World is becoming a global village where people from across different culture interact daily doing different activities. When it comes in to business, interaction is very vital since it enables a company or an individual business to expand the customer base. To successfully do business with people from a different culture it is very important to learn a few things about their culture, this does not only show respect to that particular group but it gives them an impression that you values them as a community.
(Bucknall, K 2005) Japan is one of the nations which can be described as most cultured, while other parts of the world have adapted to the western ways of life, this part of the world has largely continued with their traditional practices. For one to successfully engage in to any activity in this Far East country learning their culture is very important. To a foreigner culture shock in this part of the world should be expected, you will find so many things that are different from home.
To cope with these practices, the most important thing is to respect them, failing to do this will earn you some tags and this will not auger well with your mission and more so your stay in this Asian nation. One outstanding thing about the Japanese is the awareness of their nationality, they believe so much in their nations such that they perceive other cultures as inferior. For a business person knowing this will give you an upper hand and a clear understanding of the people in this country. (Roger, J 2002)
There is a common believe that anything coming from outside is inferior, infact many Japanese believe that once they consume imported rice they will suffer from indigestion. Consumers mostly prefer to buy Japanese goods even if they the most expensive, this fact explains why international companies have had difficulties penetrating Japanese markets. Conformity is another aspect of the Japanese culture; it is dangerous for an individual to distance himself or herself from a given group. It is almost mandatory to do what others are doing.
There is a Japanese saying which stresses on this fact ‘it is the nail which stands up that is usually hammered down’. This stresses the need to conform to a group. It is perceived as a mistake to attempt and get a Japanese to stand out from a group. The strong urge to conform to a group is largely seen on the way they uniformly dress, having similar leisure activities among other things. (Sosnoski, D 1996) Relations in a group are treasured and one will go to great heights not to disrupt the harmony that exists in his particular group.
The effort to maintain group harmony in many occasions heightens the level of hidden stress among many Japanese. In an attempt to relieve this stress, most male adults Japanese usually result to reading books which depict strong characters especially heroes who are not constrained by the things they go through. It will be a common thing for a foreigner to note that some Japanese will avoid boarding the same coach with them, this may be perceived as anti social behavior or rejection but the fact is that they do not want to disturb the peaceful harmony in their group as the foreigner may do something which may worry people.
As a foreigner it is very important to be sensitive to the Japanese culture, this will not only earn you some acceptance but it will also make your stay comfortable. Understanding their culture will help in knowing which areas are sensitve, it is advisable to anyone traveling to Japan to learn something little about their ways of life. This will earn you dividends and will assist in developing a relationship
Politeness pays in all parts of the world but more so in Japan it is taken seriously, always use the Japanese etiquette. When one learns a few things about Japanese manners people will be impressed and be warm towards you. When you show respect to the people this will be reciprocated and the stay in this country will be enjoyable. When someone breaks the norms and the manners, people will look down upon you and might have a difficult time. (Scott, W and Olenik, K 2005)
In Japan outward form style and acceptable or proper behavior are treasured, these values are inculcated in the children as they grow up. Parents ensure that they drill their children to live by these codes right from an early age. Any deviation from these norms or generally polite behavior is considered to be bad manners. Japanese perceive all foreigners as bad mannered but the accepting them all the same, they usually argue that it is not their fault but the way these foreigners were brought up contributed to their ill manners.
All the same this does not mean that one should not respect they way Japanese conduct themselves, it is extremely important to play by the code especially when on a business trip since how these people are going to perceive and take you will greatly determine whether you will achieve your goals. (Nwanna, G 1998) Food forms a very important component in our lives, visiting a foreign country can be a wonderful experience but when one finds the eating habits completely different from what he or she is used to life can be extremely difficult.
Japanese have a variety of foods which range from the traditional to modern. It is important for anyone traveling to Japan to first familiarizing with the type of foods available in this country to avoid culture shock as this world greatly affect your stay in this part of the world especially if the food served does not conform to the usual diets served back at home. (Meville, I 1999) Japanese may be considered the most arrogant people in the world but the have a way with the people. This may only be a perception as one get to know what lies beneath when you really interact with them.
They may not quickly embrace you but once you show that you respect and value their way of life they will warm up to you and your stay will be a wonderful experience. The most important thing is to respect their culture no matter how different it is and also be sensitive. In the business world failure to win peoples’ hearts means doom to the business venture and we have to try all the best not to offend our potential customers as this will not auger well with our goals and ambitions.
Bibliography Bucknall, K (2005) Doing Business in a Unique Culture, C and M Online Media Sosnoski, D (1996) Introduction to Japanese Culture Turtle Publishing Company Roger, J (2002) The Japanese Mind: Understanding Contemporary Japanese Culture, Turttle Publishing Company Scott, W and Olenik, K (2005) Japan: Its History and Culture, Macgraw Hill Professional Nwanna, G (1998) Dos and Donts around the World, Frontline Publishing co. Meville, I (1999) Marketing in Japan, Elselvle
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