What surprised you in Japanese culture?

Hello. I am a junior high school student in Japan.

Currently, I am learning about the differences between foreign culture and Japanese culture at school.

So I have something to ask you.

That is, "What surprised you about Japanese culture?"

I'm glad if you answer.

Also, if you have any questions about Japan or about Japanese junior high school, please ask questions.

Thank you for reading.

April 16, 2019


Hi! There are hundreds of "foreign" cultures, so it's probably better not to generalize like that.

I was surprised how Japanese people never want to give any opinions and express any negative emotion or evaluation. I know this is done to protect the social harmony and avoid offense and conflict, which is very important. But it's terribly difficult to get to know someone and make friends when you don't know the real opinions and dislikes of people around you. As a foreigner, it's also hard to avoid being rude or tactless, since you don't yet fully understand how to detect and express negativity and opinion the Japanese way.

Good luck with your school project!

April 16, 2019

The fact that they go to school on Saturdays is surprising to me.

April 16, 2019

I think most schools nowadays have Saturday off, but most schools in the past didn't.

April 23, 2019

I've been interested in Japanese culture for a long time, however, back when I was still learning about it in Middle School, I was shocked to find that it is somewhat male-dominated, you have to be cartain size to fit in the majority of the clothes, and you're looked at as a yakuza if you have tattoos shown openly. Currently, I don't have any tattoos but I plan to get some so I was pretty sad at first to hear that if I travel there I might be looked at as hostile. I know now that they won't judge forigners the same way they judge their own of course. If any of the things I said were incorrect in any way, please correct me. I do not mind.

April 16, 2019

What surprised me about Japan is not really related to the culture. Japanese people are renowned for being extremely polite, which is true, but I was expecting them to be reserved and hard to approach, in particular with foreigners. I was surprised to discover that's not quite the case, especially outside large cities and touristic areas.

Of course, this kind of stereotype is somehow meaningless, but still there's some kind of general feeling about human relations that one can perceive.

Also, culturewise, something that never fails to astonish me is people willing to sacrifice themselves for society's sake.

April 16, 2019

ありがとうございました!皆さんのご意見が聞けて良かったです(⌒▽⌒) これからの学習に役立てたいと思います! 私の英語力がなくて伝わらなかった部分もあったと思いますが、多数の人から様々な事が聞けて本当に勉強になりました! 今回、ご回答いただいた皆さん、本当にありがとうございました!!

April 25, 2019

The infinite kindness, courtesy, politeness and encouragement shown to me is wonderful. The honest and gentle nature of the people impresses me. I was surprised to learn that a married couple who are both teachers can be assigned to teach in schools in different cities. This creates distance between a married couple. This is asking too much of people.

April 17, 2019

You are a junior high school student in Japan? I am surprised by your amazing English ability! I live in Japan now, and I taught junior high school students for 5 years until recently. My students never had English levels as good as your English level. でも、いなかだから、皆さんは「英語がいらない」と思いました。。。

There are a lot of Japanese and Asian people in my hometown, so I grew up with friends from a mix of cultures. When I came to Japan, I wasn't surprised by very much. Maybe I was first surprised by how much old technology Japan uses. I don't mean traditional Japanese culture, though. I mean to say that I could still find floppy disks being used, and my schools still had rotary dial telephones. The second thing I didn't realize at first was the difference between Western arguments/debates and Japanese arguments. If you are looking for an English challenge, here is a 記事 about some of the differences:

Have you passed 英検 yet? Good luck!

April 19, 2019

I was surprised by how well organized everything is and that they have been able to mix old and new so smoothly in the society. I like that a lot.

April 17, 2019

Is that about the mechanism of Japanese society? Can you ask me a little easier? It is difficult for me to understand English....

April 17, 2019

In areas with modern architecture there will be possible to find traditional temples and shrines. You can find areas with many restaurants that look traditional on the outside while being next to modern buildings.

It is also common to see people especially women wearing kimonos as their daily clothes instead of wearing Western styled clothes.

April 18, 2019

The politeness levels and how ingrained they are in the language. I've never been to japan, so this is my opinion based only on my studies and it's a bit surprising to me. I knew japanese are polite, but I could not imagine how the politeness is ingrained in the language, how differently may the language sound when talking rudely, politely, casually, etc.

April 17, 2019

It was very surprise to me:
1. Children can go to school by them-self 2. Traditional siting - how can they can siting by long minuet or hour

April 18, 2019

Probably general etiquette like not eating or drinking while walking, bathhouse culture, and similar things

What do you learn about foreign cultures in school? Seems an incredibly broad topic

April 20, 2019

hello! i started learning japanese around half a year ago, and one thing that surprised me is how much can be expressed with levels of politeness and personal pronouns. while all the politeness stuff can get really confusing, i think it's fascinating! also, before starting, i didn't know the difference between "私", "僕", and "俺" but now i'm really glad i learned. it almost makes me jealous, i wish english had more expressive 1st person pronouns instead of just "I"

April 17, 2019
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