Taiken Japan

Autumn Leaves 2016

Lessons Learned from the Japanese

Photo: Joi Ito on Flickr

Lessons Learned from the Japanese

Vi Phan

In Japan, etiquette is the main imperative, people slurp their noodles really loud, buying souvenirs for everyone is of extreme importance and being shy, not expressive, is the main behaviour. It is certainly a different culture that fascinates many people outside the country. So what can we learn by studying Japanese mannerisms?

Keep Business Cards and Personal Notebooks 

pic 10

A Japanese business meeting starts with the solemn exchange of business cards. Japanese people respectfully receive business cards with their two hands and loudly read the information written on them. Then, they will put these business cards into a box on the desk so that they can use them when necessary. One more notice is that the receivers are not allowed to put the business cards into their pockets. If they do so, the givers feel looked down on. The business card exchange ceremony indicates that you highly appreciate the meeting and the participants. Similarly, Japanese people tend to keep a personal notebook and write their schedule and appointments on it. The partners definitely feel disrespected if their appointments are not carefully written down or forgotten. For a majority of Japanese working people, keeping a personal notebook becomes a habit.

Respect Your Seniors/Superiors 

Akuppa John Wigham on Flickr
Traditionally, in a meeting, the oldest people are allowed to express their opinion first. Their ideas are always respected and carefully concerned by the young people. At working place, employees often greet their bosses with deep bows. The junior employees highly respect the senior ones (senpai) because of their accumulated experience and ability. In Japan, the long-term experience has a direct proportion with the high position. That's why the older a person is, the more important role he plays. If you disagree with your boss, it's better to discuss with him later than turn down his ideas right away in meetings.

Be Serious 

Xavier Donat on Flickr
During the office hours, you hardly listen to Japanese people's laughter because they always maintain serious attitudes at their work. They often speak softly and close their eyes to listen better. Such attitudes make new comers misunderstand that having a conversation to Japanese people is boring and uncomfortable.

Being serious during working hours is a way which Japanese people use to express their respect toward their working places. They don't make jokes, except for the break time. The rule of being serious helps them optimize their efforts at working places.

Like to Ride Bikes

pic 12

Japan is one of the most powerful countries in the world, well-known with high GDP and a leading automobile industry. Therefore, buying a car is not a difficult thing for many Japanese households. In addition, the traffic system and various means of public transportation helps people get around easily. However, there are still a large number of bikes used in Japan. It is said that more than 50% of the Japanese population ride bikes. There are several reasons to explain why Japanese people like to ride bikes. First, riding a bike can help them smoothly move on narrow streets in Japan. Second, the elderly feel healthier and more secured to ride bikes than to drive cars. Moreover, riding bikes can avoid serious traffic accidents in residential areas.

Value Money

Katy Ereira on Flickr
Japanese people think that money is the compensation for hard working and the best efforts, so Japanese people working in service sector do not accept the clients' tips. In their opinion, serving clients is their duties and responsibilities. When paying in cash, you are expected to put money in a small tray. In other words, you should avoid directly giving money to cashiers because Japanese people think it's an impolite manner. The same rule is also applied in wedding parties.

Keep Quiet in Public Places

pic 13

Have you ever thought that Japan, such a leading country in both industry sector and service sector, must be a noisy and busy country? Nevertheless, if you have a chance to visit there, you will realize that everything will be different from what you imagined. Although the streets in Japan are very crowded, you hardly hear the noisy honks from vehicles. The noisiest sounds may be the alarms of fire engines or ambulances. In rush hours, on means of public transportation, packed with passengers, everyone hardly talks to each other. Even talking on a phone in public is also considered rude. Instead, passengers can read newspapers, books, chat or even sleep, etc. as long as they do not bother other passengers.