Tokyo’s Royal Thai Embassy must have not been too happy with recent Thai tourists. According to the embassy’s Facebook page, social media recently showcased reports of “inappropriate” behavior committed by Thai travelers visiting Japan.
“Know that Japan is a society where there is a strict regulatory framework quite as well as the operational plan that became assimilated in Japan society,” the government landmark said, referring to Japan’s strict policies on polite manners.
“Japanese society is very unique. It is a society with strict rules that are not always obvious to visitors,” said chief consul Jessada Nanthachaiporn, who also added that the list is meant to be an educational tool, not as criticism of either country.
As a result, the embassy posted a guide to proper manner and politeness for Thai tourists – and perhaps foreigners everywhere – traveling to Japan. The ten social rules to follow, as translated by the Bangkok Post, are:
“1. Stand on the left of an escalator or walk on the right side in case of hurry. However, in some regions such as Kansai, the left side is for walking. Japanese people also clearly divide walking lanes on the footpath.
2. Refrain from using mobile phone while using public transportation, such as buses and trains, and the cell phone should be put on vibrate mode.
3. Queuing is normal in Japan as service is provided on first-come, first-served basis, whether it is for public buses, toilets, buying food or other items. There will be no jump in queue for either minors or the elderly.
4. When using an elevator, the first person gets into the lift will hold the button to open the door for other passengers and be the last person to leave.
5. Place money into a provided tray when paying for goods at a shop, as it will help reduce confusion on payment. Cashiers will also give change on the same tray.
6. When wanting to get some service at a shop, Thai tourists should wait for an assistant to come to them, instead of calling those who may in the middle of providing service to other customers.
7. Thai tourists should refrain from speaking in a loud voice in the public as the Japanese highly respect privacy and they think that public space is the common area used by all people. Therefore, train stations during morning and evening rush hours will be relatively quiet.
8. Separate garbage and recyclables and put them in the appropriate bin. Normally, there are no garbage bins on sidewalks, except in front of convenience stores and train stations.
9. Drive with consideration to pedestrians. Drivers must stop at zebra crossings and wait for all to cross the road with patience without honking the horn.
10. Do not use own chopsticks to pick food for other persons. Receive food sent by the other by using the plate, not the chopsticks.”
However, if unsure on how to behave in a certain situation, the best rule to follow is to observe and replicate local customs.