Bad manners in the train and by foreigners

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Today we have @nifty’s survey into manners, where I’ll select two ranking-like questions, on bad manners in trains (by Japanese) and bad manners by foreigners.

For the list of bad foreigner manners, I suspect that a lot is confirmation bias, that one bad-mannered foreigner tarnishes the reputation of all. Furthermore, many of these ill-manners can be levelled at the Japanese too; middle-aged women (especially from the Osaka area) are rather noisy in trains, Japanese abroad are quite camera-happy in no photos and no flash areas, around my local station is no smoking, but I’ll see at least one person a day puffing away, and so on.

Foreigners taking photos in “No Photo” areas reminds me of this curious case (scroll down a little).

Here’s a couple of trains manners posters:

Please do it at home.
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Kids these days! Bah, humbug!

goo Ranking published a survey with a topic I can identify with, what manners in public places people wish children would obey.

Demographics

The survey was conducted over the 2nd and 3rd of September 2013 and 1,077 people completed a private web-based questionnaire. 51.0% of the sample were female, 24.5% in their teens, 24.8% in their twenties, 25.2% in their thirties, and 25.5% in their forties. Note that the score in the results refers to the relative number of votes for each option, not a percentage of the total sample. This survey was for the women in the sample only.

Here’s a train manners series featuring kids doing adult things to highlight that adults should be responsible and set a good example to kids.

#1249 another in the "children are watching" series

As noted by the poster above, I’ll note that most of the activities here are sometimes seen when kids are accompanied by their parents. However, only number one seems to be strictly enforced by parents, and it does bring out the grumpy old man in me when I see parents sitting in a phone off area yet playing with, or even talking on, their phones around their kids.
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Voice calling and reading email popular activities while walking

How often do you carry your mobile phone with you? graph of japanese statisticsA recent report from japan.internet.com on a survey conducted by goo Research into mobile phone manners found that most people are not far from their mobile phones.

Demographics

Between the 27th of April and the 6th of May 2011 1,092 members of the goo Research online monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 52.9% of the sample were male, 16.6% in their teens, 18.0% in their twenties, 21.6% in their thirties, 16.0% in their forties, 15.7% in their fifties, and 12.1% aged sixty or older.

One curious omission from Q1SQ is watching television or video; I don’t think just 0.5% have done so!

Also, although just 1.1% reported regularly talking on their phones on trains, I suspect that meant people who make calls without bothering about the annoyance they might be causing others. In my experience there’s always one or two people furtively making or receiving calls when I ride the train home!
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Western table manners Japanese don’t know about

This short ranking survey from goo Ranking looked at Western table manners that Japanese just don’t understand very well.

Demographics

Between the 19th and 22nd of November 2010 1,171 members of the goo Research online monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 50.2% of the sample were female, 11.3% in their teens, 19.1% in their twenties, 29.0% in their thirties, 23.4% in their forties, 9.6% in their fifties, and 7.6% 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.

Much to my surprise, “all of them” is not the top answer! Most of the Japanese I know have rather poor table manners overall (and even here and there their Japanese table manners leave something to be desired), but this survey seems to be dealing with finer points of etiquette. Personally, not being female I don’t know number 4, and I’m not 100% certain on finger bowls, but I think I’ve only once been at a meal where they have been present.
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Japanese really don’t like any noises on trains

Do you feel bothered by people talking quietly on the phone in the train? graph of japanese statisticsI’ve previously looked at loud phone calls on the train, but this survey from goo Research and reported on by japan.internet.com found that many were annoyed by quiet phone calls too in this survey into train manners.

Demographics

Betweem the 10th and 12th of February 2010 1,080 members of the goo Research monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 52.7% of the sample were male, 16.3% in their teens, 18.1% in their twenties, 21.6% in their thirties, 16.0% in their forties, 15.7% in their fifties, and 12.2% aged sixty or older.

I actually find quieter phone conversations more annoying, as people seem to make less effort to cut the conversation short, but instead imagine cupping their hands over their mouth masks the noise.

If I rode with other foreigners what I really want to do is to point at the person and talk in English about how bad mannered the person is, but as I don’t I have to make do with scowling at them.
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Proper cutlery usage beyond most Japanese

How good are you at eating food using a knife and fork? graph of japanese statisticsI’ve always found Japanese saying “You’re good with chopsticks” such an empty compliment as a lot of them seem pretty poor themselves, and if they ever get loose on a knife and fork it’s often a total disaster. Perhaps what they are saying is that they themselves are no good with a knife and fork, a situation that this survey from iShare seems to back up.

Demographics

Between the 15th and 21st of July 2009 574 members of the free email forwarding service CLUB BBQ completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 52.3% of the sample were male, 32.6% in their twenties, 31.0% in their thirties, and 36.2% in their forties.

Just thinking about it, one problem my wife has is pressing the knife down when cutting things; most Westerners (I hope! Or at least most Europeans do…) hold knives like we hold our pens, with the index finger straight out, but Japanese tend to hold pens in their fists, so perhaps the correct position is unfamiliar and uncomfortable to them.

I’d also have loved to have seen them asked if they can eat spaghetti without slurping or without holding their face a few centimetres above the place and shovelling the pasta in with both fork and spoon together.
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“I’m on the train!” annoys two in three Japanese

Please do it at home poster with statisticMaybe I’ve just been in Japan too long, but I’ve recently noticed train phone manners going downhill, with talking on the phone being an obvious hate, but also people who leave their keypress beep on irritate me a lot. These feelings seemed to be shared by most people, according to this recent survey conducted by Point On Research and reported on by japan.internet.com into mobile use onboard trains.

Demographics

On the 2nd of February 2009 exactly 1,000 mobile phone using members of the Point On monitor group completed a private online questionnaire. Exactly 50.0% of the sample were female, 20.0% in their teens, 20.0% in their twenties, 20.0% in their thirties, 20.0% in their forties, and 20.0% aged fifty or older.

When I go abroad this sort of behaviour doesn’t really bother me, perhaps because I am accepting that it is the social norm for the country I am visiting, or perhaps it is because I’m often trying to sleep on my daily commute.

The picture accompanying this post is a Tokyo manners poster, one of a series of posters they have produced, with today’s statistic added for a more accurate representation of the situation!
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Bad table manners Japanese just can’t break

A while back I took a look at bad chopsticks habits, but this time goo Ranking expanded the field to cover bad table manners people just can’t break. However, this time we didn’t get a breakdown by sex.

Demographics

Between the 24th and 26th of September 2008 1,044 members of the goo Research online monitor panel completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 50.6% of the sample were male, 5.8% in their teens, 12.7% in their twenties, 32.3% in their thirties, 27.6% in their forties, 12.3% in their fifties, and 9.3% 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 occasionally do 3, I must admit, and at home I always lick the yoghurt lid, and my wife gets annoyed at me sometimes when I don’t do triangle eating. Other than that I claim to be free of all the other habits!
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Worst train manners

I found a blog reporting a Yahoo! headline supplied by the Mainichi from a press release from the private railway companies of Japan’s umbrella organisation, so excuse the fourth-handedness of the whole story. 6000 people were questioned to find out their views on bad manners on board. So, without further ado, first some of the complaints that didn’t quite make the top grade:

  • Not following telephone manners (20%)
  • Not following the rules when getting on and off (9%)
  • Sitting on the floor
  • Being noisy in the train
  • Leaky headphones
  • Putting on makeup
  • Luggage in the way
  • Ciggies (what aspect?)
  • Eating and drinking on board

The worst three, gathering the majority of the votes were all to do with sitting down.

  • Sitting with legs akimbo
  • Young or fit people in the priority seats
  • Not squeezing up when the bench seat is almost full

My pet hate is similar to the last one, people who don’t move away from the doors when they board.

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