Weird Customs of the Japanese that surprised Taiwanese

As natives from Japan, you will find a lot of strange customs abroad that seem impossible to come across in Japan. Similarly, there are various Japanese social customs that visitors from overseas will find utterly strange when they visit Japan. To determine some of the weirdest Japanese social customs, we prepared questionnaires for Taiwanese people who live in Japan. There were 290 respondents and their answers were quite intriguing. So let’s check out some of the weirdest Japanese social customs according to these foreigners.


10th place

11.7% participants said that you find many kind people here. (34 people)


9th place

20% said that Japanese care for people around them. (58 people)


8th place

22.8% said that Japanese queue orderly and neatly for everything. (66 people)


7th place

24.1% said that “thank you” and “sorry” are used quite frequently. (70 people)


6th place

30.5% said that the traffic rules are strictly follwed. (87 people)


5th place

38.4% said that the garbage is sorted for recycling. (110 people)


4th place

42.4% said that the trains arrive accurately on time (121 people)


3rd place: 46.7% said that tap water is drinkable (136 people)

In Japan, you can use direct tap water even for cooking and drinking purposes. It is hygienic and safe. However, in Taiwan, people need to boil the tap water to make it fit for consumption. In fact, very few countries across the globe provide safe and drinkable tap water and Japan is one of those few countries and a rare one in Asia.


2nd place: 53% said that there are (too) many vending machines (153 people)

Japan is known for its prevalence of vending machines throughout the nation. It is something that is strange not only for the Taiwanese but also for most foreigners. The strangest bit is that you will find vending machines in the most isolated landscapes and mysterious parts of the country. In Taiwan, people rarely see vending machines in town, let alone the highways. Many countries, including Taiwan, have juice stalls and small stores where you can buy fresh fruit juices and bottled beverages without any trouble.


1st place: 55% said cold food is very common (159 people)

In Taiwan, the summer temperature is usually more than 30 ° C and it remains for quite long time. Therefore, it tends to be thought that Taiwanese prefer cold food or chilled beverages. However in Taiwan, cold or ice is considered to be an “enemy” to the health according to Traditional Chinese Medicine teachings. Therefore, Taiwanese people do not consume as much cold food since the idea is deeply rooted. This is the reason why Taiwanese people find the use and consumption of so many cold food and drinks as bizarre.


【Other strange Japanese social customs include】 

  • Toilet paper is flushable in public toilets.
  • Miso soup is consumed using chopsticks instead of a spoon.
  • Few people walk on the streets while eating.
  • Escalators open on single sides.
  • Baby seats are installed at the back of a bicycles.
  • Gifting is essential.
  • Wearing face masks.
  • Gargling well.
  • Showing the peace sign in photographs.


※ This article will be the complete version of the contents published in the in-flight magazine “Vanilla Press 2017 April- June issue (first issue)” by airline company · Vanilla Air

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