Sunday, March 25, 2007

Visiting the Japanese Home

Visiting the Japanese Home
by: Tom Takihi

So, you plan to visit a Japanese home? Well, before you do such you must first learn the etiquette in Japanese homes. The Japanese home culture revolves around three values: courtesy, cleanliness, and graciousness. Learning to apply these values whether in the Japanese context or not benefits you not only as you deal with the Japanese - it will allow you better dealings and communications with other people as well.

Courtesy. The first thing you have to do is greet the family. Bowing slightly as you greet them would be the best move, for shaking hands is still an awkward formality in Japan. The lower you bow the more respect you give.

If you could bring a small present, do so, especially a food souvenir called “omiyage” in Japan to delight your hosts and immediately create a warm atmosphere. It is preferable to bring local culinary specialties from your home town or country.

During conversations, remember to be more subtle than usual with your thoughts and emotions. Compared to people in the Western culture, the Japanese are more reserved during talks. In Japanese discussions there is what they call the honne (real opinion) and the tatemae (public opinion). In most situations it is the tatemae that is expressed to not disturb group harmony or cause any offense. This is why the Japanese are considered bad at public debates. Do avoid interrupting people when they are speaking or are in the middle of thinking. The Japanese don’t mind short periods of silence during discussions.

Cleanliness. Leave your shoes outside the door, on the spot where others have left theirs. Wearing shoes inside a Japanese home is considered unclean. If you are not immediately provided slippers, you can wear your socks inside the house. So make sure you are wearing nice and socks without holes! If you are wearing slippers, remember to remove them as you enter a room with tatami mats on the floor, for slippers could damage these mats. There are special slippers especially designated for the toilet area, so remember to take off your slippers when entering such.

As in most Asian countries, it is rude to blow your nose in front of other people. It is especially rude to blow your nose in a handkerchief and then stuff the handkerchief in your pocket afterwards. The Japanese use paper tissue when doing such. Excuse yourself if you feel the urge to do this deed to avoid offending anyone.

Graciousness. During mealtimes, the Japanese will offer you to try everything served on the table. Make sure to amiably try even just a bite of each of the food. Place your chopsticks on a special holder and do not stick them up in your rice. As opposed to Western manners, Japanese slurp noodles. It is actually preferred that bowls or plates be brought up the mouth when slurping rather than bending your head towards it.

Of course the Japanese will know and understand that you are from another culture, but knowing their traditions before you set foot on their door helps your visit to go more smoothly. Most Japanese families that host visitors of other races are “spoilers”, meaning they want to give you everything you need in all efforts to please. Hence, always remember to be gracious and please them in return.

About The Author
Tom Takihi is the proud owner of Japan Discovery, the largest portal of information of Japan on the web. To learn more about the Japanese home etiquette, please visit-: Etiquette

Saturday, March 24, 2007

MLMs And MLMers In Japan

MLMs And MLMers In Japan
by: Michael Brymer

With more MLMers per population than any other country, Japan has become a main target of MLMs and MLMers looking for huge success abroad.

If timing and contacts are right then effortless success is very obtainable.

Perhaps you can divide Japanese MLMers into two categories. One being the normal long stayer type. These are people that are similar to any MLMer in America, Australia etc., they stay with the one MLM and mostly service their customers and or distributors with products. They are the house wife type who are happy to plod along.

The second type, and the subject of this MLM article, are the big MLMers who can bring in huge numbers of members and who often run multiple MLMs at the same time. They are in the business of MLM to make money and to make it fast and in large quantities.

The big MLMers here in Japan often work like a company. The top man decides to take on a new MLM and gives it to one of his top players. That person is then responsible for the success of that MLM and to report back. He is paid a good salary to work the MLM. They then go out and do it! They all have top positions as agreed.

These guys in their suits and expensive vans start touring their contacts. They work so hard that I'm not even sure if they sleep. They are going to and from every big MLMer in the country! A typical tour for them can be anywhere between one, two or three months. Then they go back and run trainings for all the new members and their new teams. Most of the people recruited are seasoned MLMers not people new to MLM or MLMs.

When I brought a new MLM to Japan one of them visited me at 3 a.m. after driving three hours on a road that takes most people four hours. I gave him the run down on the products and pay plan, you've never answered more questions! in such a short time! I think they left at about 9 a.m.. It felt like they'd been there for a week. If my brain had of contained oil they would have gotten it.

If you ever get to meet one of these persons you had better know the pay plan better than the company itself !

Once they decide to take on a new MLM they often set up an office in Tokyo with computers, fax machines, staff etc. They then go into translating, re-designing and printing all materials. Their explanation of the pay plan would probably teach the MLM owners a lesson or two !

Sales of the materials they produce is also part of their profits by selling same to all the new members. I've never seen MLM materials as beautiful as they produce.

If the MLM they take on is say in America, then that company better be ready for mass production and prepared to set up an office and storage in Japan as soon as is possible. The worst thing an MLM company can do is say "We'll be in Japan next January" and not be! Truth and Trust is very very important.

I've seen American MLMs come into Japan without these guys, they don't do well. Most of them have turned down the requests of these big guys and have gone with the little guys. That is a clear way to receive the wrath of the big players and condemn the MLM to a short lived struggle.

The subject of my next article will be an in depth looks at the methods of Japanese super recruiters.

About The Author
Read More Of Michael Brymer's Heavy Hitter Secrets at

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Japanese Tea Ceremony

Japanese Tea Ceremony
by: James Williams

All over the world, people enjoy teatime. In Japan, however, taking tea with guests can mean considerably more than a relaxing break to the day. The traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony is a very grand and elaborate affair.

The Japanese tea ceremony is more like a sacred ritual than a friendly gathering. Each aspect of the ceremony is symbolic and adds great charm and meaning to this unique event.

The ceremony is conducted in a room called chashitsu, located in the teahouse. Fresh water symbolizing purity is held in a stone jar called the mizusashi, and may only be touched by the host. Matcha (tea) is kept in chaire--a small ceramic container covered in shifuku (fine silk pouch) and set in front of the mizusashi. Special stands called tana are used to display the tea bowls, and differ depending on the occasion.

The host enters with the chawan (tea bowl) containing a chasen (tea whisk), a chakin (a bleached white linen tea cloth) and the chashaku (tea scoop). Next to these items is a water jar, symbolic of the sun (yang) and a bowl, symbolizing the moon (yin). The host brings the kensui (waste water bowl), the hishaku (bamboo water ladle) and futaoki (a green bamboo rest for the kettle lid), and purifies the tea container and scoop using a fukusa (fine silk cloth).

Hot water is ladled into the tea bowl. The whisk is rinsed and the tea bowl is emptied and wiped with the chakin. For each guest, three scoops of tea are placed into the tea bowl. The whisk is used to create a thin paste using a sufficient quantity of hot water. Additional water is then added, while the paste is whisked into a thick liquid.

The tea bowl is passed to the main guest. He or she drinks some of the tea, wipes the rim of the bowl, and passes the bowl to the next guest. Each guest follows this same procedure until all have tasted the tea. The bowl is then returned to the host, who rinses it and cleans the tea scoop and the container.

A fire is then built for usa cha (thin tea), which rinses the palate, symbolizing the departure of the guests from the spiritual world of tea and back into the physical world. Smoking articles are offered as a gesture of relaxation, but smoking does not typically take place in a tearoom.

Finally, zabuton (cushions) and teaburi (hand warmers) are offered for the comfort of the guests, and higashi (dry sweets) are served. Before leaving the teahouse, guests will express their appreciation for the tea and their admiration for host's attention to the fine art of serving tea.

If you are ever given the chance to attend a tradition Japanese tea ceremony, be sure to attend. There is no other experience quite like it.

About The Author
James Williams contributes to several web sites, including and

Friday, March 23, 2007

Japanese Cooking

Japanese Cooking
by: Jonathon Hardcastle

Do you love Japanese food? The funny thing about Japanese food is that you either love it or you hate it. There is no in-between. And chances are, if you hate it, you probably haven’t really tasted Japanese food yet or haven’t given yourself a chance to sample it enough. Japanese food is hard to appreciate after only one bite. And sometimes, the idea that you are tasting raw food just won’t escape your mind that you are already predisposed to hating Japanese food even before you actually taste it.

Personally, I love Japanese food. There really is no other cuisine like it in the world in terms of its unique taste and presentation. Who would believe that something so raw could be so delicious? For those of you who have not yet discovered the pleasures of Japanese food, allow me to present the following primer.

The standard Japanese meal always involves a bowl of white rice as well as soup and side dishes such as pickles, vegetables, meat and fish. Japanese food is classified by the number of viands or “okazu” that are served with the rice, soup and side dishes. A meal with one okazu is called ichiju-issai and a prime example of this is the traditional Japanese breakfast which consists of miso soup, rice, grilled fish and one pickled vegetable.

The regular Japanese meal usually involves three okazu to go along with the soup, rice and pickles. Traditionally, each of these three okazu are cooked in a different way from the others. They can either be served raw or grilled, simmered, steamed or deep fried.

Another hallmark of Japanese food is seafood, which is the most popular and most widely consumed food in Japan. The most popular dishes include all types of fish as well as shellfish, squid and octopus. Crab is another favorite delicacy and so are whale and seaweed. Despite the fact that Japanese are not heavy meat eaters, you will hardly find any vegetarians among them either probably owing to their deep fashion for seafood. Beef and chicken are also popular among the Japanese.

About The Author
Jonathon Hardcastle writes articles for Cooking for fun - In addition, Jonathon also writes articles for Outdoors Talk and Recreation and More.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Speaking Japanese: Learning the Language and the Cultural Etiquette

Speaking Japanese: Learning the Language and the Cultural Etiquette
by: Cory Pangelinan

The Japanese language is considered by many to be easy to learn. Whether you wish to speak Japanese for personal reasons like travel or for professional reasons, it is important for you to consider that learning Japanese etiquette is as important as learning commonly used words and phrases.

Why is it that learning to speak Japanese is relatively easy? To begin with, there are only 5 vowel sounds:

· A is voiced as “ah,” or the way English speakers pronounce the a in “la;”
· I is pronounced as the English e in words like “need” and “tea;”
· U is vocalized in much the same way as “oo” in words like “cool” and “soon;”
· E is spoken with the same sound of the first e in the word “letter” and the e in “set;”
· O is expressed as it is in the word “told.”

Knowing how each of the vowels sounds phonetically makes speaking the Japanese words less difficult.

In addition, the Japanese language is less complicated than many others because nouns are not tied to gender or number - the same word is used for one tree or many trees - and verb remains the same regardless of the subject. Unlike English, Spanish and French (and other Latin-based languages) in which you must learn different ways to conjugate the verb based on the subject, when learning Japanese, the verb will be either past tense or the present tense (ongoing actions or the suggestion of what may happen in the future are expressed with the present tense verb).

While pronunciations can be simple once you know how the vowels are spoken, and nouns and verbs are relatively easy as well, one way in which you may stumble with the language is word order. While in English sentences are typically in a subject - verb - object format, in Japanese they are presented in the order of subject - object - verb. Of course, just as we have prepositions in English, there are a number of articles in Japanese. One article used often is “ka,” which is used at the end of the sentence to ask a question (which is important because the question mark does not exist in Japanese).

Though challenges like punctuation exist in the written language, learning to speak and understand Japanese can be accomplished. There are many resources available online, books and flashcards, as well as computer software. By finding the one that will be most beneficial to you and practicing often, you will surely be able to learn the language.

Once you have learned the language, and even while you are learning, it is important to keep etiquette in mind because how you act has as much of an impact on how you are received as the words you use to express yourself.

Make sure that you keep the following in mind:

· Unless you are very familiar with the person you are talking with, you should avoid using casual phrasings;

· Avoid being loud to get someone's attention. It is better to wave or to approach them with a bow and then speak;

· Use a quiet tone when speaking;

· Be cautious with your body language as much of the communication that takes place is unspoken;

· Always show respect for the person with whom you are speaking.

By maintaining respect for the people and cultural etiquette - you will find that beginning to communicate in Japanese is simple and, in time, you will become quite good at it.

About The Author
Cory Pangelinan - Author of a Japanese Language Course teaching you How to Speak Japanese the Real way its spoken in Japan. Let's speak Japanese.