Rules are very important to the Japanese culture. Individuality is not encouraged. You need to be mindful about this when you travel there. Here is an example of how we broke the rules and caused such an uproar over little tiny pieces of paper.
On our tour was a trip to a paper making factory. We received a lesson on how to make paper. First, we wash this screen in a solution and pull it up to dry. Then we are supposed to select 3 little tiny pieces of paper to decorate it with before we dry it. The pieces of paper are less than an inch and there are some moons, cats, dogs, goldfish and more.
So, Mark picks up 6 pieces because he cannot make up his mind. You can see the tiny pieces on his wood tray on the left side. He envisions his little post card to be the envy of all other examples. I tell him he is only supposed to have three, the guide told him he was only to have 3 and then the paper police showed up and started yelling at him in Japanese. She told him he would have to pay another $2.50 for the extra paper he wasted. He said fine and she was still livid and walked off in a huff.
This upset so many people over what? The rules! Mark saw it as tiny pieces of paper and she saw it as not following the rules. Meanwhile their where 17 of us in that class, so should she have gotten so angry over $2.50. In her culture yes. He was a deviant! A tiny pieces of paper DEVIANT!
No one goes bare foot or even with plain socks! the Japanese love their slippers. First you have to take your shoes off when you enter the home. Immediately you have to put on slippers. If you go to the bathroom you take those slippers off and put on bathroom slippers. If you go into your bedroom you have different slippers. So in a span of 10 feet in our hosts home we had to change slippers three times.
Read an etiquette book about Japan before you go. They are serious about following the rules. Hundreds of years ago a samurai would cut off your head if you did not bow correctly. Americans love being rule breakers, but it will only cause you trouble in Japan.