Here is your next list. What are the things you need to prepare yourself for, before going to Japan? What does the nation expect from you? Let us take a look.
- Hard work and Excellent Education
Japan is known worldwide for its STEM, business, and design programs. The level of technological innovation is unparalleled. The University of Tokyo, Kyoto University, and Tokyo Institute of Technology are often seen in the top-20 lists of universities across the world.The Japanese culture is practically synonymous with hard work, considering the time the nation had to rebuild after the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In all these years, that has not changed. The Japanese do not prioritise leisure, as done in the West. It is customary not to plan social activities on weeknights after work or school. Work-life balance is generally skewed towards work.
- Welcoming International Students
As one of the largest economies in the world, Japan is one of the hubs of the globalised world. The Japanese welcome international students with more courses offered entirely in English. The kind of scholarship opportunities offered to international students is also immense. Generally, the tuition fees is about one-third of what an American or a European university will cost you. The application and visa process is quite simple, even if you want to continue working there after your studies.
- Great job opportunities
As the third-largest economy, there is no dearth of employment opportunities. If you are a bilingual English and Japanese speaker, it is even better! You can also find roles as a part-time English tutor while studying in Japan.
- Safety is paramount
Japan’s crime rate is exceptionally low and its healthcare is fantastic. So, if you are venturing into this new world as a global student, your safety is one less thing you have to worry about. That said, it would be wise to speak to locals before you go on your adventures.While the culture there is fairly homogenous, the Japanese manners make them extremely welcoming to people of other cultures.
- Super travel friendly
Public transport of Japan has a reputation worldwide. Millions of people use it, as it saves them the trouble of navigating traffic and finding parking spots. With bullet trains and overnight buses, you can comfortably explore the islands of Japan during your stay there.
- Punctuality and Manners are at the centre of Japanese culture
The Japanese take time quite seriously. It is a courtesy to call and inform, even if you are a few minutes late. Typically, you will notice people keeping appointments a few minutes before time. Lateness is just not accepted.Your manners, both in public and private are held to high standards. You will notice people bowing to one another, addressing with respectful suffixes, not drawing attention to themselves in public (speaking loudly on the phone in public or eating while on the move is a huge no-go). “Gomen’nasai” (I am sorry) and “Arigatōgozaimasu” (Thank you) said with a genuine smile on your face will take you a long way.
- Smaller Spaces
As a nation comprising of four islands, land space is extremely valuable in Japan. So, get used to smaller dorms, restaurants, or just about anything. The Japanese will find creative ways to use all possible spaces.
- Eating Etiquette
Japan is not all about ramen and sushi. There is way more to Japanese cuisine than that. Learn how to use chopsticks, as it is one of the most common pieces of cutlery used. While chairs and tables are used in more modern restaurants, the traditional ones will have low tables, cushions, and mats are used. When sitting down it is the men who sit cross-legged while women sit with both legs folded on one side. The more formal way of going about it is kneeling, for both the sexes.It is also normal to hear people slurping their food fairly loudly. While it is considered terrible manners in the west, for the Japanese, it is a sign of appreciation.
- Hyper clean
One of the first things you will notice is how clean the whole nation is. Littering is something that is just not done. The Japanese take pride in keeping their homes and the roads spotless. So, if you are living there, clean up after yourself and hold on to your trash until you see the right dustbin.
- Shoes go on and off
One doesn’t wear outside shoes in inside places in Japan. But barefoot is also a no-no. So, always keep your socks with you. Most places will have cubbies in the front for you to store your shoes. If you are staying with a family, carry ‘house slippers’ that should be used only inside the house.A culture that is rife with innovation and ancient history, Japan as a global ed destination will be one step further in cementing your role as a global citizen. Acknowledging their cultures and learning from them will make your stay there more fulfilling.