On this trip, as for every trip, the group of travelers becomes a small community that
is interacting with the larger community of our host, Japan in this case. It is important
for all members of the travelers community to be respectful of each other and the host.
On this page we want to emphasize the role each traveler must play for this to work.
Of course we must be careful not to violate any laws of our host country.
- Common laws against violence and fraud apply, and we are not likely to abuse them
- Smoking: the legal age for smoking in Japan is 18; there are more and more no-smoking
areas instituted, so be aware; this includes vaping and chewing
- Drinking: the legal age for alcohol consumption is 20
- Drugs: the Japanese have a near-zero tolerance policy for drugs, including marijuana;
even prescription drugs can cause problems unless you have a letter from your doctor
These can be more subtle than laws; it's a good idea to watch what the locals do.
- Review our page on Japanese customs
- Do not litter; you will often not find a trash receptable handy; put trash
into your pocket or purse until you have an opportunity to dispose of it
(which might not be until you're back in your hotel room)
- Recycle: the Japanese are scrupulous about recycling; often you will see
separate baskets for plastic bottles and for the tops of plastic bottles
Treating each other and our hosts with respect helps create a comfortable feel during the trip.
- No unwanted touching - amongst the travelers or our hosts; be sensitive
- Humor can be tricky - do not make fun of any person or customs; sarcasm and irony may
be too subtle
and inadvertently create tension
- Being on time is of the essence, both for the community of travelers and for our hosts
- Personal hygene is important, do not neglect it
- People who use tobacco products should either room with like minded people or be
prepared to pay for a single supplement; we do not program in time for smoke breaks
Violating laws, customs, or respect can have consequences of varying severity.
- Law breaking: you do not want to get embroiled in the Japanese legal system. Period.
- Going against customs: you may find yourself the object of scorn, even dis-invited for
some activities; that said, most Japanese are forgiving of foreigners' mistakes - the first
- Disrespectful behavior: you might be shunned by your traveling companions; in extreme
situations, the trip leaders can send you back home, with no redress and no compensation