Tongue in Cheek: South Africa meets Japan
Tongue in Cheek: South Africa meets Japan
Post written by Paragon Interiors   September 17, 2019

We’re wondering how the South Africans will fare at the Rugby World Cup. And we’re not talking about the Springboks.

The Japanese have had centuries to hone their culture and we, well, are still working on ours. Ours is a melting pot of multiple cultures which makes it difficult to define but the Japanese culture is cast in stone.

Japanese people are fastidious, disciplined, respectful, extremely well-mannered and observe strict social protocols. Karaoke seems to be the only exception with respect to their orderly conduct and our penchant to jol will help us fit right in. Beyond bars and clubs though, it’s business as usual.

Some suggestions to keep rugby enthusiasts in Japan for the duration of the World Cup.

NEVER…

Give a Japanese person a hefty klap on the back followed by a loud “Howzit, my china?” by way of introduction. They may never fully recover. (And, they have no genetic connection with China.)

DO…

Give a gentle nod of the head and a handshake. A deep bow from the waist denotes profound respect.

NEVER…

Receive a gift from a Japanese person, rip it open and toss the balled paper at your bru three rows in front. Apart from littering the stadium, your bru may be recovering from his first encounter with sushi and lamenting that fact that he scoffed most of his biltong on the plane.

DO…

Receive the gift with both hands, a nod of thanks and open it at home. If you wish to say, ‘thank you’, the word is ‘arigatogozaimasu’. Try not to spit or lose your dentures.

NEVER…

Blow your nose in public.

DO…

Sniff until you find a tissue and some privacy. If you sound like a foghorn when you blow, find a mine shaft and a ladder.

NEVER…

Spear food with chopsticks. Chopsticks stuck vertically into food, especially rice, has funereal connotations. The same applies if someone drops a morsel on the table. Never help them pick it up. They can flick and chase it around the table for an hour or more but don’t help them. While you’re hosing yourself, resist the temptation to wave your chopsticks around or point them at your hapless chommie or you’ll be confined to the dog box with him.

DO…

Keep trying to retrieve the morsel.

NEVER…

Wear your shoes in a Japanese home.

DO…

Put on socks without holes and leave your shoes at the door. How you fit your size 49 paddles into a size 39 slipper is your problem.

NEVER…

Answer a phone call, speak loudly, eat or wear a bulging backpack on a train. In fact, don’t speak or laugh loudly or cause any inconvenience to anyone, anywhere. A booming ‘eish!’ or ‘hayibo!’ on the train may precipitate a scale 10 horror reaction and result in your expulsion at the next station.

DO…

Exercise control in confined spaces (or find a park).

NEVER…

Party up a storm in a rented apartment. They’re the size of broom cupboards and have thin walls. Your neighbour could be a humourless sumo wrestler and you won’t want him pulling rank at 02.00.

DO…

Stay at the club or have your vocal cords surgically removed before you board the plane.

Please. Try not to offend the hosts.

Here’s the good news, Japan is a beautiful and fascinating country that functions like clockwork and the Japanese people are seriously cool.

Forget what your mother taught you, slurp your noodles (it indicates you’re enjoying them) and drink your miso from the bowl. Hey, you can even read books in a store without having to buy them and best of all, the famous Japanese hi-tech toilet. Do not be surprised (or worse, dethroned) with a fresh spritz where you least expect it accompanied by a blast of music.

Got it? Go Bokke…