The status of women in Japan is complex and cannot be characterized in simple terms.

Slowly, there is a growing number of professional women and professional women’s associations.

Since your name may be difficult for Japanese to pronounce, you may be asked to provide a nickname, e.g., “Mak-san” for Mr. Japanese may use nicknames or first names among themselves but foreigners should refrain from doing so until they are asked!

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Japanese women, on the other hand, usually hold their own women-only functions, including overnight trips to hot springs.

It is quite common for two colleagues who have been working together for a lifetime not to have ever met the other’s family.

Unlike other countries where a “couple” is the usual social unit, in Japan it is typical for only the husband to be invited to business gatherings or to weddings for company employees.

Exceptions are frequently made for foreign visitors depending on the occasion, but female spouses should not take their exclusion as a personal slight.

Do not be surprised to hear the terms “girlfriend” or “boyfriend” used frequently in casual conversation, since they usually simply refer to female and male friends One of the pleasures of living and traveling in Japan is the absence of the custom of tipping in everyday life.

In staying at hotels, taking taxis, dining out, having groceries delivered, ordering “de-mae” (telephone orders for noodles, sushi, etc.

If invited to a meal, it is likely that it will be at a restaurant rather than at someone’s home.

It is polite to arrive on time, to take a small token of your appreciation (a potted plant, flowers, sweets), especially if you are going to a private home, and to say thank you afterwards by telephone, postcard, or letter.

More women continue to work after getting married and having children.

However many companies have separate programs for women, usually non-career track, and follow practices that would be considered discriminatory in other societies.

Western visitors, particularly women, are frequently appalled at some of the blatant sexist attitudes manifested in the popular media and entertainment industry.