 4 is pronounced "shi" and 9 is pronounced "ku" in Japanese. "Shi" means "death" and "9" means "suffering", so anything with "ku" and "shi" in it is frowned upon in many situations. For example, "comb" is not allowed to be sent as a gift because it has a bad meaning. In addition to this, there are a few other gifts that should not be sent. For example, a plant in a pot should not be sent to a person in the hospital. A plant in a pot has roots. This is because it can be taken to mean that the plant will have roots in the hospital, meaning that the illness will last longer. If you want to give flowers to someone who is in the hospital, use cut flowers instead of potted plants. However, even cut flowers such as chrysanthemums, which are used for funerals, are considered rude, so be careful. Also, do not send a handkerchief as a wedding gift. Why is this? Because handkerchiefs are associated with tears. Other items that can be broken, such as china and mirrors, are also considered bad luck. Similarly, for housewarming gifts, lighters and ashtrays should not be sent because they remind people of fire. These are just a few examples. If you are going to give a gift to a Japanese person, you need to find out beforehand if it would be a rude gift.

Dining Manners
Your country also has various manners for eating. I have heard manners such as never using your left hand when eating curry from Nepalese students at our school. So, what kind of manners do we have in Japan for eating? In Japan, we use chopsticks when we eat. Chopsticks are difficult to use, but their manners are also complicated. For example, the worst thing you can do is to use two chopsticks to hold your food. The reason why this is not allowed is because it is the same act as placing the bones of a deceased person in an urn at a Buddhist funeral. (*Not talking about chopsticks, but putting the right collar of the kimono on top of the left collar is the same as wearing the kimono of the deceased, so you have to be careful. )There are many other manners of chopsticks that should not be practiced, such as "stabbing chopsticks" and "yose-chopsticks". In addition to chopsticks, it is also bad manners to eat rice without holding the bowl, or to put your elbows on the table. However, if you think about it too much, it will be difficult to eat a good meal. I recommend that you learn at least the minimum manners for eating, and then gradually get used to them.

How many superstitions do you know about in Japan? The first one is the "north pillow". The first one is "north pillow", which means that you should not sleep with your pillow in the north, because it is related to Buddhism and there is a theory that putting your pillow in the north means death. Second, don't cut your nails at night. There is a superstition that if you cut your nails at night, you will die before your parents do. One reason is that nails are the place where a person's "soul" is located, so they must be taken care of. Another reason is that in the days when there was little light, cutting nails at night would cause injury. The third is "don't whistle at night." In Japan, there is a saying that whistling attracts spiritual things. This spirituality includes not only good things, but also bad things, so there is a theory that it is dangerous to whistle at night, when spirituality is more active. The three I've mentioned so far are all things you shouldn't do, but I'll end with a superstition that has a good meaning. The last superstition that has a good meaning is "If a pillar of tea stands, good luck will come. A pillar of tea means that the stems of the tea in the teacup stand up like a pillar when the tea is made. For Japanese people, a "pillar" has a powerful impression as something that supports a house. (A recent popular manga often features a "pillar [Hahira]”) For this reason, the tea pillar is known as a good omen. Incidentally, I have heard from Mongolian students that there is a superstition that if a pillar of tea stands, relatives will come to your house. In different countries, superstitions have completely different meanings, don't they?

I hope you now have a better understanding of manners. In the next article, I will introduce manners at leisure facilities.





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Nov. 16, 2021
[English/日本語] This time, I'd like to continue my introduction to manners. This time, it's about manners when using leisure facilities. Manners at amusement parks At our Japanese language school, we have field trips several times a year. The locations include amusement parks, zoos, and other facilities. For this reason, we go over the precautions in class before the field trip. In this article, I would like to introduce some of these precautions. Tattoos are more common among international students compared to Japanese. Many leisure facilities in Japan refuse to accept people with visible tattoos. At one Japanese language school, there was a case where a student was not allowed to enter the facility because they did not check beforehand. Some facilities will allow you to enter if you are invisible, so you may want to carry a jacket even in the summer. However, this is not possible in the case of swimming pools, so give up using the facilities. Also, many places prohibit taking pictures using selfie sticks and live streaming of social networking sites. Be sure to check the precautions beforehand before you go. Onsen(hot spring)Manners It is difficult for even Japanese people to understand all the rules and manners of hot springs and public baths. For this reason, I often hear from international students that they have yet to try them because it seems too difficult to know how to enter. So what kind of rules and manners are there in onsen and sento? The first thing you must do before entering an onsen is to take a "kakeyu," which means to pour hot water on your body to remove dirt from your body before entering the onsen. There are also other things to keep in mind when washing your body. In hot spring facilities, the chairs used for washing your body are shared. Be sure to wash the chair well before putting it away when you are done using it. Also, women should tie their hair up when they enter the onsen. Do not put anything other than your body in the hot spring. The same goes for towels. Leave your towel in the luggage area or put it on your head. If it is your first time in a hot spring, be careful not to stay in the hot spring too long. If you are not used to hot springs, you may get sick. Hydrate frequently while bathing. Even Japanese people sometimes forget the detailed rules, so most onsen facilities have written instructions on how to enter the onsen. There are also YouTube videos that show you how to get in and out of the onsen, so please check them out. Manners in the Park Lastly, I would like to introduce the manners of the parks that are closest to us. I often hear foreigners talking about how parks in Japan are not very free. There are sometimes foreign students who get into trouble in the parks, so it is important to learn park manners as well. One of the most common problems I hear about is foreign students taking fruits and nuts from trees planted in the park. The trees and flowers planted in the park basically belong to the park, so you should not take them home. There are also many people who break the branches of cherry trees during the cherry blossom season. There is a Japanese proverb that says, “Fools who cut cherry trees. Fools who do not cut plum trees." If you cut off an important branch of a cherry tree, it may start to rot. Never cut cherry blossoms, no matter how beautiful they are. Also, I am sometimes asked by students if they can play soccer with their friends in the park. In most parks, you are not allowed to use a ball. Therefore, if you want to play soccer, you need to make a reservation at a local ground. For more information, ask your school teacher or a Japanese person close to you. These are just a few of the things I introduced here. Please be sure to check the website of any leisure facilities you wish to use. Our school offers related classes before and after the field trip. It is a popular way for students to deepen their understanding of Japan, not only by playing but also by learning. I hope that everyone will try to learn about Japanese culture from various places in Japan. 今回も前回に引き続きマナーについて紹介します。今回はレジャー施設を利用するときのマナーです。 遊園地のマナー 日本語学校では年に数回校外学習を行います。場所は、遊園地や動物園などの施設などです。そのため、校外学習の前に注意事項を授業中に確認します。今回はその注意事項の一部を紹介します。日本人と比べて留学生に多いのがタトゥーです。日本のレジャー施設では見えるところにタトゥーを入れている人を断っているところが多くあります。ある日本語学校では事前の確認を行わなかったために学生が施設に入れなかったことがあるそうです。見えない状態になっているなら入園を許可する施設もあるので、夏場でも上着を持つようにするといいかもしれません。ただし、プールの場合はそれができないので、施設利用を諦めましょう。また、自撮りスティックを使用しての写真撮影や、SNSのライブ配信などを禁止しているところも多いです。事前に注意事項を必ず確認してから行くことにしましょう。 温泉のマナー 温泉や銭湯などは日本人でもルールやマナーをすべて理解するのは難しいです。そのため、留学生からは、入り方が難しそうだからまだ挑戦できていないという話をよく聞きます。では温泉や銭湯にはどんなルールやマナーがあるのでしょうか。まず、温泉に入る前にしなければならないのは「かけ湯」です。「かけ湯」は体にお湯をかけることで、温泉に入る前に体の汚れを落とす目的があります。また、「かけ湯」をすることで、お湯に体を慣れさせる意味もあります。その他にも体を洗うときにも注意をする点があります。温泉施設では体を洗うときに使う椅子は共同です。自分が使い終わったら、必ず椅子をよく洗ってから片付けるようにしましょう。また、女性の場合温泉に入るときは髪を束ねましょう。温泉の中に体以外はつからないように気を付けてください。タオルも同じです。タオルは荷物置き場におくか、頭の上にのせるようにしましょう。初めて温泉に入る人は長く温泉に入りすぎないように気を付けてください。温泉に慣れていないとときどき具合が悪くなる人がいます。入浴中はこまめに水分補給をしましょう。日本人でも細かいルールを忘れてしまうことがあるので、だいたいの温泉施設では入り方の注意事項が書いてあります。また、YouTubeなどでも入り方などが公開されているものもあるのでぜひ見てみてくださいね。 公園のマナー 最後に一番身近にある公園のマナーについてご紹介します。よく外国人が日本の公園は自由が少ないと話しているのを聞きます。公園内でトラブルを起こす留学生も時々いるので、公園のマナーもしっかりと学びましょう。よく聞く留学生トラブルは、公園に植えてある木から木の実や果物をとってしまうことです。公園に植えてある木や花は基本的に公園のものなので、持ち帰ってはいけません。また、桜の季節になると桜の枝を折る人も多くいます。日本のことわざに「桜を切る馬鹿、梅を切らぬ馬鹿」というのがあります。桜は大切な枝を切ってしまうと、そこから腐り始めてしまうことがあります。いくらきれいでも絶対に切らないでください。また、学生から友達とサッカーをしたいけれど公園でしていいかと相談を受けることがあります。ほとんどの公園ではボールを使ってはいけないことになっています。そのため、サッカーをしたい場合には地域のグラウンドを予約するなどが必要になります。詳しくは学校の先生や身近な日本人に聞いてみてください。 今回紹介したものはほんの一部です。レジャー施設を利用する場合は事前確認を必ずするようにしてください。本校では校外学習の前後に関連した授業を行っています。遊ぶだけではなく、学ぶこともできるので、日本への理解が深まったと好評です。みなさんもぜひ日本の色々な場所から日本文化を学んでみてくださいね。
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Nov. 2, 2021
[English/日本] Things that surprised foreign students when they came to Japan. ~Fashion (2) Continuing from last week, this week I would like to introduce the fashion of Japanese people. Mysterious message written on a T-shirt One of the most famous Japanese fashion items that made foreign tourists and international students laugh was the English logo T-shirts. An English logo T-shirt is a T-shirt with English stylishly written on it. Most Japanese people who wear these T-shirts sometimes wear them just because they are "fashionable" or "cool" without thinking about the meaning of the English written on them. However, the content of the English written on them is often strange, and they are sometimes laughed at by English-speaking foreigners. One person told me that when she was standing in line at the checkout counter after shopping at a supermarket, the staff member (a Japanese woman in her 50s or 60s) was wearing a T-shirt with "born in L.A." written in large letters on it, and she had a hard time holding back her laughter. However, this is not only Japanese. Some Western tourists also wear T-shirts (and tattoos) with strange kanji characters. However, this is not the case with international students who are learning Kanji. Let's all study Japanese and try to read the kanji on the T-shirts properly. The More Natural the Makeup, the More Time Japanese Spend on It Many foreigners are surprised to see Japanese women applying makeup in the restroom or even on a shaky train. Compared to other countries, Japanese women are famous for wearing makeup more often. Japanese makeup is characterized by a heavy application of foundation and a focus on eye makeup. However, all of these are not flashy makeup; the emphasis is on how to make it look natural. Also, since they started wearing masks due to the influence of Corona, more and more people have started to be particular about their eye makeup. Furthermore, cosmetics for men have recently been marketed and are very popular. It is now commonplace for high school boys to trim their eyebrows, which was rare a few years ago. Japanese makeup products are also popular overseas, and many people take them as souvenirs. I hope you will give them a try too. Regional differences in fashion I've written before about regional differences in the Japanese personality, but there are also regional differences in fashion. For example, even in Tokyo, Marunouchi is an office district, so many people wear stylish suits. Harajuku is also known as the fashion district, with people walking around in unique fashions such as Lolita and punk. In Osaka, many people like to wear very flashy patterns such as leopard print, and in Nagoya, it is said that many people wear brands. In areas where there are many people, fashion also varies. Of course, there are trends, but no matter what kind of fashion you wear, it is unlikely that people will look at you strangely. Please enjoy Japan in your own way and in the fashion you like. Have you learned a little about Japanese fashion? Our school holds an event to wear Yukata (summer kimono) before the summer vacation. I'm sure you'll love these yukata, so airy and with great patterns! 留学生が日本に来て驚いたこと。~ファッション編②~ 今週も先週に引き続き、日本人のファッションについて紹介したいと思います。 Tシャツに書いてある謎のメッセージ 外国人旅行客や留学生が思わず笑ってしまった日本人のファッションとして有名なのは、英字ロゴTシャツです。英字ロゴTシャツとは、Tシャツに英語がスタイリッシュに書いてあるTシャツのことです。このTシャツを着ているほとんどの日本人は、そこに書かれている英語の意味を考えずに、「おしゃれ」「かっこいい」というイメージだけで着ていることがあります。しかし、そこに書かれている英語の内容は変なものが多く、英語圏の外国人から笑われることもあるとか。ある人のエピソードですが、スーパーで買い物をしてレジで並んでいたとき、そのレジのスタッフ(50代~60代くらいの日本人女性)が着ているTシャツに「born in L.A.」と大きく書かれており、笑いをこらえるのが大変だったと言っていました。しかし、これは日本人だけではありません。欧米系の旅行客も変な漢字のTシャツ(タトゥーなども)を着ていることがあります。しかし、漢字学習をしている留学生の場合はこのようなことはありません。みなさん、日本語を勉強して、Tシャツの漢字をきちんと読んでみましょうね。 ナチュラルなメイクほど時間をかける日本人 トイレで化粧直し、揺れる電車の中でさえもメイクをする日本人女性を見て驚く外国人は多くいます。日本人の女性は他の国と比べて、メイクをする頻度が高いことで有名です。日本人のメイクはファンデーションをしっかりと塗り、アイメイクにこだわる特徴があります。しかし、これらはすべて派手なメイクではなく、いかに自然に見せられるかが重視されています。また、コロナの影響でマスクをつけ始めてからは、アイメイクにこだわる人が増えてきたそうです。さらに最近は男性用化粧品も売り出され、人気があります。数年前までに珍しかった男子高校生が眉毛を整えることは、現在では当たり前になりました。日本のメイク用品は海外でも人気が高く、お土産にする人も多いそうです。ぜひ、あなたも試してみてくださいね。 ファッションの地域差 以前、日本人の性格にも地域差があるとコラムに書きましたが、ファッションにも地域差があります。例えば、同じ東京でも、丸の内はオフィス街なので、スタイリッシュなスーツ姿の人が多いです。また、原宿はファッションの街とも言われ、ロリータやパンクなど個性的なファッションの人が歩いています。大阪はヒョウ柄など、とても派手な柄を好んで着る人が多く、名古屋はブランドを身に付ける人が多いと言われています。人が多い地域ではファッションも様々です。もちろん、流行はありますが、どのようなファッションでも人から変に見られることはほとんどありません。自分らしく好きなファッションで日本を楽しんでくださいね。 日本のファッションについて少し知ることができましたか?本校では夏休みの前に浴衣(夏の着物)を着るイベントを行っています。風通しが良く、柄も素敵な浴衣がきっと好きになると思います!