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BITS OF CULTURE - Japan
 
Languages
Map
Cultural Values
Main Religion & Death Concepts/Rituals
Health Care Values
Diet
Interesting Facts
 

Languages

Offical language:
Japanese

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Map



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Cultural Values
  • Japanese think of themselves as part of a group .
  • When making requests, it often takes more time since the person asked usually consults others in the group to reach a consensus.
  • The Japanese way of greeting is bowing. The way one bows depends on the social status of the person he or she is greeting. If this other person has a higher status, one should bow lower and longer.
  • Shaking hands, on the other hand, is not common among the Japanese; however, they often do so when greeting a foreigner.

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Main Religion & Death Concepts/Rituals
  • Buddhism .
  • Shinto.
  • On the funeral day the body is cremated.
  • The guests take a first meal during that time in the crematorium.
  • Afterwards, the relatives pick the bones out of the ash and pass them from person to person by chopsticks.
  • The actual funeral ceremony is then held by Buddhist monks, according to Buddhist rituals.
  • Many guests are present at this ceremony.
  • Each of them will pay about 20,000 Yen to the relatives and receive a small gift in return .
  • At last, another meal is held.
  • The urn is put on an altar at the family's house and kept there for 35 days.
  • Incense sticks (osenko) are burned there around the clock (special 12 hour sticks for the night exist).
  • Many visitors will come to the house, burn a stick, and talk to the family.
  • After 35 days, the urn is finally buried on a Buddhist cemetery.

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Health Care Values
  • Doctors are seen as authority figures and patients and their families may hesitate to ask questions.
  • Ask the patient or family members more than once if they have questions.Treatment decisions are often made by the family, rather than by the individual patient.
  • The patient may want conversations about treatment to take place when the family is present. Ask the patient if this is his/her preference.
  • Patients, particularly the elderly, are not accustomed to verbalizing their emotions. However, they appreciate empathy, sympathy, respect, and kindness. Nonverbal communication is important.

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Diet
  • Most meals include rice and/or seafood.
  • Along with the rice and ample amounts of soy sauce the people of Japan eat sushi, tempura, sukiyaki, and many other seasoned dishes.
  • Tendency is to eat two light meals a day, and a larger more elegant meal at a restaurant in the evening

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Interesting Facts
  • 4 is bad luck, pronounced the same as the word for death (shi).
  • Never stick chopsticks upright into your bowl of rice or other food as this is an old Japanese custom for offering food, especially rice, to the dead.
  • No sleeping toward the North, bodies are laid that way.
  • Taking your shoes off when entering a house is because the floors are covered with straw mats which are called tatamis. In order to keep the tatamis clean for sitting upon, the Japanese take their shoes off.

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