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- 5 Tips for Interacting with Japanese Friends and Colleagues
Rumors and stereotypes abound about the island nation of Japan. To cut through all the misinformation out there, here are a 5 tips for that initial social contact.
This is the follow up to my first hub dealing with social interaction with Japanese colleagues and friends. Read my first hub here, and check out some of my other Japan related hubs by clicking on the links on the right.
1. Anime and Manga
As much as you may love Anime and Manga, most Japanese people are probably not as in to it as you are. It is a good idea to not talk about these subjects extensively. Perhaps mention your interest but refrain from talking about it in depth unless asked. Many Japanese people do read manga and watch anime, but foreign anime enthusiasts have a very negative stereotype to overcome in Japan so it's best to keep a low profile
In Japan it is considered polite to refuse something that is being offered to you. Only after the person offers it again is a it a good idea to accept. Do this to score instant points when being offered drinks and food.
3.Try Something New
While dining with your new friends, make sure to try everything they offer. They may go out of their way to order food for you that they think may be acceptable to your palette. But if they do not, make sure to at least try a bite. It will show your effort to at try the local cuisine and you may discover something that you might actually really like. Japan is a very complex food culture and so you may run into some very difficult foods. Lots of food is eaten raw, so be prepared in advance mentally.
Drinking in Japan is commonplace and is often part of business and social outings. Go ahead and let lose, your Japanese friends will surely follow. If you are not a big drinker, it is best not to even accept a single drink. You will be denying drink offers all night. One trick is to order tea. This is the signal that you are not interested in anymore alcohol for the evening.
The women present will be in charge of filling your drink and offering you food. Let them. Try to avoid filling your own glass. Japanese women have advanced in social hierarchy greatly, but are still expected to be subservient in some situations. If you are a woman, try not to get upset and just understand it is a different culture. Also understand that Japanese women are rapidly gaining more respect and social standing by themselves and making a stand for women's rights at the dinner table will not further their cause. It will only hurt the image your Japanese acquaintances have of you.
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