Manner Monday®: Japanese Etiquette

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One of our Students Hadley Griffith, from Shawnee, Oklahoma, had the amazing opportunity to travel to Japan last year.  In visiting with her, we thought it would be fun to share some Japanese Etiquette tips in case you get the chance to visit:

  • The Japanese do not approve of male/female touching in public.
  • The American ‘okay’ sign means “money” in Japan.
  • Pointing is considered impolite.  Instead, you wave your hand, palm up, toward the object in reference.
  • The Japanese do not engage in backslapping or other forms of touching.
  • In Japan, it’s rude to blow your nose in public.
  • The Japanese non-visual ‘space bubble’ that appears between two people is farther apart in Japan.
  • When entering someones home, remove your shoes and leave them by the door.  You will put on the ‘house slippers’ provided, and will exchange them again for ‘toilet slippers’ if you need to visit the bathroom.
  • When greeting, if someone bows to you – observe their bow carefully.  If they are a peer (or an equal), bow to the same depth as the depth of the bow is indicative of the relationship between you.  Don’t forget to lower your eyes as you bow.

When eating:

  • Meals are long, and sometimes go until after 10:00pm.
  • Never point your chopsticks at another person. If you are not using them, line them up on the chopstick rest.
  • Use both hands on a bowl or cup to signal a refill.
  • If eating in a private home, you will sit on the floor cross-legged, or with your legs to the side.

More from Hadley:

“I recently had an amazing opportunity to visit Nikaho, Japan with the Shawnee Sister Cities program along with seven other students and two adults. My name is Hadley Griffith and the other delegates are Carly Fisher, Lauren Canaday, Kate Barrett, Abby Morris, Rose Templeton, Josh Floyd, and Jaxon Canard. The adults are Jessica Brown and Beth Polston.We visited Tokyo, swam in the Sea of Japan, and watched the Kanto festival in Akita, Japan. We all experienced the japanese culture in different ways through our host family and the neat things they took us to do. For example I visited Mt. Chai, shopped at a huge mall in Akita, and ate japanese cuisine in an ancient japanese home. Our experience was culminated with a banquet in our honor where we dressed in traditional Japanese Kimonos and performed a song and dance for the audience. As a group, I think we all enjoyed the people we encountered on our trip. Everyone was very kind and selfless. We felt like movie stars everywhere we went. I had the opportunity to give a speech to a school in Nikaho and their reaction was amazing. All the students smiled and clapped like I was a professional speaker. As a group we also met many Japanese teenagers who acted like we were their best friends. It was truly the trip of a lifetime!”





Passport (9-12th Grade) Program
Our High School events begin soon – don’t miss out!

  • The Interview Intensive begins in October, click here for more information:
  • Passport (9-12th Grade) Program registration online via:


Business Etiquette Lunch Workshops 
Lunch workshops are a great way to grab a fantastic meal, meet new people in an fun and nonthreatening environment AND learn something at the same time!

Join us for a workshop:

  • Tuesday, October 21, Quail Creek
  • Tuesday, November 18, Gaillardia (Social Etiquette – preparing for the Holidays)

Register via:


Have you seen the Music Video?  Our Student Ambassadors came up with the idea, wrote the lyrics, arranged for the soundtrack recording, I helped arrange the videographer… they did the rest all themselves!  Pretty creative bunch of kids!!!

Don’t forget to watch through to the end for the bloopers!

Click on the picture below to access the video.


Business Etiquette Training and other Workshops
Would you like to schedule a workshop or presentation?

I have a variety of workshops that can be customized to fit your needs and would love to work with your organization, please call or email for more information, 405-721-1467 or

Here are just a few of the workshop topics:

  • Etiquette and the Generations – understanding ‘those guys’
  • Creating a Great Customer Service Experience
  • Business Etiquette and Professionalism – Navigating Lunch and Networking Events
  • First and Lasting Impressions
  • Professional Dress


As always, thanks for reading!

– Carey Sue





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