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Should I hug my japanese friend? I need a piece of advice!

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FinalNameLeft
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Should I hug my japanese friend? I need a piece of advice!

Postby FinalNameLeft » June 19th, 2009 3:33 am

Hey everyone! I need a piece of advice! Maybe you won't be able to help me, and this may be a stupid question, but who knows - I'll give it a shot!

I have a japanese friend. We met in Berlin last year, where we were both taking German lessons. We got pretty close and ate out together many times. Now I'm back in Berlin, and of course I'm gonna see my friend, who still lives here.
Now, my question is - should I hug him or not? It's really a cultural question. I'm a girl, 19 years of age. And he's not only a bit more than 10 years older than me, he's also (happily) married - and a judge!!
When we speak German (that's the only langage we speak) we speak informally.

Anyway, the bottom line is: I don't know if it would be appropriate to hug him or not when we see each other again. I'm scared that I'm gonna cross some kind of cultural boudary if I hug him, because he has another kind of social status... I hope you get my point, and I hope that someone can give me a piece of advise!!
Thanks in advance.

I might just add that I'm Danish, and that it's very common for Danes to hug each other, even if they just know each other as classmates... Maybe that's why I'm in doubt?

QuackingShoe
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Postby QuackingShoe » June 19th, 2009 4:47 am

Cultural understanding is a two-way street. In my personal opinion, sometimes this means backing off in respect of their culture, and at other times it means doing what you want and having them respect yours. Honestly, most people give people from different cultures a lot of slack when it comes to odd behavior. They get it. Plus, this guy has been living in a foreign country anyway...

However... I'm pretty positive two Japanese people would not offer up hugs in this situation. Japanese people, like, never touch each other ever, and it's generally a poor idea to touch them. They're honestly kindof weird about it. Although, I don't really think two Americans would hug in this context either.

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FinalNameLeft
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Postby FinalNameLeft » June 19th, 2009 10:31 pm

Right. Thanks, that actually really helped me! :)

oskar2008
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Postby oskar2008 » June 20th, 2009 2:18 am

Usually in Asia countries are rule not to touch shoulders, neck and head in public.
In Thailand polite is bow and with palms close say Sawasdee kha(women speak) or sawasdee krab(mail speaker) Not like written pronunciation.
In Japan is more liberal , if you offer hand to shake hand , in Japan no body blame you.
But all higher than shoulders in public touch not look polite. Bow and say Ohayou , Konichiwa or Konbanwa , this is casual style you must know line when you can use this.
See the lessons from Hiroko sensei. And do not worry.

P.S. I have good friend in Tokyo, woman friend, but never before see her daughter , so I must use two difference approach. To daughter I say like in lesson "hajimemashite, ohayougozaimasu, watashi wa zoran desu, ogenki desuka" and when daughter say name I must say, obligation to use after young female name suffix -chan (not -san , not polite)
And to my friend, she know me years and years, I use casual style.
One word never skip in introduction for first time, "hajimemashite" if you see for first time . Also try remember, if someone is non adult rather very young do not say -san.(young girl -chan , young boy -kun , adult people -san , teacher, doctor , lawyer -sensei) If you do it this simple rule , this will be save you from many unnecessary trouble.
This is golden rules.



ゾラン

Ulver_684
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Postby Ulver_684 » August 7th, 2009 5:01 am

oskar2008 wrote:Usually in Asia countries are rule not to touch shoulders, neck and head in public.
In Thailand polite is bow and with palms close say Sawasdee kha(women speak) or sawasdee krab(mail speaker) Not like written pronunciation.
In Japan is more liberal , if you offer hand to shake hand , in Japan no body blame you.
But all higher than shoulders in public touch not look polite. Bow and say Ohayou , Konichiwa or Konbanwa , this is casual style you must know line when you can use this.
See the lessons from Hiroko sensei. And do not worry.

P.S. I have good friend in Tokyo, woman friend, but never before see her daughter , so I must use two difference approach. To daughter I say like in lesson "hajimemashite, ohayougozaimasu, watashi wa zoran desu, ogenki desuka" and when daughter say name I must say, obligation to use after young female name suffix -chan (not -san , not polite)
And to my friend, she know me years and years, I use casual style.
One word never skip in introduction for first time, "hajimemashite" if you see for first time . Also try remember, if someone is non adult rather very young do not say -san.(young girl -chan , young boy -kun , adult people -san , teacher, doctor , lawyer -sensei) If you do it this simple rule , this will be save you from many unnecessary trouble.
This is golden rules.



ゾラン


Oskar2008-san! :wink:

Excellent responce! Thank you I'll keep that in mind. :D

oskar2008
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Postby oskar2008 » August 7th, 2009 10:41 am

どういたしまして。

untmdsprt
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Postby untmdsprt » August 7th, 2009 11:32 am

QuackingShoe wrote:Cultural understanding is a two-way street. In my personal opinion, sometimes this means backing off in respect of their culture, and at other times it means doing what you want and having them respect yours.


Personally I don't like being touched or hugged by people I don't know, but one time I allowed a friend of my cousin to kiss me on either side of my cheeks. My cousin told me about his friend being from France, and I've heard they do such a thing. Out of respect for my cousin I allowed the man to do such a thing when he said his goodbyes, and never once had issues about it.

Belton
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Postby Belton » August 7th, 2009 9:16 pm

You can always ask first. And you'll feel it if they don't like to be touched even if they say yes to be polite.

I would guess most Japanese don't feel comfortable being touched, even handshakes can feel odd. I suppose it's just not part of the custom.

And yet some Japanese do hug. An older friend of my wife jumped out of the car to hug me in welcome much to my surprise.

I blogged about hugs on mixi once and got my largest amount of comments.
The one I found saddest was the woman who envied seeing a grown up son hug his mother at the airport. The consensus was that Japanese don't tend to hug outside of relationships like lovers or parent-young child. However, for those that have foreign friends they enjoyed the gesture of friendship. They would never initiate a hug though.

I can hug my Japanese friends in the UK. They are very used to the custom (and many are from the theatre!) and they'll hug me. I'll hug my close friends in Japan.
I wanted to hug my father-in-law but we never got beyond a handshake and bow. I'll hug my mother-in-law hello and goodbye however.

There's hope yet as they are trying the "free hugs" campaign
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HnKqE_Rgdk

oskar2008
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Rules of behavior

Postby oskar2008 » August 8th, 2009 11:48 pm

Hug in public, in Japan? Never!
Why I say so drastic No , maybe look like "simpatico" see Japanese woman to hug most Caucasian people, but this like on youtube isn't good manner at all in Japan. Normally Japanese man try to avoid such this embarrassed situation.
For west people look like "no big deal hug in public". But any civilization have rules good or bad. There must be something line between privacy and public. This line in Japan is very strong. On the west line what is acceptable in public, is much more liberal comparing Japan.
In public people must behave like other expected. In privacy is out this topic, only two people make rules.
And " when you in Rome act like other Roman people."
In this case we can say "when you in Japan try act like Japanese people".
Rules of behavior is really much more older than one human age.

P.S. To avoid misunderstanding, I am not work in JapanesePod101.com language school, I am just student like others.

Quemaqua
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Postby Quemaqua » August 12th, 2009 3:17 pm

Frankly, I wish people in America would act more privately. It does seem a bit sad coming from this particular cultural perspective that Japanese may not hug each other at times even when they might want to, but perhaps the trade-off is ultimately for the better. People here have little respect for the comfort of others in public, and it's extremely irritating how frequently you come across loud, irresponsible, reckless people. I've grown up with it (I'm a native Californian), and have gone to school in a number of fairly rough neighborhoods, but the general disregard for other people has never gotten "normal" for me. One of the aspects that interests me about Japanese culture is the strict focus on politeness, courtesy, and respect for others. These concepts seem utterly foreign to some Americans.

RebelDogg
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Postby RebelDogg » August 16th, 2009 5:27 am

Hug 'em. He may be Japanese, but he's still a man. We love hugs, even if we won't admit it. I need a hug.

DISCLAIMER: I have no idea what I'm talking about and am slightly intoxicated.

Ulver_684
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Postby Ulver_684 » August 28th, 2009 11:23 pm

RebelDogg wrote:Hug 'em. He may be Japanese, but he's still a man. We love hugs, even if we won't admit it. I need a hug.

DISCLAIMER: I have no idea what I'm talking about and am slightly intoxicated.


RebelDogg-san! :wink:

:lol:


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