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Note that this thread has not been updated in a long time, and its content might not be up-to-date anymore.

Difference in work culture 2008/8/9 22:18
What are the problems faced by Japanese persons working abroad or with other nationals? how much is the language barrier is affecting the Japanese people as they are not good in other languages? Is cultural difference is making the work difficult? Is there any other difficulties.
by Jay08  

work culture 2008/8/10 14:43
Your question is rather vague and open ended! Japanese people are just like other people. Some have trouble with languages, some don't. Obviously most people,both Japanese and from other nationalities, who CHOOSE to live and work in another country make an effort to master the language and culture of their new country. I am a Caucasian born /raised in Europe and find that I have more in common with Japanese, Asian and Middle Eastern cultures than with North Americans ones(I am talking about things like crowded cities, trains, subways,small houses and cars, lots of bikes, instant hot water heaters, lots of small cheap restaurants serving good food,respecting and living with elders at home, lots of very old churches (or temples/ shrines)in each neighbourhood etc.). Finding work in another country is ALWAYS HARD, even if one can read/ speak the local language,as employers are basically not too interested in "foreigners" and have often lots of misconceptions about other countries. 20-25 years ago many European friends and I were routinely asked if we had "real" houses and schools "over there". A couple of nice charming neighbours just couldn't believe that Europeans already knew about the Bible centuries ago! There aren't terribly huge differences as far as basic work culture is concerned. Selling/buying goods, shipping/receiving, accounting etc. are based on similar principles around the world. An obvious difference between North America and many other countries used to be that in these other countries a customer entering a (small) store is like a guest in someone home and must acknowledge the store owner and the staff and vice versa. in turn the store owner and/ or the staff would take the time to find out what the customer needs are and if they don't have the right goods volunteer to get them from another store as SERVICE is what keep customers coming back. Obviously, with so many immigrants in North America, that type of personal service is also given so there is now more and more similarities between continents, the more so because ethnic food and clothes from around the world are now found all around the world. For example in the Canadian town where I live we have hundreds of sushi restaurants, lots of izakayas, a big DAISO store, several outlets serving Beard Papa cream puffs etc. etc. and of course food and other stuff from hundreds of countries.
by Red Frog rate this post as useful

work 2008/8/10 17:05
I should have added that my best friend of many many years is from Japan. He had some problems at first, as do most immigrants, then got a very good job (English speaking of course). his co-workers, like mine--we work in different places--come from all over the world. Everyone just follows the workplace own rules and regulations.
by Red Frog rate this post as useful

varies 2008/8/10 17:08
I don't think that it's "difficult because they're foreign" but rather that it's "different because they're used to this and that".

For example, for a Japanese worker who has been working with foreign people for several years, it is difficult to adjust to a typical conservative Japanese style office. Language is not the issue in this case. Same goes vice versa.

Examples vary. One of the most typical examples is that in many non-Japanese offices, when the person in charge is not there, no one would substitute for that person. You have to wait until that person comes back from a job tour or vacation or what not. That's okay as long as you're used to it. The problem is that there may be Japanese people waiting at the other end for you to get some answers from these foreign people.

On the other hand, the Japanese expect you to work in teams. So they expect you to know everything that's going on in the same division, and they expect you to take responsibility if you don't.

But this is just a tiny example of the various differences you face when working for different fields and cultures, and even this example doesn't always apply for all offices.

It's quite a long story. You need to specify your question.
by Uco rate this post as useful

language 2008/8/10 19:36
Japanese people who go overseas to work tend to be the ones who do speak English, or another foreign language, well, so the language barrier isn't as much of an issue as you might think.

Certainly not any more than it is for people of other nationalities who go to another country to work.
by Sira rate this post as useful

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