Sign in for a personalized experience.
Japan Guide Homepage
Travel
Living
Forum
Jobs
Friends
Shopping
Question Forum
-
Classifieds
-
Friends
-
Language Exchange
-
Tutors
-
Schools
-
Member Area

Home - Question Forum
Sitting Japanese style

ask a new question  -  post a reaction

Dear visitor, if you know the answer to this question,
please post it. Thank you!

Note that this thread has not been updated in a long time, and its content might not be up-to-date anymore.

Sitting Japanese style 2009/8/16 01:34
I have back and knee troubles and will visit Japan for the first time in November. I'm 70, and in good shape except for back and knee.
I can't squat very well. What do I do when eating in a Japanese-style dining room or restaurant?
by brucesantarosa  

Sitting Japanese style 2009/8/16 10:27
brucesantarosa,

If you cannot kneel or sit cross-legged, then you should avoid places with only Japanese-style tatami seating.

by Dave in Saitama (guest) rate this post as useful

... 2009/8/16 13:06
When booking or going to a restaurant where you suspect the seating might be on the tatami floor, you'd have to ask if they have "teeburu seki" - table seating area - or "horigotatsu" seat - this is where you sit around a low table on tatami mat floor, but the floor under the table is dug out so you have leg space as if you were seated at a regular western style table.

I am assuming you will be staying in western style hotels for your comfort, but if you ever want to stay in a "ryokan" - traditional Japanese inns - make sure that for dinner and breakfast they have "dining rooms" with table seating, as against many inns that only serve meals in-room on tatami seating.

by AK rate this post as useful

A Few Observations 2009/8/16 21:17
Your name sounds male. In that case, and especially at your age, if it works for you physically you can get away with sitting cross-legged (with your legs in front of you) as opposed to the proper Japanese style ("seiza," with your legs under you). For me, there is a huge difference in comfort level between sitting cross-legged and sitting in proper seiza position, which I cannot do for more than a couple of minutes. Even a kneeling position but with the legs to the side as opposed to directly under the butt (which is the most relaxed you can get away with if you're a woman in a skirt) is much more painful than cross-legged position.

Generally speaking, Japanese people are very indulgent of foreigners and elders. They will understand if have trouble with Japanese style seating, and will often try to accommodate you. (And regardless of what they might think about a woman sitting cross-legged, for example, they wouldn't say anything or refuse service in a restaurant or anything like that.)

If you cannot even sit cross-legged for any length of time, then it is indeed better to avoid situations where you will be seated on a tatami mat for an extended period. There are plenty of good trandtional Japanese restaurants where you don't have to sit Japanese style. (As described by AK.)

I have knee problems myself but can usually get through an hour or so on a tatami by sitting cross-legged most of the time but shifting position every once in a while. If you have an opportunity to get up and walk around a little once or twice, it helps a lot. (If you are eating in your room in a ryokan, you can do this. Of course, getting up from the tatami is an effort itself!)

by Uma (guest) rate this post as useful

common problem 2009/8/16 22:21
A lot of aged Japanese people cannot sit folding the knees (seiza). Even those with healthy legs can't sit seiza style for more than say 20 minutes or so anyway.

Just tell them that you have knee (hiza) problems and that you need to sit on a chair (isu). They will understand and arrange you a table seat or horigotatsu.

You are also excused to stretch your legs on the tatami floor, if that solves your problem.

On a related note, as there are many aged local women with similar problems, there are enough Western style toilets here and there.

by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

A little off topic 2009/8/16 22:34
After Uco mentioned about squatting, I suddenly remembered something I needed to ask.

Growing up in a 3rd world country, I always squat when defecating, even on pedestal toilets (the ones meant for sitting). I will be staying at a Japanese person's house. Is it rude if I lift the toilet seat cover and squat?

by Lily (guest) rate this post as useful

Not an urban legend after all... 2009/8/16 22:52
Lily,

I suppose what you do behind a locked toilet door is no one else's business, but I think your host would be pretty horrified to learn that you were squatting on their toilet seat. If you really have to do it, make sure you also lift up the seat itself, as they are usually made of plastic and could probably break if you put your feet on it. And don't leave footprints, whatever you do!

by Dave in Saitama (guest) rate this post as useful

. 2009/8/17 12:52
Lily,

I'm not sure if I understand. Are you perhaps saying that you put your feet on the toilet rim as you squat? If so, make sure you wipe the rim first with toilet paper to make the rim clean, and make sure you wear the toilet slippers as you do so. I don't think the residents of the house will appreciate guests walking around in socks or bare feet that just touched the toilet rim. But still, it sounds to me like it's very dangerous; you might slip.

If you're going to keep your feet on the floor, I see no problem about it as long as you don't scatter things all over the place.

But I'm just curious. Why do you want to squat? Can't you just face the rear side of the toilet and squat over the seat cover (not the lid, of course) and have your thighs touch the cover as you do your business? Actually, that was what I used to do when I was very little trying to get rid of my diapers.

by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

squatting 2009/8/18 01:30
Uco,

I'm not sure if I understand. Are you perhaps saying that you put your feet on the toilet rim as you squat?

Yes, that's exactly what I do. It's no different from how I do it on a squatter toilet. The last time I slipped from a toilet was 20 yrs ago (I was only 3 then). I don't think many ppl over the age of 4 slip from squatting on a toilet if that's what they do everyday.

But I'm just curious. Why do you want to squat? Can't you just face the rear side of the toilet and squat over the seat cover (not the lid, of course) and have your thighs touch the cover as you do your business? Actually, that was what I used to do when I was very little trying to get rid of my diapers.

It's how I always did it since the age of 2. When I went to the US at 17, I tried defecating at sitting position, I find it really hard to get anything out! Even after I am done doing my business, I feel that I haven't thoroughly emptied myself. I feel that there is nothing more practical and natural than squatting! Most of my friends who only squatted when they were young feel same way.

Wow you actually remember when you were in diapers? Wasn't that under 2? You didn't squat back then?

by Lily (guest) rate this post as useful

reply 2009/8/18 12:21
I don't think many ppl over the age of 4 slip from squatting on a toilet if that's what they do everyday.

Well, I'd never heard of anyone putting feet on that thin rim everyday.

Wow you actually remember when you were in diapers?

No, I only remember when I was peeing in my panties.

by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

reply to this thread

Advertisement

Online Reservations
Hotel
 
Car
 
Flight
 
Bus

(check-in)

Related Pages
Message Boards
  Question Forum
  Travel Reports

Classified Ads
  Friends
  Language Schools
  Language Tutors
  Language Exchange
  Accommodation
  Travel Guide
  Other Services
  Moving Sales
  Events

Travel
Living
Japan A-Z
Community
Sightseeing
Accommodation
Transportation
Shopping
Essentials
Regions
Prefectures
Cities
Working
Studying
Living Cost
Apartments
Arts and Crafts
Entertainment
History
Religion
Etiquette
Food
Language
Tradition
Question Forum
Classifieds
Trip Reports
Member Area
Sightseeing Guide
Hokkaido
Sapporo
Otaru
Hakodate
Noboribetsu
Niseko
Furano
Daisetsuzan
Shiretoko
more...
Tohoku
Sendai
Matsushima
Hiraizumi
Hachimantai
Hirosaki
Lake Towada
Dewa Sanzan
Aizu
more...
Kanto
Tokyo
Yokohama
Kamakura
Hakone
Nikko
Kawagoe
Kusatsu
Narita
more...
Chubu
Nagoya
Mount Fuji
Izu Peninsula
Matsumoto
Kiso Valley
Takayama
Shirakawa-go
Kanazawa
more...
Kansai
Kyoto
Osaka
Nara
Kobe
Himeji
Mount Koya
Kumano
Ise Shima
more...
Chugoku
Hiroshima
Miyajima
Okayama
Kurashiki
Tottori
Matsue
Iwakuni
Hagi
more...
Shikoku
Takamatsu
Kotohira
Naoshima
Matsuyama
Kochi
Tokushima
Naruto
Iya Valley
more...
Kyushu
Fukuoka
Nagasaki
Kumamoto
Mount Aso
Beppu
Kagoshima
Kirishima
Yakushima
more...
Okinawa
Honto
Kume
Miyako
Yaeyama
Copyright © 1996-2014 japan-guide.com All rights reserved
home - site map - privacy policy - terms of use - contact - employment - Lɂ‚ - advertising