Friday, March 25, 2011


Day 1
(1)Yuki, 1999.Greetings [online] Available: 14 March 2011

Day 2
(2) PeachieAngelPrincess, 2010. My sweet Lolita life [online video] Available: 15 March 2011.

Day 3
(4) Microhitomi, 2009. Pank! Ponk! [Online video] Available: 16 March 2011.
(3) La carmina, 2011, untitled. [Online] Available: 16 March 2011. 

Day 4
(5) Kwintessential ltd, 2010. Japan-Language, Culture, Customs and Etiquette. [Online] Available: 17 March 2010.

Day 5
Quotes from Quentin Bell 1976:19 and Young 1995:7 in academic reader:
(6) Entwistle, J. 200. Chapter 1:addressing the body. In. The Fashioned body. Cambridge: polity press.18 pages.

Day 6:
(7) The Pillows, 2006. The pillows-ride on a shooting star. [Online video] Available: 19 March 2011.

Day 7
Quote from academic reader:
(8) Entwistle, J. 200. Chapter 1:addressing the body. In. The Fashioned body. Cambridge: polity press.18 pages.

Day 8
(9) Mark Lim Shan-Loong, 2000. Tradition& Change- Examining Gender roles in Japan. [Online] Available: .21 March 2011
 A must see:
(10)Tokyo Fashion Express, 2010. Mori Girl style. [Online Video] Available: 21 March 2011.03.24

Day 9
(11) Nessa Neko, 2008. Lolita and Japanese Society. [Online] Available:  22 March 2011.
Wright 1992 in academic reader:
(12) Entwistle, J. 200. Chapter 1:addressing the body. In. The Fashioned body. Cambridge: polity press.18 pages.
(13) Cassandra, 2008. Wa Lolita. [Online] Available: 22 march 2011.

Day 10:
Bordieu 1984 in academic reader:
(14) Howson, A.2004. Chapter2: The body, gender, sex. In: The body in society. Cambridge: Blackwell press.
Shilling 1993: in academic reader:
(15)Howson,A.2004. Chapter2: The body, gender, sex. In: The body in society. Cambridge: Blackwell press.

The majority of images used on my blog  were found from website Japanese streets the photographers are unknown and the photo’s untitled.
JapaneseStreets,2011. Japanese Streets. [Online] Available: 14 march 2011-24 march 2011.0

In Conclusion

Yesterday I felt rather plain in my normal attire.  This experience has been difficult and interesting.
I have felt vulnerable, uncomfortable, objectified, sexualized, comfortable, creative, ostracized and many, many other things. I think it has given me a broader perspective of how people react to that which they do not understand.  I'm a little sad to leave this behind and I think I may just keep some of the cookyness. I think this whole process and exploration has brought me closure to attaining my ideal body. A brave body.

Arragato, Sayounara!


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day Ten

So today was my last day. And boy oh boy was it a long one. Up at five to get to class on time and running late because it takes me so long to get dressed. On top of this no one takes you very seriously on a highway when you look like an oversized minnie mouse. But I was polite in traffic I didn't swear and I even tipped my head to some strangers. GO GO GADGET harmonious Bella. 

I decided I would go out with a bang today: Gothic Lolita.

I think I have become immune to stares, also i'm rather enjoying wearing high heels all the time so I feel tall and don't have to look up at people when I talk to them. It makes me feel a little less awkward about bowing. WHICH people have generally reacted to with more discomfort than I do. In a western society where in older times is marks servitude or an acknowledgment of superiority. This act of bowing is one of the most difficult things to get my head around as it is such a foreign motion to my muscle memory. Japanese people do it without thinking like we would look someone in the eye while talking to them or shaking hands firmly upon meeting. Also its difficult not being able to speak my mind. Especially today because it was such a long one and i generally get more and more sarcastic the tireder I am.  

As i was saying about being immune to stares. I went to the cape quarter again today to get some lunch with a friend, whose hand I had to hold in order not to fall in my mountainously high wedge boots on cobbled paths. As she was in such close proximity to me I actually though she got the brunt of the confused,blatant,curious,shocked,disgusted stares which initially irked me so. 

Stares of :"How can you hold it's hand?"...."Whats wrong with them?"..."(deep sigh) "kids these days".... "HUH?"

I think I could actually adapt to being an exhibitionist. More so than I ever thought I could. These last ten days I have thrown my OCD out the window along with my cynicism, sarcasm and shyness. I have found in a warped sense a new found confidence and a liberating feeling of rebellion. I say rebellion because in a sense thats exactly what I have been doing. Rebelling against my western conditioning, rebelling against how society expects a young caucasian female to dress and rebelling and challenging my surrounding and its inhabitants and rebelling against my own sense of self.  I have been judged and I have judged myself. The two judgements I am sure are on separate spheres of the universe with my personal judgement being one of accomplishment and deeply personal growth and the other judgement being that i'm an angsty teen or pretentious creative looking for attention. 

HAH! Well you're reading this so I got your attention.

Lolita fashion as I discussed in my previous post appears to be a rejection of societal roles or expectations favour of a whimsical escapist life, but also it is a rejection of the homogeneity of most Japanese Culture and society ( focus on the collective above the individual) Until mid 1960's there was a shared beauty ideal by women and even today the cutesy Kawaaii aesthetic is prevalent in mainstream fashion. Lolita in contrast offers up individualism, all be it regulated individualism. Lolita fashion has stringent rules as to what classifies a Lolita outfit and how to combine them. In this way it continues homogeneity of appearance coupled with an escape from the mainstream.

I have been immersed in ignorance,  my own and the ignorance of others. You would think with the absolute tragedy that is Japan currently people would go out there and research it a bit? Or take some sort of interest. No, I have weighed and measured the western society through my new set of eyes and I have found it to be wanting. Has being harmonious and putting others above myself given me a new perspective?

I hope so. WE are a society consumed by ourselves, obsessed with our bodies and constantly trying to change them be it with diet,exercise, surgery,what we buy. Can we take the time out of our consumerism to pause, take a breath and think about someone or something other than ourselves? I certainly hope so.

In our pursuit of the ideal body why do we ostracize the subversive? In a general sense.
These past tent days I have projected myself as subversive particularly today by western standards.  Yet have i found my own ideal beauty within my subversity.  I think so. I find not the clothes or the shoes or the attention beautiful, but rather the bravery. My ideal body is a brave body, a body ungoverned by physical size or measurements but rather a body of courage one which radiates its essence to the world regardless of repercussions or ramifications. You may call it subversive but to me it is the physical embodiment of what we all seek: Confidence within the self

The theorist Bourdieu said "the body is a bearer of status, of power and of distinctive symbolic forms that are critical to the acquisition of power "(1984) (14)

Confidence within the self regardless of your appearance is power. It allows you o define the world and not let the world define you. It allows for a comfortable balance between the body within the spheres of the public and the sphere of the private.

"Identity is embodied in the external performances people give and over which they feel they can exert varying degrees of control" (Shilling, 1993) (15)

My identity for the last ten days has been constructed, thought out and a performance. I have been in complete control . Has projecting such extreme versions of parts of myself lead to an ever stronger sense of self, or one altered? Only time will tell. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Day Nine

So this is my second last day and I decided for these last two days to go out with a bang. 
Today I went as a sub-set of the Lolita sub-culture phenomenon. A subset derived from and inspired by traditional dress and the Kimono or Kosode as it was originally called. This is a style that I thought could mark my personal journey through my obsession and the culture and visual representation of the youth. 

As I found the Lolita fashion to be the most uniquely Japanese and most interesting to me it was only fitting I delved into it again as my project draws to a close.Lolita began in Harajuku, Tokyo in the 1980s when Omotesando and Takeshita-dori, streets in the Harajuku district, were closed to traffic on Sundays. This closure allowed youths to gather in Yoyogi Park and the surrounding streets to listen to rock music performances, shop and socialize. Youths and street performers started appearing in wild, unconventional outfits which gradually developed into recognizable styles such as lolita, gyaru or kogal, decora and ganguro.(11)

Wa Lolita involves long 'sode' or, sleeves, and 'obi' or sashes that are taken from Kimono/yukata outfits, and fused with the bell-shaped skirt of Lolita. Wa Lolita fabrics are often very extravagant like most Kimono fabrics, involving detailed flower prints, and cranes. (13)

I had a new found confidence today. I don't know if it is due to my getting used to the stares and puzzled looks or whether its because other people are really getting into my intervention and seeking me out to see what i'm wearing or to hear about my choice and why i'm actually doing this intervention. I have surprised myself. And that is always a good thing. 

Although this subculture (lolita) is often easily confused with a sexual fetish due to it's sharing the name of the novel by Vladimir Nabokov. Which is considered a classic and is based on the relationship of a grown man and a twelve year old girl.

Ironically the whole fashion is based upon elegance,modesty and youthfulness. The adopters of this fashion or sub-culture do so not to fulfill mens fetishes or fantasies but rather to their own desire to be young,cute and non-sexual. With some adopters of the style saying they were attracted to the style because of the modesty as so many of the other fashions adopted a "sexy beauty" aesthetic. Lolita is seen as a reversion to demure clothing which allows women to dress for themselves above dressing for male attention.

"A sociological perspective on dress requires moving away from the consideration of dress as an object to looking instead at the way in which dress is an embodied activity and one that is embedded within social relations." (Wright,1992)(12)

The Lolita subculture and its subsets is a rebellion and form of escapism from the societal roles women are expected to fulfill, the youth may have wider roles than their mothers but as i covered in my previous post they are still expected to be employed only until marriage and fill lesser positions in business compared to men. As well as the expected role of care-giver and mother. Thus Lolita is rejecting the expectations of society for their careers to take the backseat and homemaking the front seat by embracing the fantasy of fulfilling their own embodiment of beauty, elegance and escaping the mundane often pre-decided lives.

For me this is particularly interesting in terms of Wa-loli as it draws such strong reference from the traditional dress which carries the connotation of traditional values and ideals yet still forms part of the rebellion against exactly that. Does this make it in all actuality the most rebellious of all the Loli styles?  I think so.

heres a video of all the different lolita styles.

 And heres little old me:

sayounara, arragato!

Monday, March 21, 2011

A must see.

I found this video about the mori girl/dolly kei movement. i know its long but please watch it. seriously.



Day Eight

I haven't left my house today and pretty much stayed in my pajama's. So I thought it is the perfect opportunity to delve into  a motif I have encountered throughout this experiment which has got me itching to delve into further: the gender roles in Japan. 
Throughout my visual research and constant trawling of Japanese lifestyle sites and blogs such as I have been affronted with the androgynous nature of the clothes. The line between masculine and feminine is incredibly blurred by western standards. This also could be attributed to general body type the masses of women have that is slim, straight up and down and generally flatter chested.  Obviously this is a huge generalization. Though this is such a huge contrast to their actual gender roles which traditionally could not be further apart.

“I don’t interfere with my husband’s business, not with my mouth, hands or legs "

-Kumiko Hashimoto the wife of former Japanese Prime Minister Ryutario Hashimoto

This hi-lights the major inequality and gender bias still existent in modern Japan. Women and men exist in two realms, the man in the role of the breadwinner and the woman in the role of care-taker. This  Stereotypical bias still permeating throughout the world although considerably more left behind in western society. Men in the workforce dominate in corporate hierarchy. Thus men have increased career opportunities, whereas women are marginalized and considered as temporary labour that is expected to resign once married or having children. ( Shan-Loong,2000)(9)

However this is being com batted by a large number of women choosing not to marry and thus give up their independence. But rather pursue their careers. ( Shan-Loong, 2000) 
This shift can also be seen by the youth in their fashion. As the youth or the masses of Japan do not dress in traditional dress (the kimono) but have rather adopted western clothing styles with a uniquely Japanese flair. Sometimes you have to look twice to distinguish a definite gender.

This contrast between the social realm and the realm of fashion in terms of gender and gender roles is interesting. 

For example:

Did you find yourself double checking,zooming in? Is this our western perception distorting our vision or is their distinction between male and female dress actually blurred?

I'll leave that for you to answer yourself.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Day Seven

So it's day seven. I cant believe I have been on this journey for a week already. Well actually i can because it has pretty much owned every aspect of my life. BOY OH BOY. I really underestimated the psychological strain paying so much attention to my outward appearance and behavior would have on me. I am positively pooped. Kaput. Tired. Vulnerable. Frazzled. My poor little Bella feelings and psyche. 

"The ubiquitous nature of dress would seem to point to the fact that dress or adornment is one of the means by which bodies are made social and given meaning and identity"
For the last week my identity has in a way been stripped or modified to such an extent that i sometimes do not recognize the person in the mirror. Do my clothes define me to such an extent? Or is it rather the comfort they provide? The familiarity and expression of my true self that gives me the confidence by which to navigate the world. I have never been one to care what people think or do or say to me about my appearance or persona. I live by the saying fuck the people, we are the people. We all judge and are judged in return but I find that when my true self is judged or devaluated by others I care less.
I know who I am. I know where I stand. I may not know exactly where I'm going but I'm not planning on compromising myself along the way. This is easy for me to do when I am me, myself in its entirety. However for me to do this when i feel what i am projecting to the world is not me it is not as easy to be so steely nerved. I suppose thats what being uncomfortable is all about. 

 Squirming, doubting, feeling.

"The uncertainty that characterizes the late modern age is accompanied by a tendency for people to become ever more concerned with appearance and to view the body as a vehicle of self expression" (Lasch 1979)

My vehicle has stalled been abandoned been challenged and possibly may never be exactly the same again. I think I am a woman changed. Or changing may be better tense. I have challenged myself and put out something for the universe to see that is so removed from the way in which I perceived myself prior to this experiment. people have gone out of their way and said "You're brave, i could never do that let alone follow through with it"
For me this is what I admire most about the Japanese exhibitionist youth. Their ability to just go out there and project themselves in all their glory to the world with a quiet confidence an unrequited bravery. And scream 
this is who I am, this is my everything ,this is what I like and I don't care what you think.

I hope this is an attitude I can adopt in all aspects of my life. The best part about it is, they put out their very essence without disrupting anyone else's.

Today I went for lunch with my family and close family friends I have not seen in possibly three years. The changes and their past perception of me was bound to be drastic in comparison to the now. They strangely enough recognized my japaneseyness immediately. This saved my vast explaining or bullshitting. Yay me.

Today i embraced the fashion/lifestyle movement called Mori Girl (mori meaning forrest) The fashion is so aptly named of one being influenced by nature and natural movements. It is one very closely related to Dolly Kei their main obvious difference being the colour palate. Mori Girls are seen in whites and neutral tones and dolly kei combines these tones with rich colours like ruby reds and dark purples or emerald greens also the textures of the fabrics are more akin to suede and heavier materials whereas the Mori girl style is all about the fluidity of motion thus using linens, cottons,light knits etc.

To wear so many layers or such muted colours isn't exactly me. I'm more of a boyish inspired edgier dresser. Sometimes I may go girly but the occasions are few and far between. I am however intrigues by this style because of my love of fairy tales. It looks like it is from a fairy tale. 

This was me:

I actually felt really feminine and perfect strangers came up to me at the restaurant to tell me I looked like an anime character.  I think this is the most extreme contrast to my punk look. I'm rather enjoying the contrast. I think in a way it represents different characteristics of my personality and then dramatizes them. The femininity without sexualization was refreshing. I felt pretty. I felt like a girl and I felt like I was expressing something more than just another outfit but maybe the more gentle hidden part of myself.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Day Six

This is for today but i'm going to talk about last night and maybe a little of my feelings today.

After my friday day of feeling so sexualized and the dirty looks, pervy looks and snide,snarky comments I felt like I should go out and look like I could kick someones ass. Yep, you guessed it: Time for some japanese punk movement.

This decision could also be linked to my beautiful new shoes I wanted to showcase. They are the embodiment of BADASS and they make me taller (bonus).

So I was inspired by these girls:

Maybe this was a bit more into my comfort zone, but heck I needed a break from the pink. ( i hate pink: so so much.)

I was home alone so i couldn't get a photo of the whole look but heres some snippets:

great shoes no?

OKAY so my friend karl picked me up in his snazzy new car and he had a little giggle and poke at my hair.  But I think he got the general gist of what I was wearing. We then set off for cape town and the sushi craving set in so we went to the blue marlin in observatory for some primo soosh. I think anyone else would have gotten bored of me rattling off facts about japan and sushi etiquette but karl's a trooper and we have shared love of Japan. So i walked in and a rather large amount of heads turned all the servers were super duper polite to me and the sushi was amazing. People kept stealing furtive glances in my direction which for once I found amusing. I mean my hair was ridiculous and my outfit fitting to my a fore mentioned bad-ass-ity. I was feeling good. For the first time since I started this thing. YUSS.  ^_______________^

We then proceeded to an exhibition of some friends work in the industrial centre in woodstock which was cool and seeming as it was a relatively creative (open-minded) crowd they weren't too shocked by me. They probably just thought: "fucking hipster" .Whatevers!

After this we went to a show/gig at mercury live a fitting activity for my punkish personality.
The show was cool and the crowd not as "open-minded" as at the exhibition, girls in pretty floral dresses openly stared and i'm sure bitched behind their little palms covering their mouths in "sneaky" whispers.

This I am however used to even when not in character hence the majority of my friends being male. Other girls fake-accidentily pushed me to see how I would react. You'll be proud to know dear readers that I smiled politely and bowed. Which confused the bejesus out of them HAH!

I don't know why i felt so much better that evening it could be the liquid courage, the belly full of sushi, the good music and my new shoes. Or it could be because people didn't coo and try hug me. But rather didn't look me in the eyes or commented on how thin I looked. But all i know is it was a much needed break from the dump that was my week. 

heres a video from the pop-punk japanese band the pillows. (7)

Day Five

Okay so yesterday after college i went home to blog and low and behold my internet was being a giant, steaming pile of poo and prohibited me from doing one. Joy. So this is for yesterday and i'll post one later for today.

Friday 18 March 2011

Today  I went as the subculture called Kogal or Kogyaru (meaning small/child girl) This is the most obvious and well recognized Japanese sub-culture in western society, the infamous : Japanese school girl.
The one I have been dreading the most. But... SHAZAM, people that were completely oblivious to my project and chosen topic of exploration actually asked me " Hey are you meant to be japanese?"  along with further exclamations if "CUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUTEEEEE" by perfect strangers (morons, if I get called cute one more time)  but I definitely preferred the exclamation and coo's of cuteness to the snide and snark remarks of "Oh hey, Bella are you going sell me your panties on the subway" (charming no?)  

Kogals have been described as a subculture that oya o nakaseru (made their parents weep) It was most prominent in the 1990's and died down due to the salacious media exposure worldwide linking them to prostitution. Young wrote "bodies which do not conform,bodies which flout the conventions of their culture and go without the appropriate clothes are subversive of the most basic social codes and risk exclusion,scorn or ridicule."( 1995:7)(6)

The fact that the kogal subculture dissipated or evolved away from itself illustrates this point, Were they just too subversive or too "commercial"? I wonder.

All I know is that today my skin was crawling and I felt uncomfortable and to be honest a little dirty and my outfit wasn't even that extreme in terms of sex appeal. Is this my social conditioning coming to the forefront? That i have been so exposed to the stereotype of the fetishized school girl that I repulsed myself or felt sexualized?

Well, it made me ask myself critically WHY should wearing a cute previously innocent school uniform inspired outfit be viewed as an act of devaluating myself and putting myself out there as an object to be observed, judged and fawned over? 
The answer: because thats what the media and society have conditioned us to believe.

yuck. I am grossed out my own conditioning, here i was thinking i was open-minded but maybe it was actually just a matter of other people reactions that made me so self-conscious and uncomfortable. 

Quentin bell wrote that "our clothes are too much a part of us for most of us to be entirely indifferent to their condition: it is as though the fabric were intended a natural extension of the body, or even of the soul." (1976:19)(6)

 Maybe because what i wore and the semiotic value it held is so foreign to how I like myself to be perceived and how i view myself and thus dress myself that got my skin a' crawling. But I don't know. Yesterday was fuzzy and yucky. Especially when i had to go to Woodstock to run an errand and was affronted with a hoard of male specimens. The worst part, I couldn't even counter their verbal attack with a witty rebuttal because of my ten rules. Being nice is hard. 

This was taken at the end of my day and I think my facial expression sums it up perfectly.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Day Four

Today I decided to move away from the realm of the physical and into the more subtle side of my intervention, Japanese etiquette and interpersonal interactions. My research into this has been most edifying and my own ignorance became more and more apparent. So the aim of this post and my day spent at home is to embrace and immerse myself within these social constructs. 

Here is the most comprehensive overview I found at:

Japanese Society & Culture

The Japanese and 'Face'
Map of Japan
. Saving face is crucial in Japanese society.
. The Japanese believe that turning down someone's request causes embarrassment and loss of face to the other person.
. If the request cannot be agreed to, they will say, 'it's inconvenient' or 'it's under consideration'.
. Face is a mark of personal dignity and means having high status with one's peers.
. The Japanese will try never to do anything to cause loss of face.
. Therefore, they do not openly criticize, insult, or put anyone on-the-spot.
. Face can be lost, taken away, or earned through praise and thanks.

Harmony in Japanese Society
. Harmony is the key value in Japanese society.
. Harmony is the guiding philosophy for the Japanese in family and business settings and in society as a whole.
. Japanese children are taught to act harmoniously and cooperatively with others from the time they go to pre-school.
. The Japanese educational system emphasizes the interdependence of all people, and Japanese children are not raised to be independent but rather to work together.
. This need for harmonious relationships between people is reflected in much Japanese behaviour.
. They place great emphasis on politeness, personal responsibility and working together for the universal, rather than the individual, good.
. They present facts that might be disagreeable in a gentle and indirect fashion.
.  They see working in harmony as the crucial ingredient for working productively.

Japanese Non-Verbal Communication
. Since the Japanese strive for harmony and are group dependent, they rely on facial expression, tone of voice and posture to tell them what someone feels.
. They often trust non-verbal messages more than the spoken word as words can have several meanings.
. The context in which something is said affects the meaning of the words. Therefore, it is imperative to understand the situation to fully appreciate the response.
. Frowning while someone is speaking is interpreted as a sign of disagreement.
. Most Japanese maintain an impassive expression when speaking.
. Expressions to watch out for include inhaling through clenched teeth, tilting the head, scratching the back of the head, and scratching the eyebrow.
. Non-verbal communication is so vital that there is a book for 'gaijins' (foreigners) on how to interpret the signs!
. It is considered disrespectful to stare into another person's eyes, particularly those of a person who is senior to you because of age or status.
. In crowded situations the Japanese avoid eye contact to give themselves privacy.

Japanese Hierarchy
. The Japanese are very conscious of age and status.
. Everyone has a distinct place in the hierarchy, be it the family unit, the extended family, a social or a business situation.
. At school children learn to address other students as senior to them ('senpai') or junior to them ('kohai').
. The oldest person in a group is always revered and honoured. In a social situation, they will be served first and their drinks will be poured for them.

Etiquette & Customs in Japan

Meeting Etiquette
. Greetings in Japan are very formal and ritualized.
. It is important to show the correct amount of respect and deference to someone based upon their status relative to your own.
. If at all possible, wait to be introduced.
. It can be seen as impolite to introduce yourself, even in a large gathering.
. While foreigners are expected to shake hands, the traditional form of greeting is the bow. How far you bow depends upon your relationship to the other person as well as the situation. The deeper you bow, the more respect you show.
. A foreign visitor ('gaijin') may bow the head slightly, since no one expects foreigners to generally understand the subtle nuances of bowing.

Gift Giving Etiquette
. Gift-giving is highly ritualistic and meaningful.
. The ceremony of presenting the gift and the way it is wrapped is as important--sometimes more important--than the gift itself.
. Gifts are given for many occasions.
. The gift need not be expensive, but take great care to ask someone who understands the culture to help you decide what type of gift to give.
. Good quality chocolates or small cakes are good ideas.
. Do not give lilies, camellias or lotus blossoms as they are associated with funerals.
. Do not give white flowers of any kind as they are associated with funerals.
. Do not give potted plants as they encourage sickness, although a bonsai tree is always acceptable.
. Give items in odd numbers, but not 9.
. If you buy the gift in Japan, have it wrapped.
. Pastel colours are the best choices for wrapping paper.
. Gifts are not opened when received.

 Dining Etiquette
On the rare occasion you are invited to a Japanese house:
. Remove your shoes before entering and put on the slippers left at the doorway.
. Leave your shoes pointing away from the doorway you are about to walk through.
. Arrive on time or no more than 5 minutes late if invited for dinner.
. If invited to a large social gathering, arriving a little bit later than the invitation is acceptable, although punctuality is always appreciated.
. Unless you have been told the event is casual, dress as if you were going into the office.
. If you must go to the toilet, put on the toilet slippers and remove them when you are finished.

Watch your Table Manners!
. Wait to be told where to sit. There is a protocol to be followed.
. The honoured guest or the eldest person will be seated in the centre of the table the furthest from the door.
. The honoured guest or the eldest is the first person to begin eating.
. Never point your chopsticks.
. It will yield tremendous dividends if you learn to use chopsticks.
. Do not pierce your food with chopsticks.
. Chopsticks should be returned to the chopstick rest after every few bites and when you drink or stop to speak.
. Do not cross your chopsticks when putting them on the chopstick rest.
. Place bones on the side of your plate.
. Try a little bit of everything. It is acceptable to ask what something is and even to make a face if you do not like the taste.
. Don't be surprised if your Japanese colleagues slurp their noodles and soup.
. Mixing other food with rice is usually not done. You eat a bit of one and then a bit of the other, but they should never be mixed together as you do in many Western countries.
. If you do not want anything more to drink, do not finish what is in your glass. An empty glass is an invitation for someone to serve you more.
. When you have finished eating, place your chopsticks on the chopstick rest or on the table. Do not place your chopsticks across the top of your bowl.
. If you leave a small amount of rice in your bowl, you will be given more. To signify that you do not want more rice, finish every grain in your bowl.
. It is acceptable to leave a small amount of food on your plate when you have finished eating.
. Conversation at the table is generally subdued. The Japanese like to savour their food.

Talk about the opposite of western society.
To this I may add some other information i found about sitting techniques and Japanese names which I found at another helpful site.

Name order:
In Japan, like in China and Korea, the first name follows the family name. A person with the first name "Ichiro" and the family name "Suzuki" is, therefore, called "Suzuki Ichiro" rather than "Ichiro Suzuki".

The Japanese commonly address each other by last name. Only close friends and children are usually addressed by first name. In addition, people rarely address each other just by name, but usually attach an appropriate title to the name. There is a large number of such titles depending on the gender and social position of the person you are addressing. Some of the most frequently used titles are:

  • san: (for example Sato-san)
    This is the most neutral and famous title, and can be used in most situations. Only in formal situations, san may not be polite enough.
  • sama: (for example Sato-sama)
    This is a more polite form of san, commonly used in formal situations and letters, but too polite in a casual context.
  • kun: (for example Yusuke-kun)
    This is an informal title used for boys and men that are younger than yourself.
  • chan: (for example Megumi-chan)
    This is an informal title used for young children and very close friends or family members.
  • sensei: (for example Sato-sensei)
    This is a title used for teachers, doctors and other people with a higher education and from whom you receive a service or instructions.
Sitting techniques
Most Westerners are not used to sitting on the floor, however, in Japan sitting upright on the floor is common in many situations. For example, meals are traditionally held on a tatami floor around a low table. Sitting on the floor is also customary during the tea ceremony and other traditional events.
The formal way of sitting for both genders is kneeling (seiza) as shown on the picture below. People who are not used to sit in seiza style may become uncomfortable after a few minutes. Foreigners are not usually expected to be able to sit in seiza style for a long time, and an increasing number of Japanese people themselves are not able to do so either.
In casual situations, men usually sit cross-legged, while women with both legs to one side. The former sitting style is considered exclusively male, while the latter is considered exclusively female.

women only


men only

so heres what i'm going to attempt.

those of you who know me or have met me know this is no small undertaking.