Americans May have more Manners than the Japanese?

One of the more common adjectives associated with Japanese people seems to be “polite.” However, I have seen the dark side.

Yes, I have seen- and heard- Japanese like slurp their noodles at the table. Of course, these experiences happened 13 years ago. Some things may have changed.

Perhaps not as ferociously as this girl eats down below…



That is NOT polite in the west. We actually find it a bit rude to slurp.

When I witnessed this as a child, I was very confused. Of course I asked questions. How come my mother told me to always excuse myself if I did such a thing, but in Japan, people were congratulated? Why?

Well, it maybe rude in the United States but in Japan, this is a technic that actually helps the noodles cool as they travel to your  mouth. Women also slurp. Men aren’t the only one’s who get to have the fun. Any you know what? It’s perfectly fine within Japanese etiquette.

Last week, when I visited my regional Japanese consulate to complete paperwork, a young Japanese father repeatedly said “sumimasen” (excuse me) when addressing the clerk. It was almost like he was apologizing to her for bothering her, even though her job was to serve him.

The image of the girl slurping her noodles at the table and and a guy repeatedly saying “excuse me” to a clerk may seem to be on the opposite ends of the courtesy spectrum. But in reality, even something considered rude in the west is still a show of courtesy and gratitude in Japan.


Go figure.




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