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How to host Japanese guests?

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How to host Japanese guests? 2009/4/23 10:49
We are hosting Japanese guests that we have corresponded with for years but have never met. Any ideas on how to make this a successful and pleasant visit for them? Should we provide items that are familiar to them...slippers to wear, traditional food items at meals? Also, at the airport, how do we greet the adult who is our age as well as how do we greet the children?
It is our hope to make this a wonderful experience and strengthen our friendship with our Japanese friends.
by Anna (guest)  

Thank you for being specific 2009/4/23 12:00
You need to write about what part of the world you're inviting them to and what age is "our age" and what you mean by "how do we greet."
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

How to host Japanese guests? 2009/4/23 12:26
We live in the U.S. and are 41. What I mean by "greet" is do we bow, do we shake hands or considering that we have been writing one another for more than 20 years, do we hug?
by Anna (guest) rate this post as useful

Just relax and be yourself 2009/4/23 16:01
As they are visiting your country they will be expecting to adapt to your culture. In fact, experiencing a different culture is probably one of the attractions to visiting the US in the first place. The Japanese don't expect Westerners to bow in Japan, they certainly won't expect it in the US, it may even make them feel uncomfortable as few Westerners understand the protocol of bowing anyway and rarely get it right.

If you want them to feel at home with you just be friendly (with out being too overpowering) and treat them as you would any other guest.

BTW, the Japanese have a reputation for avoiding physical cantact. In my experience (I live in Japan) most don't have a problem with hugging their Western friends. Also, contrary to popular belief, the Japanese have a great sense of humor, so just relax, be yourself and be natural.

by lazyrapper rate this post as useful

Have fun 2009/4/23 16:27
I agree with Lazyrapper. They might even be looking forward to the hugging and kissing. I would (and I'm in my 40s).

But if you are concerned, what a lot of people seem to do is to approach by saying, "I'm going to do this the American (British/French/Thai, etc.) way, alright?" That would help them prepare for whatever is coming.

About food, why not ask in advance if they have any diet restrictions due to preference or health issues, and while you're at it, ask them what they like or what they'd like to try.

A lot of Japanese people tend to eat less and prefer less fat/sugar than the average American, but especially teenagers love the big American feast. Of course, at the same time, you can't generalize average Americans. I know too many Americans who are strict vegetarians and won't drink soda.

Have a nice time.

by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

Be yourselves 2009/4/23 17:44
I agree- they are coming to experience your culture, you do not have to handle them with kid gloves or do anything other than be polite, natural and hospitable in the same way that you would be with people of any other nationality.

Some Japanese who are unused to hugging can stiffen up a bit when hugged but they are not likely to be offended by it, perhaps just a little surprised.

by Sira (guest) rate this post as useful

Don't worry 2009/5/15 09:39
If you are good friends, there is nothing to worry about. They will be just as nerveous as you are, and post the same questions! Like mentioned above, saying 'this is US (or whatever country) style' will take away lot of the stress.
by Hexi rate this post as useful

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