Tue. May 21st, 2024
Difference between Japan and France

The writer has lived in Japan for many years. She shares with you how she felt when she came to Japan and felt interested in how Japan and France are different and their reasons. Let’s find them out…

Japan and France are two cultures with similarities but also very different points. We will see some differences here.  

The notion of respect

One of the differences between our culture and Japanese culture is the notion of respect due to the hierarchy.

A younger person will need to use respectful language towards an older person while the older person may speak colloquially. 

To address someone in Japan, you have to use suffixes that mark respect after the name of your interlocutor.  On the other hand, French people are very informal, even with the elderly. Generally, French people are often polite only in work situations, especially when addressing a superior. Respect for the elderly is more deeply rooted in Japan. 

Also, in France, we are used to being pushed to succeed individually, by becoming self-made people. On the other hand, in Japan, they are conditioned to believe that success is also synonymous with group success and not individual success. So the culture is to make the company succeed without putting yourself forward. It is the culture of the group and the ability to step aside for the benefit of the group in Japan. 

This is a logical continuation of the previous point. This cultural difference is often the source of misunderstandings and conflicts between the representatives of these countries. Indeed, it is not usual for the Japanese to put themselves forward or to be too direct in their comments.

How to taste noodles

Another difference is that we learn to eat noodles with our soup by making as little noise as possible. However, in Japan, it is the one who will make the most noise by sucking his noodles! In Japan, sucking the noodles with a loud noise is custom! It allows you to appreciate more fully the dish you are tasting, by hearing and smelling: by sucking the air through the mouth, the flavors spread more widely.

Less physical contact

Moreover, compared to the Japanese, Westerners have a greater facility to go to contact others (physically). 

For example, we will kiss each other on the cheek to say hello while the Japanese will bow.

Street names

Another difference between the French and the Japanese is in street names. In France, almost all streets are named. This makes it possible to find one’s way around without necessarily asking for help from a third person.

On the other hand, the Japanese do not do that. In Japan, you will see street signs except for avenues and routes. Even less those with city or village names as in France. It will be necessary to have a map or a GPS just in case. 

Concerning tanning

Another quite original difference concerns tanning. 

It must be said that the French particularly love to have tan skin, in general. Among the Japanese, tanning is less popular.

Japanese women prefer to prevent ultraviolet light because they are afraid that their skin will age quickly. That’s why many Japanese women usually go out with their hats, umbrellas, or other special clothes. This practice is normal in Japan. 

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