Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Bowing in Japan, STILL getting used to it!

Every morning on my train journey to school I still watch with fascination the train conductors walking down the train (normal in my book) and before reaching the door to the next carriage turning around and taking one long bow (not normal in my book!)

I have got used to the custom of bowing (o-jigi or お辞儀) when meeting someone for the first time but still haven't quite got used to Japanese people bowing before they go out of a door. The swimmers all do it before they leave the pool at my local leisure, the gym instructors do it before walking out of the door of the gym and the supermarket checkout assistants also do it after handing over your change.

One lady, Fumi who I chatted to whilst I was doing my pool jogging, (new sport for me since I can no longer run) told me that they do it to express gratitude, like a "thank-you for the opportunity to share this pleasure with you" type humility.

So I have now started doing a bit of bowing, probably looking totally amateur but it makes me feel as though I can show some respect in a body language that is native to the Japanese.

1 comment:

  1. Heh, have you found yourself bowing whilst in Blighty?!

    It took me a while to get used to kissing guys on the cheek as a greating here in Argyland, but now whenever I'm back in the UK I find it weird NOT doing it! ;-) Oo-err