Tell me about Japan

Discussion in 'Missions / Witnessing / eVangelism' started by abcgrad94, Mar 1, 2010.

  1. abcgrad94

    abcgrad94
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    My dh and oldest dd want to visit one of our missionaries who is in Japan. He's a national there. They are planning to go next year.

    What do we need to know about Japan for them to have a safe, pleasant, profitable stay?
     
  2. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Hi, abcgrad94.

    Sorry I didn't see this until now! We've had a visitor from the States here for over a week, so I've not been on the BB all that time.

    I hope you can solicit particular questions from your loved ones. As it stands I would simply say that Japan is a free, wealthy and safe country, so I'm sure they will have a wonderful visit.

    For further information, I would simply say to take the usual precautions while traveling. If they have never traveled overseas, they should know that many foodstuffs, plants and animals will not make it through customs. I recommend against bringing any meat products or anything that would spoil. Be respectful and polite to the customs folks and they should have no problem with their normal traveling items.

    Any weapons (including pocket knives) must be left at home. All guns and ammunition and many kinds of knives are illegal in Japan without special licenses. I'm sure they wouldn't bring anything on purpose, but sometimes people forget things left in their suitcases from previously. An American baseball player was recently arrested here for having a single bullet in his suitcase, forgotten from a previous trip.

    Japan is pretty safe, but not completely safe. They should keep their valuables protected when in airports and train stations. Pickpockets and robbers are a little bit of a problem on trains in the Kanto region, from what I've heard.

    I'd be happy to answer any other questions they have, and they might want to visit our website.

    In Christ,

    John
     
  3. Gwen

    Gwen
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    Hi ABC,

    Good advice from John of Japan!

    It's been many years since I was in Japan, but I will try to remember some things that helped me.

    If they don't speak the language and need some help, ask a college age kid--they usually speak at least some English. I was bailed out several times by college kids! :) Try to learn a few simple phrases in Japanese such as 'please' and 'thank you.' It will go a long way in being polite. Oh, and learn to bow properly! You can probably find some of these things on youtube.

    The food will probably be an adjustment. Everything is fish-based, and has a fishy taste and smell. So be prepared! This said, I loved Japanese food, and I don't really even like fish! I still crave sushi. There are lots of fast food restaurants like McDonalds and KFC there, tho, so you can always dash in and get a burger or some chicken if you feel like it.:laugh:

    The Japanese give gifts to say thank you. Taking a gift to your host and hostess would be considered appropriate. It doesn't have to be expensive--just something that conveys your appreciation.

    I hope this helps! And I hope they have a wonderful time! Oh, and I forgot to ask, what part of Japan are they going to?
     
  4. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    And good advice from Gwen!

    Need to know anything else about Japan, ABCGrad? :type:
     
  5. abcgrad94

    abcgrad94
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    Thanks JoJ and Gwen. I was wondering about cultural customs and not offending anyone. It seems the Japanese are very polite, so we want to make sure we follow the rules of etiquette.

    Is it ok to take daily showers, or is water a problem? Do they need to drink bottled water while there? Is it better to stay in a motel or to stay in the missionary's home? (he is a national) What time do people typically get up and go to bed? What is considered rude and what is considered polite while eating? What is proper behavior when men talk to women? (As in, do men only talk to the men and wait to be introduced to the wives?)
     
  6. Gwen

    Gwen
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    Hi ABC,

    I'll try to tell you what I remember about some of these questions. Maybe JOJ can address the ones that I don't know about.

    Daily showers: Yes! The Japanese people are very clean, and take daily showers, or baths. The Japanese bath (called an ofuro) is wonderful! It is not like our bathtubs here in the US, but very deep. There is usually a shower outside the bath with a small stool or bench, and that is where you wash. Then, you get into the bath and sit in water up to your neck, and soak. But remember--wash first, and only soak in the bath. Everyone in the family will soak in the same water, so it's important to be clean first. :) Here's a pic: [​IMG][​IMG]http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrysophylax/89334947/

    As far as bottled water goes, the water in Japan is perfectly safe. There should not be a problem at all. Tap water is just fine.

    Table etiquette is a little different. It is considered polite to make noise when eating soup, or a bowl of noodles. On the other hand, blowing ones nose in public is considered extremely rude!

    Also, the Japanese have a custom of removing their shoes when entering their home, and it is not optional. You must remove your shoes. The host or hostess will provide house slippers for you to wear. The foyer is called a genkan in Japanese, and you change your shoes there. Here's a pic: http:[email protected]/3880495158/
    And another view: http:[email protected]/3880493992/in/photostream/

    Hope that helps, and I hope JOJ can add to this!
     
    #6 Gwen, Mar 13, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2010
  7. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Whew! We just had our second guest in two weeks. So maybe the fresh memories will help me with some good advice.

    Gwen gave on-target advice in her last post, but I'll hit a couple of those points.

    About where to stay, that depends on the invitation. Did the missionary invite the visitors, or did the visitors ask if they could come? (This is more common than you would think.) If the missionary issued the invitation, they will provide the lodging. If the visitors asked if they could visit, they should write and ask the missionary if they would be kind enough to reserve a hotel or similar lodging (depending on the country). I don't recommend that the visitor find their own lodging unless it is a known chain. Here in Japan we have both "business hotels" and "love hotels". :eek:

    When do people go to bed and/or rise? This would depend on the family, I think. Whatever the case, if the visitor stays in the home of the missionary, they should adapt strictly to the missionary's schedule. One recent young man who visited played with his laptop until late at night, then slept till 10:00. This was very inconvenient for us, especially since on Saturday we told him specifically that he would work at the church with me, leaving by 10:00. He still slept in.

    One note in addition about eating: do not stick your chopsticks in the rice or other food, but lay them together across the plate or bowl. Sticking them in the food means death!

    Concerning men talking to women, what you wrote was a good idea: the man should wait until introduced before talking to the wife. At church, though, Japanese women will probably greet and converse with the visiting man, and it is quite all right for the man to respond. Many Japanese are thrilled to talk to foreigners and try out their English.

    One very important note: the visitor should strictly follow what advice and direction the missionary gives. The visitor may get himself in serious trouble, even legal trouble by ignoring this. A young man who recently visited ignored my advice to wear a warm winter coat, and then elected to walk from the ferry to the train station (two kilometers). He soon learned I wasn't kidding! It is still winter here in Hokkaido even in March. In fact, Saturday we had a snowstorm all day, with winds blowing the snow horizontally, ending up with about 4 inches of accumulation! The poor young man was very cold every time he went outdoors except when I loaned him my own coat. [​IMG]
     
    #7 John of Japan, Mar 15, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2010
  8. abcgrad94

    abcgrad94
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    Thanks, this will help!
     

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