No matter how exciting your night in Tokyo goes, you’re not excused from respecting cultural differences.
Nocturnal people will often find that Japan is one of the best places to go for a vacation. If you happen to be a creature of the night, then you’ll definitely be happy with every single thing that Japan has to offer. Going out at night in a city or a place that you are already familiar with will most likely be too boring to be worth doing. The story is a lot different when you spend that much awaited vacation in an unfamiliar place such as Japan. Add to that the fact that Japan has a life in the night that is very much alive.
One thing which you do need to pay attention to, especially when in Japan, is the fact that even with the strength of its nocturnal culture, it still does not (and will never) compromise with its own original culture. Thus, even with your excitement to take part and get the best out of its night life, you still can’t get too excited – lest you actually forget the cultural implications of your actions and offend someone else in the process. So, instead of losing your head and forgetting where you are, just refer to this set of quick tips and you’ll most likely be in an immensely enjoyable (or at least non-offensive) nightout.
Quick Tips for Japan’s Bar Culture
First off, you have to remember that while it’s legal and acceptable to drink on the street, you are not allowed to eat on the street. It’s not against the law or anything like that. The point is that there are a number of people who think that it’s not really a polite thing to do – eating while walking on the street. Of course, if you’re the type of person who’s really determined to defy certain social expectations that don’t really make sense to you, then you can perhaps try to test the limits of this rule, but don’t you dare say no one warned you.
Second, even when you don’t see a bartender, it’s perfectly alright to yell for the bartender. (Yep, you read that right: you can yell in the bar if you’d like to get the bartender’s attention.) No need to look for a tech blog that teaches you how to speak in full Japanese. You simply have to yell SU-EE-MA-SEN (which is the informal, casual way that the Japanese say “excuse me”).
Third, which is probably the part which most website visitors will find most strange, especially if you come from a culture that loves to give tips: in Japan, you don’t need to give a tip to the waiter. If you try to force the issue, you will end up only making the situation awkward for both of you. So, by all means, resist the temptation to give more than what is necessary.
Here’s the thing – going out at night in a foreign country does not excuse you from its cultural idiosyncrasies, no matter how seemingly wasted or drunk you are. You are still a foreigner, and as a foreigner, you are expected to cooperate with the culture you now find yourself in.