Weird and Funny Things Japanese People Do – Top 13

Have you ever been to Japan? Well, then you will have definitely seen some weird and funny things Japanese people do. Of course not every Japanese person does them, but many do. So, in this post, I will show you the top 13 weird and funny things Japanese people do.

Weird And Funny Things Japanese People Do

Weird And Funny Things Japanese People Do

Every country is different. And I find learning about other countries’ cultures pretty interesting. That’s also one of the reasons why I went on an exchange year in Japan. It is so different from what I am used to in Europe. So, in this post, I will show you 13 weird and funny things Japanese people do.

Weird And Funny Things Japanese People Do

1. Sleeping on Trains

weird and funny things Japanese people doJapanese peopl

Sleeping on trains isn’t really something we in the West do. And you wouldn’t think that this is a thing in Japan. Because it is an extremely densely populated country with trains so full that people have to get pushed in.

I guess the reasons for why they do it is that the chance that somebody steals your phone is pretty low because of Japan’s low crime rate. And also, the Japanese work pretty long hours.

Another reason might be that Japanese train stations all have a cute jingle which you could use as an alarm clock.

2. Bowing

weird and funny things Japanese people do

I guess you already know that people in Asia bow more than we do. Nevertheless, you are going to be surprised by how often the Japanese bow.

They use bowing as a greeting, a show of respect, an apology and many other things. During my High School exchange year in Japan, I even had to stand up and bow at the start and end of every class.

Many Japanese people also make small bow-like forward head movements to show their approval and that they are listening.

3. Being indirect

weird and funny things Japanese people do

One thing I like about Japan is that things go pretty smoothly. You hardly ever run into trouble with anybody. 

And the reason for that is that the Japanese don’t always say what really mean. 

For example, when you ask them what they think about a topic, most would say “Yeah, it’s pretty good” just to make you feel happy.

First I found it quite weird that when I asked for a friend’s opinion I only got a “Uhm… well… the thing is that…” as a response but I soon became used to that.

You can find out more about this here:

4. Wearing Masks

weird and funny things Japanese people do

This one might not be as much of a surprise to you anymore as it would have been just a few months ago.

Wearing surgical masks is something that the Japanese have been doing for years now, not just because of the coronavirus.

They wear masks when they are sick so that they can still go to work without having to stay home, when they didn’t feel like putting on make-up or when they just feel like hiding their face.

You can find out more about why the Japanese wear surgical masks here:

5. Standing in Line

Another thing that surprised me when first coming to Japan was how much the Japanese like queues. They stand in line everywhere. It’s like the UK but even better. 

For example, you find people waiting in line at train stations, in front of popular restaurants or even in front of the gym before it opens…

6. Interrupting You

It’s a bit difficult to describe what I mean in written form. But Japanese communication is pretty different from the western one. 

In Japan, there’s something called 相槌を打つ aidzuchi o uzu and it means as much as to throw in interjections to show that one is paying attention

If you don’t nod and say うん un (meaning yes) all the time, the Japanese person on the other side will think that you aren’t paying attention.

So don’t get confused if a Japanese person says yes all the time during a conversation. He or she just does it to show you that he or she is paying attention.

Weird And Funny Things Japanese People Do

7. Kneeling Down on The Ground

Have you ever watched a Japanese movie? If yes, then you have probably seen somebody kneel down on the ground and say I’m so so so sorry

This is called 土下座 dogeza. I have never actually seen anybody do it in real life but it’s in every second movie.

You should only do it if you have done something really bad that has for example, caused the death of a person or something like that.

8. Slurping Noodles

I know that if I go to another country, I have to accept their customs and so on. But the sound of somebody slurping noodles – I can’t stand it. 

But the Japanese say that noodles like ramen or udon taste best when they are hot. So you better slurp those noodles or your mouth will get burnt.

I know what I’m talking about, I never slurp my noodles and have thus done my lips great damage.

Weird Things Japanese People Do

9. Holding Plates

weird and funny things Japanese people do

Japanese dining etiquette is pretty complicated. For example, you shouldn’t stick your chopsticks into the rice, you shouldn’t lay them down so that they point towards somebody etc.

And one thing that the Japanese do, but we in the West don’t is holding up plates when eating.

10. Hiding Their Face When They Laugh

I don’t know why so many Japanese people cover their face when they laugh. Maybe it’s embarrassing or they don’t want other people to see into their mouth, I don’t know. But they do it all the time.

11. Being Too Humble

If you compliment a Japanese person on how well he speaks English, he’ll probably answer something like “Oh no no no no”. The first time I heard this I was like “Bro I just complimented you. Why do you say no?”.

But that’s just how the Japanese people tick. They are very careful about what they say and what other people think about them.

Weird And Funny Things Japanese People Do

12. Sleeping in Class

12 ways Japanese High School Is Different

Going to a Japanese High School for a year was definitely a great experience. But one thing that really surprised me was that so many students sleep during class. And many teachers don’t even care.

13. Wearing Slippers

weird and funny things Japanese people do

If you’re in Japan, don’t ever step inside a house without taking your shoes off first. Every house, temple and also many restaurants have a 玄関 genkan where you are supposed to take off your shoes and change into slippers.

Btw a foreigner, you’ll often have the problem that the slippers will be too small for you…

But what really surprised me that they even have special slippers for different areas. For example, when you go to the bathroom you’ll need to put on special slippers. Or when you are in a hotel you’ll have slippers for your room, for outside the room, for the public bath, for the toilet and maybe even more places…

Weird And Funny Things Japanese People Do

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