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What it’s like to work in Japan?

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19 Nov 2013
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Hi guys, I am new to this forum.
I have just moved to Japan to work here for the next 5 years. Honestly, I have no idea what Japan is like and how Japanese people behave in working environment or if there are any rules that I have to follow.
From what I have experienced by working with Japanese people, they seem to be very vague about what they want and I could never understand their intention.
Are there anymore ? Do you guys have any suggestions to overcome this cultural thing
I think I could open up this disscussion not only for me but also for other newcomer foreigners also.


8 Feb 2008
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My first suggestion would be not to attribute to "culture" what you can explain with individual preferences or the circumstances of the environment you work in. In what kind of environment do you work exactly?

The second would be to take a step back and ask yourself what your expectations and those of your colleagues are. Creating a "I" and "them" dichotomy will only lead to frustration. You both - most likely - have the same goals but different opinions on the best ways to get there. If you want to be a member of your team how about you observe and ask whenever there is a chance. Everyone knows you're new (to Japan and to the workplace) and don't expect you to feel familiar with everything.

In those situations where the intention was not clear how did you react and what did you do to get a clarification?


Just me
20 Aug 2003
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I have no idea what Japan is like and how Japanese people behave in working environment or if there are any rules that I have to follow.
I am assuming you got transferred here. Correct me if I'm wrong. I'm wondering how you would have accepted a position overseas without knowing a single idea of what it's like to live and work there.

Get a book called Japanese Business Etiquette. or Japanese Etiquette Today,
Japan Etiquette: Learn Japanese Manners with Simple Tip Sheets, or something similar and learn today. It's good that you asked early, but do something about it. To answer your question in any detail beyond "yes, there are rules" would take forever. We also don't know your position with the company and coworkers, your fluency in Japanese, etc.

Are you interested in how to start, negotiate, close deals? Give gifts? Spend hours after 5pm in the office? Suck up to a boss? Overlord over a subordinate? Accept OLs who serve you tea? Survive a spa? Deal with a store clerk? The situations are vast.
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