When I walked in the US, I found something interesting. People gave me a little smile when I passed.
At first, I was surprised about it because I have never seen this situation in Japan. Most of Japanese people do not smile to unfamiliar people. If a person smiles to someone he doesn’t know, it feels weird.
I realized that this situation is interesting and it made me think why Japanese don’t do the same thing.
I have three conclusions for this.
First, there are a lot of foreigners in the US compared to Japan. American people have a culture of accepting different nations. That’s why it’s easy for them to give smile to everyone.
On the other hand, Japanese are not used to meeting people with different nationalities. Japanese has a culture of accepting same kind. So, Japanese do not smile to someone they don’t know. They do not get used to foreigners because Japan is still a homogeneous country.
Next, the way they teach them in school is different. They cannot easily approach someone. It has to be formal every time. And Sometimes, It is very difficult for them to say their opinion. This is the reason Japanese aren’t comfortable approaching people they don’t really know.
Lastly, media has a huge impact in Japanese society. Especially, in fashion style. Most of the Japanese follow the latest media trends. They can adopt the things that they see on TV. However, other people might think that this idea is weird. There’s no place wherein male will use a shoulder bag like women’s except in Japan.
To sum it up, Japanese customs and traditions are influenced by media and education. We believe that when we smile, it’s like accepting that someone already. That is why we do not easily give our smile to someone we do not know. I do not say Japanese aren’t kind. We believe that everything has a right timing for Japanese.