Asian Culture – The Importance of Etiquette

If you’ve recently started dating a Asian girl and you don’t know a great deal about Asian culture, there are several things you ought to know before taking things to the next level or before meeting her family for the first time. Asian people are incredibly polite and well-mannered, and while your girlfriend won’t expect you to know all of the customs of South Asian culture, she will be impressed if you make an effort to incorporate some Asian etiquette into your mannerisms. Here are four things to understand about the importance of etiquette in Asian culture.


Manners matter in Asian culture

Frankly, good manners are essential to most relationships, but you should be aware of the important part that manners play in Asian culture. It is common for example in Japan for people to bow when greeting one another, and this is a simple way of showing your respect for somebody you’ve just met. If you’re unsure about how far to take the bow, you can just copy what others do and try and mirror their greeting. You should be aware that shaking hands is not as common in Asia as it is in the west, so refrain from shaking hands when first meeting someone.


Never wear outdoor shoes indoors in Japan

It is completely unacceptable to wear outdoor shoes indoors in Japan. When you’re invited into someone’s home, you should always take off your shoes. Outside the front door, they have an area known as the ‘genkan’ where you should remove your shoes before entering. Also, know that it’s not just inside people’s homes where wearing outdoor shoes is inappropriate. You will be asked to remove your shoes before entering many restaurants, hotels, and temples, so make sure you’re wearing a clean pair of socks when you meet her parents for the first time!


It’s normal to sit on the floor at restaurants

If you head out on a date at the start of your relationship, don’t be surprised if you sit on the floor to enjoy your food. Many traditional Asian restaurants have a mixture of both western-style tables and chairs, as well as low tables where guests sit on top of pillows. While this might take a lot of getting used to, it’s an integral part of Japanese culture, so if your girlfriend invites you to join her on the floor at her favourite restaurant, be sure to give it a try.


Gift-giving is an important sign of respect

Gift giving is a big part of Asian culture, and it is not exclusive to birthdays and significant life events like it is in many western countries. Giving gifts in Asia is seen as a token of your gratitude, so if you’re invited to your girlfriend’s home to meet her parents, you should ensure you bring a small gift with you as a way of saying thanks to your hosts. Be mindful, however, to avoid gifts in sets of four, as the word four is pronounced the same as the word for death. This would be an awkward start to your relationship, so bear this in mind when picking the perfect gift for her parents!