Q. Why don’t the Japanese invite people over to their homes?


The average size of a Japanese house, as seen by people from other countries, is extremely small. American homes that appear in American movies, no matter how ordinary, all appear to be spacious compared to the cramped conditions of Japanese homes. This makes the Japanese a little hesitant to invite people over.

Of course, among close friends, it is common to invite each other over, and children’s friends are invited over for their children’s birthday parties.

However, when inviting foreign guests, and not only one or two but many foreign guests to a party, there are very few homes in Japan with a living room large enough to accommodate the guests. There are also very few homes in Japan with yards big enough to hold a garden party.

Even if space poses no problems, the Japanese tend to draw a line between those who are considered insiders and those who are considered outsiders. Unlike in other countries where co–workers are invited over to the home, co–workers are rarely invited over to Japanese homes.

And when an invitation is extended, the Japanese go overboard wondering what to serve the guests and worrying about every little detail. Finally in desperation, they throw up their hands and call it quits. Americans hold parties even though what they can offer is something very simple like cheese, crackers and a salad. Foremost in entertaining is one’s good intention, which the Japanese realize all too well, but yet––.