japan_nowmods (japan_nowmods) wrote in japan_now,

Japanese Culture II: Train, Elevator & Store Etiquette

If you recall a while ago we made a post about the guest/host etiquette, this is another one of those Japanese culture posts. This one will briefly cover etiquette for various public places.

Store Etiquette

Fitting Room/Trying on an item at a store:
Start by saying "May I try this on?"/ "I'd like to take this". Remember to fold the clothes you have tried on before returning it to the sales person. When trying on an item if a button happens to come off (etc) while trying on an item, it is better to tell the sales person what happened instead of trying to cover it up. It is also good to say "Thank you for your assistance"(arigatou gozaimashita) when leaving the store.

Dealing w/ the salesperson:
When declining the salespersons advice say "its nice, but it's not what I'm looking for today". If you don't want to be followed around the store say "I'm just looking around. Thank you".

Do not take pictures of items w/o checking with the store first.

Be aware that certain items such as expensive leather goods are not to be touched with bare hands. It is best to use the gloves provided by the store.

At a sampling corner only take one item. Don't be greedy.

Do not try on shoes barefoot, it is considered inappropriate. Always ask for stockings.

Late to an appointment?
Contact the store as soon as you find out. Give yourself plenty of time to arrive.

Waiting In Line

If someone is blocking movement in a line ask "are you in line?" ("narande imasuka")

When seeing someone try to cut in line say "Here is the end of the line" or "Everyone is waiting" as if you were talking to someone who went ahead by accident.

Useful Phrases

If your party is called before other parties waiting in front of you b/c of the number in the party say: "excuse me" ("osaki ni shitsurei shimasu")

Giving way to someone who you think was waiting before you say: "please go ahead" ("osaki ni douzo")

Not sure where the end of the line is say: "Are you in line?" ("narande imasuka")

Elavator & Escalator

Elevator - When you lead the way:

It is generally more appropriate for one of get on and get off the elevator before the guest. In case the elevator is crowded and the buzzer might sound let the guest on first. If the buzzer sounds when you get on, get off promptly.

Elevator -Standing next to a control panel:
Ask the passengers around you their destination floor and push the buttons for them. If someone presses the button for you remember to say thank you (arigatou gozaimasu). It is also polite to hold the door for someone behind you. If it is a stranger you also say thank you

Elevator -Getting off:
In a crowded elevator say "excuse me, I'm getting off" ( "sumimasen orimasu") when you get off. If you are near the door where people need to get off go outside and then come back once the passengers are off.

Escalator basic rules:
Stand on the left side so that people in a hurry can walk on the right side is an unspoken rule in Tokyo. In Osaka the opposite is done.

Be careful when passing others on the escalator.

Hold your belongings in front of you.


When sleeping keep your head down.

Guide dogs with harnesses are on duty. Do not disturb them by touching, feeding, talking etc.

When reading a newspaper do not unfold wider than shoulder length because it will bother neighbors. Fold lengthwise when reading

Opening or close connecting doors quietly. Do not slam and make sure that the door is shut completely.

Be aware that things such as eating, drinking, earphone noise could bother other passengers.

Boarding Train:

Stand clear of the door and board the train only after everyone who wants to get off has exited. If you are inside standing next to the door step outside so others can exit.

Cell phone:

Turn off phone around reserved areas for elderly/disabled.

For women: considered polite to sit with knees close together and legs straight. Hold handbag upright on your lap.

Be careful that your bag does not get in peoples ways. Especially if you are standing near a door. For large bags place on the overhead rack of the train.

NOTE: Japanese culture(or well, all culture) is ever changing so these may or may not as accurate now as they were before. Please let me know if you see any typos.

Are the Japanese Train, Elevator & Store Etiquette rules the same where you live?

Some of them
I don't pay attention

source: various papers
Tags: random
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