No matter how careful we might be, cultural misunderstandings are going to happen, like a Japanese homestay student I knew of who assumed it was acceptable to wash her body outside the bathtub before getting in to bathe in the U.S. just like they do in Japan, or one Japanese I knew who assumed that since my eyes were blue, I perceived the world through a blue tint every moment of my life. Once my wife saw a Japanese newlywed couple on their honeymoon at Niagara Falls. The man had been asked to sign his credit card slip, but not being very worldly he pulled out his kanji name stamp and asked for some red stamp ink so he could stamp the bill, not exactly something we do in the U.S. Of course, gaijin in Japan make our share of cultural screw-ups, too, like a friend of mine who slept a year in his toko-no-ma (a kind of recessed space in traditional Japanese rooms for displaying art or ikebana flowers) because he thought that’s what it was for. I once surprised my wife with flowers, and she started laughing. It turns out I’d bought chrysanthemums, which are are reserved for putting on graves of deceased family members. Oops!
The right half of the far wall is the Toko-no-ma. Please don’t try to sleep there.