Question

Is it consider rude if I bow and Im caucasian when I am in Japan?

Is it considered to be rude or stupid? Should I just shake hands or is that rude? I am not sure how to properly introduce myself when I visit

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Country: Japan

Answers

Just like trying to speak a few words or say hello in Japanese, bowing is considered as a goodwill gesture, as long as you make the effort to face the person you are bowing to.Less is probably better than more though.Don't bow too low for someone you cannot assess the importance of.
I have lived here for 11 years and I still feel a bit silly bowing. Having said that, a lot of westerners don't even know how to shake hands properly. Whatever you do, I think most Japanese people will take it in the spirit in which it was intended. Don't worry.
Follow the person's lead. Most people will want to shake your hand, because they want you to be comfortable.

As a general rule, pay attention (that includes listening, watching, and perhaps talking less). I don't know where you're from, but some Americans get loud and talkative when they sense the other person is uncomfortable. I think people will appreciate you most if you smile, nod politely as they talk and listen well, and talk in a relaxed way without feeling the need to "keep it going."
Well said, Andy.
Listen, watch, and learn!
Maintain eye contact while you bow to strangers, drop your eye to their feet if it is one you know and trust. That is old samurai wisdom, still useful today! If you shake hands, do it gentle but firm, is if you are offering them help. You will get a lot of squeezers and limp-fish hands, but be consistantly warm and generous with your introductions, calm and attentive.
You will be fine.
Not really. Most Japanese would appreciate it if you take time to learn their culture and bowing is a n integral part of it. Just follow the lead of your host and bow lower than him/her so as not to appear arrogant. A good way to see how most Japanese bow is watch people who are sending off friends or business associates in train/bus stations or airports.
it won't be considered rude at all, they'll actually appreciate the effort.
No. Not at all. But the bow should be gradual. Here is the script for introducing for the first time.

"Minnasan, konnichiwa. Watakushiwa (your name) to omoushimasu. kore kara osewani natte orimasu. yoroshiku onegai itashimasu." While saying the yoroshiku onegai itashimasu, slowly bow at 45 degrees.

Then the next thing you will hear, people will clap their hands and they will say "kochira koso yoroshiku onegai shimasu."

It means.. Good day everyone. I am Mr. (your name). From now on, please take care of me. If its okay with your, please willing do my favor.

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