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Japanese Cross Cultural Training

by Tina Dudley on August 22, 2013

in Japan, What's New

I found cross cultural training to be very interesting. The purpose of the classes was to give us in sight into the Japanese culture on how to conduct business and how basically not to offend the country of Japan.

There are so many rules and so many customs. I know at some point I will make a faux pau. All I can hope is not to start an international incident.  Here are some of the most interesting facts I learned

  • Blowing your nose in public is rude. It is fine to suck your snot up and annoy everyone with in your vicinity, and it is okay to pick your nose instead.
  • As a house wife or the hostess or the mistress of the house when a guest comes over, I need to turn their shoes around to point to the door so they could just slip there feet into their shoes and walk out of the house. I have tried to do this but most people have turned their own shoes before I could. I wonder f they think I don’t know about this rule.
  • If I am invited to a wedding I need to get a special envelope and give them $ 500.00 or more as a gift ouch. Also a plus one is also expected to give the same gift. I am not sure I can afford to go to any weddings.
  • I am expected to give a welcome gift to my neighbors and I need to go introduce myself and ask them to have pity on me and find good favor in their eyes. Well we all know I will need the pity part. I tried this two neighbors were accepting. One tried to give us the cookies back and another gave us a six pack of beer and the third  wouldn’t open their door to us.
  • The Japanese give gifts to each other for each season. They give summer gifts, spring gifts and winter gifts. Not sure about autumn. They have many departments in stores all set up with lovely gift boxes to buy.
  • Friendship is not easy to obtain. You must first be acquaintances for a long time before you can call yourself a friend.
  • Sitting in silence shows that you are willing to spent time and reflect and just be at one with another person shows you could be a good friend material. This could be a challenge to me. I have tried the sit and be silent. Epic fail so far. I just keep talking. They keep giving me food and drink.
  • Relationships are the key to getting into social groups. So Far I have found this to be true and I have been accepted into a few groups.
  • Japanese won’t introduce you to people easily, because if you introduce people to one another, you as the person making the introduction, you are responsible for how the relationship goes. If there are problems in that relationship it falls on you to fix it. If you are  the one who  introduces you will get a small gift if it all goes well. Just the stress of all of that makes me never want to introduce anyone to anyone.
  • And last but not least my favorite. The words cockroach and towel and cabinet and arse are very close in sound so make sure if you use those words you have got the sounds correct or expect to be made fun at.

So far life in Japan has been a eye opening experience. We play charades a lot to get our point across. I try to practice my Japanese and go back to the veggie stand and wow them with a new word that I have learned. I mostly just nod my head say yes or no sometimes and hope to high heaven, I am not agreeing, that I am a stupid american with no language skills. So far everyone has been very nice and try to accommodate us. There is a poor sales girl at Bic camera that is very afraid of us. When she sees she runs for her life and hide until we are gone. We went to another floor and accidentally found her hiding in the lights department. She didn’t expect us down there. She quickly found us another sales person and was off and running again.  Avoidance is very popular here in Japan.