Any foreigner who has lived in Japan, or even just visited for a few days, cannot fail to have heard “You’re good with chopsticks” from their hosts. This survey from goo Ranking into what foreigner in Japan activity surprises the Japanese (in a good way) looked at what other things people were impressed with. Chopsticks did figure in the rankings!
Between the 21st and 23th of May 2008 1,072 members of the goo Research monitor panel completed a private internet-based questionnaire. Exactly 50% of the sample were male, 5.7% in their teens, 12.9% in their twenties, 31.8% in their thirties, 27.5% in their forties, 11.3% in their fifties, and 10.8% aged sixty or older. Note that the score in the results refers to the relative number of votes for each option, not a percentage of the total sample.
I’d love to see number eight myself, so if any of my readers have suitable photos, please post them and I’ll feature them on the site!
Number eleven is a Japanese habit of sticking a hand out in front to break through a crowd, often seen as someone tries to pass down a train for instance. However, some foreigners have found that a bicycle bell works just as well.
I don’t understand number sixteen! Is this a popular image from manga comics?
Q: What behaviour by foreigners in Japan surprises you? (Sample size=1,072)
Rank Action Score 1 Writing difficult kanji 100 2 Bowing on the telephone 88.1 3 Using dialect 86.0 4 Speaking Japanese fluently 82.5 5 Using proverbs, idioms 77.1 6 Eating natto 74.1 7 Habitually using chopsticks 68.2 8 Getting drunk with tie tied around head 64.3 9 Using Japanese era dates, not Western calendar 62.9 10 Singing enka, folk songs 61.0 11 Passing through crowds with a “suimasen” and the one-handed chop 58.9 12 Sitting “seiza” 56.1 13 Slurping noodles 54.0 14 Dancing a bon dance 37.6 15 Using a toothpick 31.8 16 After a bath drinking fruity milk with one hand on hip 26.6 17 Sleeping on a futon on the floor 25.2 18 Taking off shoes before going indoors 24.3 19 Wearing a kimono, yukata 22.7 20 Queueing properly 20.1