Knowing how to behave and what to expect as a guest in a Japanese household will impress Japanese hosts. Right before entering a house, do not forget to take off your shoes. The host will provide slippers for you to wear around the house. When entering the toilet, you must swap slippers with a pair to be exclusively used in the bathroom. When entering a room with tatami floors (floors made of wood-like straws), slippers should be taken off because tatami floors are supposed to be stepped on with bare feet or feet with socks. During mealtime, do not simply help yourself to the food unless instructed to do so.
Typically, the hostess would serve portions of food to your plate. In situations where you have been instructed to help yourself from shared dishes, always pick up food with the opposite end (thicker end) of your chopsticks if serving chopsticks are not provided. If the host asks you whether or not you would like to take a bath, always say “yes” unless you do not plan to take a bath that day. The reason is because the host is planning to take a bath, but would not take a bath unless the guest goes first. Knowing the basic Japanese etiquette will go a long way in showing your respect to the host.