It is no doubt that you almost always have culture shock especially when you move to a completely different culture to yours. Culture shock is usually frustrating and embarrassing so make sure that you are well-prepared to minimize this problem as least as you can. Learn about Japanese culture and survive this weird but wonderful country.
It may sound ridiculous but toilet is the first shock to foreigners if they have never heard about toilets in Japan. The two most common types of toilet both confuse foreigners. Squat toilets are traditional ones, with a shallow trough in the floor to collect the waste instead of a bowl like western- style toilet. There is a half-dome in the end by the wall, you must squat with your feet flat on the ground, facing that half-dome. Flush after you have done your business. Good news is, this kind is being replaced gradually.
However, you can also have annoying experience with the other common type, high-tech toilets. They have complicated functions like dryer, heating, massage, anus washing, automatically lid opening or flushing. You may get confused among these buttons. Many westerners end up wetting themselves trying to flush. Remember that bottom-spray button usually has a picture of a bottom and“おしり”. The bidet button is often pink with a picture of a girl sitting on a toilet and “ビデ”. There can be buttons indicating the amount of flushed water, “大” is for a large amount and “小” for a small amount. In the worst situation, just do not push any button. Another option is asking a person who can give you the simplest instruction. There’s a lot of time to discover, do basic things first.
It is different as well. Most toilets are a separate room from the shower and the bathtub. Shower is usually installed in the bathtub but in this country, it is next to. The reason is that you are not supposed to wash yourself in a bath tub, it is for soaking and relaxing. Clean yourself with soap, rinse off perfectly before getting into the tub. The tub is meant for a whole family to enjoy soaking so do not drain it unless you are the last person to use it.
Public baths and hot springs are popular among Japanese for the comfort and relaxation. The areas for bathing are separated upon genders. Prepare a tower, fold it, put it on your head and soak in, this is an interesting part of Japanese culture.
In Japan, working hard is highly respected. You can find it stressful to work in Japan because it is not unusual for employees to work 60 hours a week. “You look so tired” is considered a compliment. But don’t worry too much, as a foreigner; you are not pressured to work as much as your Japanese counterparts.
Unlike in individualistic cultures, community sense is so strong here, you are expected to work in harmony and hierarchy. Remember to pay high respect to your superior and get on well with your peers.