ACTIVITY OF THE WEEK
Level: B2 Timing: 30 mins
Aim: to talk about customs in Japan and Brazil
Instructions: Ask the students to read the text individually and do the vocabulary exercise afterwards. They should then compare their answers with a partner before you go through the answers.
Tell the students they have been asked to write 10 customs Brazilians have for foreigners visiting Brazil. Ask them to write the customs. They can include pictures, if they want. Put them on the wall and ask everyone to read them.
10 CUSTOMS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE TRAVELLING TO JAPAN
- THE NUMBER 4 IS AVOIDED AT ALL COSTS
In Japan, the number “four” is avoided because it sounds very similar to the word for death. The number 4 is extremely unlucky and is used as little as possible. You must always avoid giving anyone something in fours because it can be seen as a very ominous gift.
Elevator labels will often be missing a fourth floor — and in extreme cases, they will not have floors 40 to 49. The practice of avoiding the number 4 is called “Tetraphobia,” and it is common in many East Asian and Southeast Asian regions.
- BLOWING YOUR NOSE IN PUBLIC IS CONSIDERED RUDE
Blowing your nose in public is seen as not only rude, but simply disgusting. Instead people will generally sniffle until they find somewhere private. If you simply must blow your nose, it is recommended that you do so as discreetly as possible.
The Japanese are also repelled by the idea of a handkerchief.
- TIPPING CAN BE SEEN AS INSULTING
Tipping is considered rude — and can even be seen as degrading. Tipping will often cause confusion, and many people will chase after you to give you back your money.
If someone has been particularly helpful and you feel absolutely compelled to leave a tip, guidebooks suggest leaving a small present instead.
- THERE ARE DESIGNATED PEOPLE WHO WILL PUSH YOU INTO A CROWDED SUBWAY CAR
Oshiya, or “pushers,” wear uniforms, white gloves, and hats and literally push people into crowded subway cars during rush hour.
They are paid to make sure everybody gets in and doesn’t get caught in the doors.
- PEOPLE WILL SLEEP ON THE TRAINS WITH THEIR HEAD ON YOUR SHOULDER
If someone in Japan falls asleep with his or her head on your shoulder, it is common practice to just tolerate it. People have very long commutes and work dreadfully long hours, so many will often fall asleep on the train.
- THERE ARE TOILET SLIPPERS FOR THE BATHROOMS
It is customary to change into slippers when entering a Japanese home, a traditional restaurant, temples, and sometimes museums and art galleries.. Basically any time you come across of row of slippers in Japan, you should just put them on.
- YOU MUST ALWAYS BRING A HOST A GIFT
It is an honor in Japan to be invited to someone’s home, and if this happens, you must always bring a gift. The gift should also be wrapped in the most elaborate way possible, and lots of fancy ribbons are suggested.
You should also never refuse a gift once offered — but it is good practice to strongly protest the gift at first.
- POURING YOUR OWN GLASS IS CONSIDERED RUDE
It is customary in the US (and many other countries in the world) to serve others before you serve yourself, but in Japan you are never supposed to pour yourself a drink. If you have poured for others, another guest will hopefully see that your drink is empty and pour for you.
You must also always wait for someone to say “Kanpai” (cheers) before drinking.
- SLURPING NOODLES IS NOT ONLY SEEN AS POLITE — BUT IT ALSO MEANS YOU HAVE ENJOYED YOUR MEAL.
Slurping is considered polite in Japan because it shows that you are enjoying your delicious noodles — in fact, if you don’t eat loudly enough, it can be mistaken as you not enjoying your food.
Slurping noodles is not entirely for the sake of politeness, but also to avoid having a burnt tongue. Japanese soup and noodles are generally served steaming hot — hot enough to burn — and slurping helps to cool down the food.
- SLEEPING IN CAPSULE HOTELS IN ROOMS BARELY BIGGER THAN A COFFIN IS VERY COMMON
Capsule hotels are used as cheap accommodation for guests who purely want a place to sleep. They are used most often by businessmen working or by those who have partied too late and have missed the last train home.
The sleeping quarters are small capsules that are not much bigger than a coffin, and the beds are stacked side by side and on top of one another.
Match the underlined words in bold to their meanings.
|OMINOUS||Eat or drink with a loud noise.|
|SNIFFLE||A long, narrow strip of fabric, used especially for decoration.|
|REPELLED||Giving the impression that something bad or unpleasant is going to happen.|
|CHASE||A long box in which a corpse is buried.|
|SLIPPERS||Sniff slightly or repeatedly, typically because of a cold.|
|COFFIN||Soft shoes you wear indoors.|
|OMINOUS||Giving the impression that something bad or unpleasant is going to happen.|
|SNIFFLE||Sniff slightly or repeatedly, typically because of a cold.|
|SLIPPERS||Soft shoes you wear indoors.|
|RIBBONS||A long, narrow strip of fabric, used especially for decoration|
|SLURPING||Eat or drink with a loud noise.|
|COFFIN||A long box in which a corpse is buried.|
Based on: http://www.businessinsider.com/japanese-customs-that-are-shocking-to-foreign-travelers-2015-2