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Yobisute 2011/10/1 12:24
Is yobisute appropriate in school meetings? It bothers me! My boss(vice principal) often calls me by my family name with no sensei or San during meetings. But does in 1 on 1 situations. Imagine asking for input teacher by teacher like this... Tanaka-sensei, what do you think? (responds) Satou-sensei, what do you think? (responds) etc... until it's my turn. Brown. What do you think? The meetings are held in Japanese by the way. WTF is he doing? Should I just ignore it?
by James Aka (guest)  

Re: Yobisute 2011/10/2 12:59
He could be under the wrong impression that calling by name only (like with first-name basis) expresses familiarity, or that with non-Japanese it's OK to do that... or maybe he wants to show (to others) who's the boss there. It must be annoying to you - I think it's fair to ask him to stop that.
by ... (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Yobisute 2011/10/2 13:02
IMO he's just doing it because you're foreign, he doesn't mean any harm by it. He probably doesn't know that when foreign people use last names we're usually supposed to use mr or ms/mrs in front of it, a lot japanese people don't realize this until somebody tells them about it.

by winterwolf (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Yobisute 2011/10/2 14:50
It's rude and unprofessional.

He is your boss and you need to take the high road so: find a time when the two of you are alone and ask him about the practice of yobisute.

"I am trying to understand Japanese customs to avoid being rude in front of others so can you please explain the proper manners for addressing people?
For example, if I am in a meeting with a Japanese kohai, is it appropriate to address him/her by last name only? I have noticed lately that sometimes you refer to me with yobisute but not other teachers so I am confused about the etiquette and professional rules of addressing people in the workplace."

This way, you call attention to the matter without directly accusing him of being the a$$hole that he is. You let him know that his actions are causing a problem for you and that he needs to correct his lack of professionalism.

If even after this conversation he continues to be rude, then you have to decide if you want to suffer through his arrogance/rudeness or escalate things and be more direct.

It is a problem though because what he's saying is that in this workplace, I don't respect your position and I am making it known to you and your colleagues.

It is a form of discrimination/power harassment.
He should know better and ignorance is not an excuse.
by kyototrans rate this post as useful

Re: Yobisute 2011/10/2 15:28
Are you on a temp. assignment, like 1-2 years? How is your relationship with him & other senseis? Have you made any friendly sensei?
It appears that he is playing a game making sure to differentiate you(temporary?) from other Japanese teachers, who are permanent & he has to work with for a long time.
It will be rude to confront him directly even though done nicely.
The bet way is to talk to your friend sensei.
Other way is, as often done, talk to him directly in a night out drinking as if you are drunk. This is the time to tell any gripes/complains directly. All said is forgotten (or pretending to be) next day.
Another way is to talk to other senseis, casually, lightly & openly(not in the meeting, nor one on one, but many others hear you) how your feeling is hurt being called without respect like them. They already have an uneasy feeling whenever he calls you w/o sensei. So one or more may talk to him. You have to do a little nemawashi indirectly behind him.
Nothing changes after a while, go direct.
by ay (guest) rate this post as useful

Ways to suggest 2011/10/3 02:49
James Aka,

A vice principal who calls everybody else with a -sensei at the end but calls your last name without -sensei or Mr. is quite ignorant for his status, I must say.

But how about suggesting him to call you by your first name, then? For example, if your full name is James Brown (which I personally like) tell him "Douzo James to yonde kudasai." You would hopefully feel less awkward even if he fails to add -sensei or Mr. on the James.

And if it so happens that he refuses to do so and keep calling you just Brown, then you can think about find the right time to suggest, "Sumimasen, watashimo Brown-sensei to yonde itadaku wakeniwa...?"

Actually, this often happens the other way around. A Japanese might call a foreign business partner Mr. Brown but the business partner calls the Japanese Suzuki.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

Thanks for the input. 2011/10/3 11:31
To answer your questions... I've been at this job for 10 years. He's been vice-principal for the last two of them.
I like your ideas but I would rather handle this problem in the meeting right after it occurs but in a tactful, if not clever way. (that let's him and everybody else know how I feel but keeps the mood light) I won't say a word until I know EXACTLY what I'm going to say.
by James Aka (guest) rate this post as useful

Just asking for clarification 2011/10/3 16:37
James wrote;
"I like your ideas but I would rather handle this problem in the meeting right after it occurs but in a tactful, if not clever way. (that let's him and everybody else know how I feel but keeps the mood light)"

And how does that contradict, for example, my idea?
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

right, you are 2011/10/4 08:36
You are correct... your answer does not contradict my goals in this situation. Thank you.
by James Aka (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Yobisute 2011/10/4 14:05
Did your principal lived in France for a while by any chance? over there is it normal to call other people by their family name only, or Mr. / Mrs X is they are older than you or in a position of authority over you.

When someone in a store, or a bureaucrat, policemen etc. ask for your name the proper correct answer is to give your family name first.

Properly speaking one should give the family name first then the first name, but it is easier to give the 2 names separately to give the other person time to record them properly .especially if they have to be spelled ...B as Bravo A as...etc.

Some people will use their professional title: Doctor Smith, Maitre (Master) Martin (for a notary) etc.

In the army we always give our rank then our family name then our first name..
Like many people from other cultures I had a devil of a time at first in North America as, when they asked me for my name, I automatically gave the family name and they assumed it was my first name.....

A famous person in our small town in Europe once stopped by my mom lovely looking garden, said hello to us, then introduced himself by saying " my name is Rothschild".. of course we politely replied using his aristocratic title, not his family name.
by Red frog (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Yobisute 2011/10/5 00:44
Your response gives a whole new light.
I presume the previous principal called you sensei in front of others in meetings. Also from you not saying, you don't have any close or friendly co-worker senseis after 10 years? How about the Japanese English teacher? And you've let go for two years frustrating. So why now?
It seems other senseis are silent as if they were informed by the principal or the ex/ current vice re:your status, i.e. length of service, expense, performance, team work, friendliness, etc.
Are they betting how long you stay?
by ay (guest) rate this post as useful

Yobisute: Ay 2011/10/5 11:51
Hi Ay,
My response gives a whole new light to what?
In reply to your post. The principal has nothing to do with my post. He is extremely respectful and polite in all situations. I've got a few friends in the office. I'm not sure what that has to do with the price of tea in China? Also, I haven't been annoyed by this for two years. I've recently taken on some new responsibilities of which the Vice Principal has a vested interest. Before that there was no reason for him to mention my name in meetings. I'm permanent. I'm not sure what he's betting.
by James Aka (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Yobisute 2011/10/5 11:59
"that let's him and everybody else know how I feel but keeps the mood light"

Not sure about letting everyone else know - no matter how much you try to keep the mood light, unless you have EXCEPTIONAL gift of the gab in the Japanese language above and beyond most native speakers, you WILL be perceived (by everyone) as unnecessarily showing him up in public. By all means talk to him but do so in private!
by Tico (guest) rate this post as useful

Yobisute 2011/10/5 12:36
UNLESS... I say, "Yobisute demo ii desu ga, Kore kara, Douzo, braun-chan to yonde kudasai." with a big smile on my face AND I toss him a wink.
by James Aka (guest) rate this post as useful

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