Japan is a country like no other. Of course, every nation is unique and different. But Japan just seems a lot more different than the rest! From bizarre rules and crazy entertainment shows to unique cuisine and distinctive style, people are fascinated with Japan and its people.
In recent years, the term ‘Japanophile’ has been used to describe a non-Japanese person who is a lover of everything about Japan. They appreciate the culture, people, and history of Japan and many seek to immerse themselves as much as possible in Japanese culture.
I have met many people from overseas who have an excellent knowledge of the customs and way of life here. Some people strive to make themselves fit into Japanese society as much as possible, by learning the language and customs and also wearing Japanese-style clothes. They may also have interests in J-pop or popular anime or manga series’.
If you are interested in looking and seeming more like a Japanese person, check out these seven introductory pointers!
The first and perhaps the most important lesson in taking on Japanese cultural traits is using chopsticks correctly! In Japan, knives and forks are rarely used, and you will only see them at international restaurants or more modern establishments.
In Japan, perhaps unsurprisingly, there is a certain way to eat a meal properly. This includes how you hold your chopsticks, where you place them while you’re not eating, where to sit at the table, and how to show good table manners. You can read more about these special manners here.
If you want to look more like a Japanese woman, you could try styling your hair so that you sport bangs. If you have long, shoulder-length, or short hair, you can always re-style it and add this very popular Japanese look!
Bangs are incredibly popular in Japan and have been so for decades. Whilst many trends and fashions have come and gone, the national obsession with bangs has continued to thrive. You will notice that women in Japan wear both full bangs or side bangs, both of which look really cute!
The theories about why bangs are so popular in Japan vary, but perhaps one reason is that bangs look very childlike and innocent, an image which has been popular among Japanese women for some time now. Also, many popular anime and manga characters have bangs, which could have kept the trend going.
For Japanese young boys and men, the bob haircut is very popular. It is one of the most common male hairstyles here in Japan, and if you want to look more Japanese, then perhaps you should try and embrace it!
The bob has a few different cuts to choose from, including the blunt bob, the curly bob, the choppy bob, the inverted bob, and the asymmetrical style. Similar to the bangs which are popular among young women in Japan, the bob look definitely has a cute feel to it.
One thing to take into account, however, is that Japanese men are gifted with famously strong and versatile hair. It can be easily shaped and has a lot of natural volume and lift. People with different hair types may have to work to maintain a decent bob hairstyle. However, there’s nothing that a good hairspray can’t keep together!
Of course, one sure way to seem more Japanese is to learn the language! Easier said than done, I know! This may take a long time, but in the meantime you can learn some common sounds that will make you sound like you know a lot more than you do!
Japanese people have a habit of using some common sounds to communicate things. For example, they say ‘etoo’ and ‘annoo’ to say what in English would be ‘uhmmm’. You will hear these sounds absolutely everywhere in Japan or among Japanese people. They will use this sound when they are pausing or thinking during a conversation.
You may also hear these words when starting a conversation with someone. For example, to say ‘um, can I talk to you for a second?’, a Japanese speaker would say ‘annoo, chotto ii desu ka?’. There’s one sentence you can learn now!
Japanese speakers also have a distinct tone when they speak. Much like using different tones and emphasizing certain words depending on the situation and how you are feeling in English, so the same can be said for the Japanese language.
The best way to get a grip on this subtle changes may be to spend some time watching anime cartoon or Japanese drama shows!
Japanese expressions are distinct. You can see whether the person is Japanese by simply observing their expressions. Well, this works most of the time! Japanese people often exaggerate their expressions, particularly if they are shocked by something, or trying to deny an accusation against them.
When Japanese people are shocked, they may also say ‘eeehhh’?! If you manage to say this whilst also batting your eyelashes and keeping your eyes wide open, then you are on your way to being a bit more Japanese. The same goes for when you’re denying something, only add hand waving gestures to emphasize the expression of denial!
When you are nervous or shy, you could bow your head. Bowing is often done and is normal in many situations in Japan, whether it be in your workplace after a meeting or when confessing your love for someone. However, be sure to also look a person in the eyes after a conversation as a show of respect.
Japanese are famous for this. Everyone knows how polite the Japanese are. So, to act like a Japanese person you should really learn how to be polite. Japanese people are fond of bowing. It’s like 50% of their day is spent bowing!
But, seriously, if you want to act like a Japanese person, you should start bowing whenever you greet someone, say thank you, sorry, hello, or goodbye. Japanese people also talk formally to anyone older than them. You can only start talking informally to someone if you are the same age as them or if the other person (same age or older) agrees to do so.
Kawaii means ‘cute’ in English. Japanese girls (and many boys, too!) like to be cute most of the time. So, you must look cute, wear cute clothes and accessories, and act cute. To look even cuter, there are some makeup tutorials on how to look like a cute Japanese girl.
As for clothes, wear at least a cute dress or blouse and a skirt. Clothes should also be matched with cute looking accessories. As for acting cute, it all depends on how you feel about it.
Well, people may say that you’re trying hard or being a copycat, but who cares?! If you enjoy acting like a Japanese person, then go for it.
Don’t worry about hate and criticism, they don’t mean anything. It’s your life so do whatever makes you happy. Ganbatte!