本日はDiamond Timaesの過去記事から、Cultural Taboosについての記事をご紹介いたします。
Lv.1 Eating in the store
I like potato crisps (U.S.: potato chips). Every time I go to the supermarket, I look at the snack section and
check (確認する) if there are new flavors. I feel happy when I find a new flavor!
I want to open the packet in the shop and eat the crisps at that moment.
In Japan, it’s not common, and taboo (タブー), to open something you haven’t paid for in the store. But things are different in London. I was surprised to see people open their potato crisps in the queue (U.S.: line) (列) waiting to pay for their items.
I asked my friend Chris about it one day. He said, “It’s no problem because I’ll pay for it.” After that, I tried to open my crisps in the store, but I haven’t succeeded (成功する) yet. Usually, I’m too nervous (心配になる) and feel guilty(罪悪感を感じる).
In Japan gift-giving etiquette（エチケット）is very important. However, there are situations that are different in America. I want to share two differences between America and Japan.
In America, it’s important to give a gift to the bride and groom（花嫁と花婿）at their wedding. It’s common for couple to register（登録する）at stores for appliances（電化製品）or goods they need for their new life. Wedding guests can see the list of goods the couple wants and choose one of the items to give. If you’re a guest at an American wedding, don’t expect to get a gift present will receive a handwritten thank you card in the mail and that’s it!
In Japan, when you move to a new apartment or house it’s common courtesy（礼儀）to give your new neighbors a small gift. But in America, it’s the opposite. It’s a polite gesture（行為）to say “hello” to a new neighbor first. You can also give a dessert or a homecooked meal to welcome them to the building or area. If you don’t, you may seem unfriendly（愛想の悪い), especially in a neighborhood（近所）.
Age isn’t necessarily taboo in American culture, but it’s muche less important than it is in Japanese culture. Because it’s not so important, we reaely discuss it, and that can cause some discomfort when it gets asked about.
In American culture, peole are juged mostly on merit（功績）. Your position in a company, for exanple, in primarily determined by your ability, not by your age or how long you’ve been working there. It’s certainly possible for someone to have more skill, intelligence, or experience than older collaague, so that more talented person would get promoted to a higher position with more responsibility. In fact, in the United States it is illegal for a company to ask your age during a job interview. The law is designed to avoid prejudice（偏見）based on age, and it forces companies to hire the person with the best qualifications.
At my first job in Japan, I met a Japanese woman who I would be woriking with. One of the first questions she asked me after we met was, “How old are you?” I told her, and her eyes lit up（見開く）.”We’re the same age!” she shouted,and was obviously very happy. Today, I can understand why that was important to her. But at that time, I thought she was very strange. I thought, “Only young children care about that.”
This is also true in private life. I have lots of friends that I have no idea how old they are. If I asked them their age, of course they’d tell me. But I (like most people) don’t have much intrest in it. However, all my Japanese friends know how old I ama, and tend to remember it exactly.