Japanese Values That We Should All Take Notes From | Clozette


It's no secret to the world that Japanese culture is exemplary when it comes to values. From respect to cleanliness to organisation, these are almost synonymous to them. Despite the almost-absolute spotlessness of their reputation, however, did you know that their secrets to becoming the admirable nation we know of are not exactly rocket science? Ahead, we break down some of the most common Japanese values and practices that the world should take note of — and can easily adapt if we try. 


Actively showing respect towards everyone


Japanese Values That We Should All Take Notes From - Respect


Bowing is not something that's limited to the Japanese culture, but it's definitely something the Japanese actively do more than other Asian countries. It's a part of their everyday interactions, whether it be seeing a neighbour they don't really talk to, greeting the convenience store lady who handed them change or even the driver who let them pass a sidestreet pedestrian first out of courtesy. 


It is a practice that is almost like an involuntary gesture to the Japanese people, showing how much the idea of respect is deeply embedded in their culture since youth. Even their deers in Nara bow before and after you give them food. How's that for proof? 


Camaraderie habits that are meant to raise harmony and morale


Getting along harmoniously in the community you belong to, whether it be in your personal life in school or in your office, is also something the Japanese strongly believes in. That's why they have certain practices involving entering a new environment or accomplishing tasks to promote this kind of connection towards one another. 


Japanese Values That We Should All Take Notes From - Camaraderie


The first one is the phrase "yoroshiku (informal) or "yoroshiku onegaishimasu (formal)"  which can be loosely translated to "please treat me well throughout our relationship" or "I hope we get along well". Often said when one enters a new setting, this is not to be mistaken for a mark of dependency. Rather, this phrase is actually meant to show humility and openness to being guided and taught. It also somehow sounds like a pledge to strive hard to regard everyone they will be working with in the future with respect. 


Meanwhile, the phrase "otsukaresama deshita," loosely translated to "thanks for the hard work," is something that is said every single day at the end of one's work shift to acknowledge the efforts of everyone. Addressed to your co-workers, not only does it serve as a pat on the back but also serves as motivation to do better the next day. 

Turning negative into positive for things that can't be helped


Japanese Values That We Should All Take Notes From - Optimism


"Shouganai," (or "shoumounai," in the Kansai region) is a common saying in Japan. The phrase means, "it can't be helped," which relates to things that we simply can't control. Its other variation, "shikataganai," or "there's no use," has the same philosophy. While both seems a bit defeatist at first, they actually serve as a reminder that there are things we just have to move on from. For such a hardworking society like Japan, it's actually a sign of optimism. Follow it whenever you're overthinking or overexerting yourselves towards things that are too much to handle at the moment. 


Acknowledging someone's arrival or departure


Also highly attributed to their regard for respect, Japanese people have various ways of acknowledging someone's arrival or departure. For homes, it's a habit to say "itte kimasu," meaning "I'll leave and come back," to be replied with "itterasshai," meaning "have a safe trip." When coming home, the person arriving says "tadaima," meaning "I'm home" to be answered with "okaeri," or "welcome home," by the person hearing it. It's nothing too complicated, but it still indicates consideration and assurance for the people you're leaving or saying goodbye to for the day. 


Japanese Values That We Should All Take Notes From - Acknowledgement


Since we're on the topic of goodbyes, it is worth noting that a major misconception people often have is that "sayonara" is a common way to bid someone farewell (as it is in English). In reality, the phrase has such a sombre finality to it that people would get worried if you use it when parting with someone temporarily. "Mata ne" or "mata ashita" meaning "see you" is much more common when parting with your friends or acquaintances.



But that's not all. Even in instances when you had to behave a little impolitely in a public or a formal situation has a corresponding Japanese phrase to acknowledge it. "Shitsureishimasu," or "please allow me to bother you" is something often said when you enter someone's office or private space (whether there's someone inside or not), when you have to leave someone after a conversation or a meeting or if you have to intrude someone's personal space in line with your work (salon staff, security personnel for body checks, etc.). Think of it as next-level "excuse me" or "pardon me" in our own languages. 


Generosity and ingenuity especially when sharing one's culture


Japanese Values That We Should All Take Notes From - Openness of culture


Last but not least on our list is Japan's openness and generosity to share their own unique culture to the world. In an era where we're always walking around eggshells to avoid call-out culture, Japan embraces cultural diversity and invites people to immerse themselves in the Japanese culture without judgement or hostility — as long as there's mutual respect present. In fact, traditional clothing and art-related experiences, as well as their openness to having foreigners try out prayer plaques (ema) and lucky charms (omamori) during shrine visits, are some of the country's biggest tourism drivers. This is because they believe that cultures should meet and interact rather than be isolated from one another. Other manifestations include the availability of sake-making and geisha lessons that tourists can try.


Aside from these values, here's a Japanese state of mind you can also incorporate into your daily lifestyle. 


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Fashion has never been more alive in South Korea, especially with the Spring/Summer 2020 Seoul Fashion Week happening in their capital right now. Given that, it’s best you keep your eyes peeled for the latest K-Style trends that will surely come about in the coming days. And while the pieces that hit their runways are all surely worth looking forward to, the styles that slay the streets are also something you shouldn’t miss. To inspire your everyday look, here are just some of the most striking Seoul Fashion Week street style photos you should check out.



Simply Chic



If anything, this sophisticated look just proves that you can never go wrong with a dress-and-outerwear combo. Though incredibly simple, this ensemble always makes for a chic outfit no matter the season. Invest in a maxi dress that has a striking print — plus points if it’s voluminous so it gives you extra feminine charm. Pair it with plain-coloured outerwear and high-heeled boots for a timelessly elegant look.


Eye-catching glam



Most of Seoul Fashion Week street style is minimalist. You'll find countless monochrome-outfit-wearing style mavens out on the streets during this week. But those who stand out from the crowd do so by adding a bit of glam to their look. Take notes from them and amp up your look with eye-catching accessories like a statement sunnies that falls within your colour scheme, a bedazzled bag, and jewellery that shines like no other.



Bright maximalist



Of course, there are still those who love to play with colours and prints. If that's your thing, dive into it with neon colours that are sure to pop. Mix it with pieces of various prints and textures, but make sure they all still fall within your colour scheme to match. Unlike when wearing a minimalist ensemble, you can balance your maximalist outfit with more muted accessories.




Fun with textures



Not into bright looks? Opt to dress from head to toe in one light tone instead. When you wear muted colours, your look doesn’t necessarily have to be plain and boring. What you can do is to layer similarly coloured pieces with different prints and textures. And, to add contrast, choose a bag that’s from the opposite end of the spectrum.



Mixing genres



Who says your pieces all have to give off the same vibe? Have fun by mixing and matching clothes that you wouldn’t think of pairing with one another at first glance. Pair a sleek, smart blazer with a pair of hip baggy cargoes that scream ‘90s athleisure. Playing around will help you achieve a style that’s wholly different from what you had before.



Logomania



Another thing that's noticeable about this year's Seoul Fashion Week street style is this retro trend making a comeback. Though once considered a fashion faux pas you’d want to avoid, the logomania trend gradually bounced back to its high-fashion status in recent years. So go on, and wear your brands with pride. Wear an outerwear dotted with their logo over simple and monochrome pieces to make your ensemble pop.



Preppy chic



Want to wear preppy clothes without looking too much of a cute schoolgirl? Try on a puffy-sleeved collared blouse in one size bigger for a quirky vintage vibe. You can pair it with a matching ruffled skirt, but keep it all from becoming too childish with a sleek pair of high-heeled boots.


(Cover photo from: @huynhtienofficial)



Next, here are some Japanese fashion trends to try out before the year ends.

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Every lady should have a power suit in her arsenal. It gives you that added ounce of confidence whether you’re meeting a client, taking charge of the boardroom, or closing a deal. With the right tailoring, a stylish suit will make you look well-put-together and stylish. You could also wear it in more casual settings, just like these ladies from the Clozette Community.

(Cover photo from: @StilettoesDiva)


Get into the Halloween spirit here.