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A few interesting ones I've encountered in educational settings:
When opening my lessons, I now ask my students to do the greeting in Japanese on the advice of another veteran educator here. She said that, though many schools encourage children to call out "Stand up, attention, bow" it feels curiously different from the standard Japanese greeting. For a while now, I've asked my students to do the whole greeting in Japanese and properly bow. The lesson is conducted primarily in English. They are so much more focused.
In a martial arts dojo, I tried so hard to mind the traditional manners, greeting people with a bow and "Konnichi wa" or "Konban wa" on entering and people ignored me. I persisted, and at the first new year opening of the dojo training, I was regaled with greetings and could return the kindness. The attitude was that I'd gone the distance and was now a fixture. It was a surprising experience of becoming part of the in-group.
I've never worked in eikaiwa. How do eikaiwa employees open their lessons?
What's the purpose of the courses you teach? That determines what kind of atmosphere you want to create - low-stakes exposure and practice of oral/aural or preparation for academics and tests. If the latter, go for it with the standard Japanese cultural way of opening and closing a lesson.
I teach at a private junior and senior high school. I'm not an assistant.
I work at an Eikaiwa type of school. I occasionally do conversational English classes (main is French) but it's pretty laid-back. I teach to both adults and teens and I think they (students) should take the responsibility of being focused/study etc since they're coming here willingly. I'm here to provide contents, learning methods, basically like an instructor but I don't wanna force my students. I fear my English is not good enough to be an ALTs plus English isn't my native language 😅
I do one-to-one lessons and I always start by standard greetings (hello, how are you?, it's hot today) in English then ask them about their weekends (what did you last weekend?) as a warm-up before some grammar or other lesson of the day, or as a starting point if the student just wanna practice oral. I'm pretty sure I'd do things differently if I had to teach to a group.
Eating in public? what do you guys think? Not okay? Okay?
To me it's ok! To me drinking alcohol in public transportation is not okay but I see it a lot so...if drinking is ok then eating shouldn't be a problem (as far as you're not starting a picnic in the train 😂)
My impression is picnics, festivals with yatai, and express trains when there are ekiben sold at the station are okay.
Sometimes when I'm famished I'll eat a snack while seated on the station platform or in a park before I board. A discreet sip of a drink on the train isn't a big deal.
I also observed some of my more elegant Japanese women colleagues and friends who take a seat (or sit seiza on the floor) to have a sip of their drink. They don't stand and drink. I follow that etiquette, too.
There are a lot of unwritten rules here some of which I’ve heard even the locals themselves can’t keep up with. I remember finding out about how people have to stand in a lift/elevator. The lowest ranking person stands closest to the buttons and the highest ranking person stands on The inside diagonal to the lowest ranking person (I guess, furthest away from the buttons). It must be so hard to remember all these rules
@Jemineye it reminds me the "sitting etiquette for business meetings when you're having a client coming to your company" that I saw somewhere in a business Japanese/business manners explained to foreigners textbook, I guess it's more obvious if you've grown in that culture 😅☀
It's common in formal situations and not unique to Japan. In Chinese culture, the most senior person faces the door.
What I find a bit confusing is who gets seated first. In some cultures, you wait for the most elderly or senior to sit first, but in Japan, I've experienced junior people seated first, then the seniors or elders take the upper seats.
I err on the side of caution and either wait to be directed where to sit or until my sempais are seated. If unsure, I look around, assess who's likely proximal to me in seniority, and quietly ask if it's okay to take the next seat down.
Just keep in mind the most senior person or guest gets the kamiza, the highest seat furthest from the door.
Here's a pretty good guide -
Oh wait you mean Japanese people treat Foreigners like children? yes I can see that.
I have found Japanese manners differ a lot from American manners. In English it’s hard to offend someone if you say something a certain way, but in Japanese there are so many ways to not be respectful through language. Also in Japanese manner, they often don’t tell you if you do something wrong, or their true feelings. It’s really hard to navigate these politeness rules while being a foreigner, but I guess we all just have to do our best.
@Amanda In my experience I'd say Japanese ppl are more forgiving with foreigners (ppl whose native language isn't Japanese) and sometimes treat them like children 😅 expect maybe at the workplace
I want to make friends