When in Rome
When I meet friends, the way I greet them generally depends on where they are from. With my western friends, we usually just say ‘hi’. Some people hug and kiss each other on the cheek. We usually shake hands when we meet for the first time, and sometimes if we haven’t seen each other for a while, too.
With my Japanese friends I greet them according to Japanese etiquette. I usually say ‘hi’ and sometimes bow; it depends on our relationship. Bowing is very important in Japanese culture. Many of my Japanese friends have told me that when they started working for a company they had to take bowing lessons. The depth of the bow depends on the relationship with the other person. I sometimes see business associates bowing very deeply and repetitively when they are saying goodbye to each other. It’s an important sign of respect to the other person.
Couples in Japan very rarely show affection to each other in public. When they greet each other they neither hug nor kiss, but in the UK couples usually do.
When my family came over to Japan last year, my parents-in-law treated us all to a gorgeous meal at a Japanese restaurant. Tomono’s family also took my family to a hot-spring resort in order for everyone to get to know each other a little. When our families came to say goodbye, my family naturally expected to say goodbye with a hug and a hand shake. However, I had to explain to my family that doing so may make Tomono’s family feel uncomfortable. So, instead they made a polite bow and said 'sayonara'. As they say: “When in Rome…”
Thank you for the clear instructions for preserving eggs. I think I’ll give it a go!
Today’s useful English
(to) shake hands
a hand shake
(to) take (bowing/English etc) lessons
a sign of respect (to someone)
(to) show affection (to someone)
(to) treat someone (to something)
(to) get to know someone
(to) make someone feel uncomfortable/happy/at home etc
(to) make a bow
“When in Rome (do as the Romans do)”
instructions (for doing something)
(to) give something a go
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