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Tipping is not expected. Gift giving is very important both business and personal gifts - See international business gift giving section. Style is tantamount. The gift itself is of little importance, the ceremony surrounding it is very important. Always wrap gifts. The selection of the wrapping paper is critical. Do not give anything wrapped in white as it symbolizes death. Do not use bright colors or bows to wrap the gift. It is better to have the hotel or the store wrap the gift to ensure that it is appropriate.

Do not surprise the recipient with the gift. Give your host some warning during the evening that you intend to give them a present. Give the gift with both hands and accept gifts with hands. Generally, gifts will not be opened in your presence. If your host insist that you open the gift do so gingerly. They take pride in gift wrapping, show that you appreciation the effort. Do not give gifts in odd number or the number four, as odd numbers are bad luck and four sounds like the word for death in Japanese.

Gifts should be given at the end of a visit. Do not admire anything belonging to your host too closely. The Japanese strive to please; you may be rewarded for your admiration. The most popular gift giving occasions in Japan are oseibo , which falls at the end of the year and O- chugen which falls during the middle of the year. Good gift ideas include top choice beef, fruit and alcohol such as brandy, quality whiskey and Bourbon along with excellent wines. They also appreciate gifts from high-end department stores like Saks and Neiman Marcus. The Japanese frown on open displays of affection.

They do not touch in public. It is highly inappropriate to touch someone of the opposite sex in public. In Japan, business cards are called meishi. Japanese give and receive meishi with both hands. It should be printed in your home language on one side and Japanese on the other. Present the card with the Japanese language side up. The card will contain the name and title along with the company name, address and telephone number of the businessman. In Japan, businessmen are call "sarariman. Do not write on the card. Do not put the card in you pocket or wallet, as either of these actions will be viewed as defacing or disrespecting the business card.

Upon receipt of the card, it is important to make a photocopy of the name and title of the individual in your mind.

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Examine the card carefully as a show of respect. In a business situation, business cannot begin until the meishi exchange process is complete. The customary greeting is the bow. However, some Japanese may greet you with a handshake, albeit a weak one. Do not misinterpret a weak handshake as an indication of character. If you are greeted with a bow, return with a bow as low as the one you received.

How low you bow determines the status of the relationship between you and the other individual. When you bow keep your eyes low and your palms flat next to your thighs.

A Guide to Traditions, Customs and Etiquette of Japan Book Review

The business card should be given after the bow. This is very important to remember. The Japanese prefer to use last names. Do not request that they call you by your first name only. If you are uncertain about the pronunciation of a name, ask for assistance. Understand that the Japanese prefer not to use the word no.

Japanese Culture and Business Etiquette

If you ask a question they may simply respond with a yes but clearly mean no. The pace of each story was slow, but gripping, and with a lot of eye for detail.

A Guide to Business Etiquette in Japan - Aspects necessary to consider

Another thing I really liked about the book was how Rebecca drew me into her world of trying to understand and cope with the Japanese culture and its many unspoken rules and symbols and how she grew as a person and found a way to fit in, in her own way. From how Rebecca basically had no say in her own wedding and had to live with her mother-in-law who wanted her to be a perfect Japanese wife a. With Rebecca being an artist, it might be no surprise that this book is full of wonderful little pen drawings of items in and around the house, as well as some of the more complex concepts she talks about in the book.

Rebecca writes that she hopes that anyone who dreams of making their home in another land and culture can find a bit of courage from her stories. Personally, there were so many things Rebecca describes that resonated with me. And we are a small band, we transplants, a very small percentage of humanity as a whole. I also see that the people around me are ordinary human beings, just like me, full of fears and flaws, just wanting to feel good and to belong. The grand outpouring of life, its seamless and abundant flow from moment to moment, is a force so strong we are unaware of it, as the fish is unaware of water.

It is this force that overrides the problems and hardships and carries us, strong and true and sure, in the direction of our destiny.


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Actually, he wrote the FIRST EVER books on the Japanese way of doing business and introduced the now commonly used Japanese terms wa , nemawashi, kaizen , tatemae-honne , shibui , sabi and wabi to the outside business world. He was There is no tipping in any situation in Japan — cabs, restaurants, personal care. Depending on the restaurant you decide upon for that evening, you may be required to use chopsticks. Take off your shoes at the entrance to all homes, and most businesses and hotels. Usually, a rack will be provided to store your shoes, and pair of guest slippers will be sitting nearby; many Japanese bring a pair of indoor slippers just in case, though.

Never wear slippers when you need to step onto a tatami mat used in most Japanese homes and hotels; the standard unit of measurement for area even today , and be careful to remove the toilet slippers waiting for you in the bathroom.

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It is extremely bad form, for example, to reenter the main room of a house wearing slippers that have been running across dirty linoleum. Rather sensible when you think about it, as masks do not protect the wearer so much as the ones around him. When groups of high school students in Japan were asked to identify the dangers facing children today, the majority agreed on the number one threat: individualism.

Japanese society is focused on the group.


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Western cultures are focused on the individual. Does this mean that the Japanese are nothing more that worker bees in a vast hive of steel and concrete?