One of the first Japanese words you will hear in reference to you is “Gaijin,” literally translated as “outside person.” For those who came from a heterogeneous society composed of immigrants from around the world, it may be troubling to be referred to as a “foreigner,” “alien,” or “gaijin.” The term “gaijin” is not generally used to downgrade foreigners, although some visitors, who live in rural areas where people are unaccustomed to foreigners, sometimes find it very annoying to have children point fingers at them and call them “gaijin.” Others wonder why Japanese do not identify foreigners as “Americans,” “British,” or “Australians,” rather than lumping all non-Japanese together as “gaijin.” Long-time foreign residents of Japan may also find it annoying to still be referred to as “gaijin,” but the continuing use of the term must be understood in terms of Japan’s historical development and relative homogeneity.Upon meeting each other for the first, second or umpteenth time, men and women usually bow, although the more cosmopolitan may shake hands.
When in doubt, always ask someone, preferably older than you, for suggestions. Most Japanese use the family name followed by san (Mr./Miss/Mrs.), sensei (literally, “teacher,” but used in addressing not only professors but also physicians, dentists, politicians), or the title of the person being addressed (e.g., Tanaka Kyoju / Professor Tanaka, Tanaka Bucho / Director Tanaka, Tanaka Gakucho / President Tanaka).If you are in doubt and there is no one immediately available to ask for advice, use san.Often, people will bow and shake hands simultaneously!Ask your advisor for advice about how to greet people who are older and younger than you, your peers, and other categories of people you will meet in Japan. This may have been a common story for heterosexual couples in America in the 1950s, but when LIFE dispatched John Dominis to capture love and marriage in post-war Japan, he found a landscape undergoing a significant transformation.
Boy and girl get married, buy a house and have (on average) 2.2 children.
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.
In his photographs—which never ran in LIFE—Dominis captured a moment when the new had caught on, but the old had not yet been forgotten.
The young couples he photographed in 1959 were living on the edge of modernity, but still holding onto many of the the traditions long followed by their culture.
When not dancing, teens gather at local clubs to eat and talk. In Finland, as many as 30 teens may attend a movie together.