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Old Aug 20th 2016, 8:30 pm   #1
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Unhappy Loads of bullsh*t?

Hi all,

How do you deal with all the pretty unique Japanese etiquette/ways of behaving?

I had an opportunity to work in Japan recently, and the whole experience was pretty sore to say the least.

A few people gave me a right bollocking for not being "respectful" which I later found out was due to not using the conventional phrases such as "Otsukare samadeshita". I mean, isn't simply saying have a good evening polite enough? Apparently the aforementioned phrase roughly translates into "I apologise for leaving early". Why do you have to apologise when you've paid your dues for the day by staying till at least 5pm? It's just beyond me.

And there's all those grey-haired Japanese men who think making unnecessary sarcastic and d*ck-ish remarks is always desirable.

Oh and for god's sake, stop apologising for literally everything people!!!

The list can go on forever but rant over

I was feeling out of place all the time. I'm having a hard time understanding their cultural values at the moment.

Any tips or stories you have about encountering this kind of situation would be much appreciated!

Thank you
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Old Aug 24th 2016, 6:37 pm   #2
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Default Re: Loads of bullsh*t?

I imagine you were saying "have a nice evening" in Japanese, which would just jar because there are so many set sayings for greetings, farewells and the like, and that isn't one of them. As with all countries -- but perhaps more so in Japan -- the language is an inextricable part of the culture, and the set phrase you should use is all part of the social hierarchy.

You'd think there'd be a fair bit of bit of latitude given for gaijin, but not always: I once asked a director of the company I worked for, on hearing that his son was not well, "How's your son?", but I didn't use the right level of politeness. 2 hours later it got back to me that he was angry -- and that was a guy I had a long-standing relationship with: golf, drinking and so on.

You've just got to roll with the punches.
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Old Aug 24th 2016, 7:35 pm   #3
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Default Re: Loads of bullsh*t?

To get an insight think of a scenario ig your own setting where an employee or fellow-worker addresses you in the wrong register. For example he addresses you by surname, "Smith what do you think of this ?" when there are more appropriate ways to address you. Now multiply it 100 fold and you will know how you can cause offense !
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Old Aug 24th 2016, 7:35 pm   #4
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Default Re: Loads of bullsh*t?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Squawk7700 View Post
A few people gave me a right bollocking for not being "respectful" which I later found out was due to not using the conventional phrases such as "Otsukare samadeshita". I mean, isn't simply saying have a good evening polite enough? Apparently the aforementioned phrase roughly translates into "I apologise for leaving early". Why do you have to apologise when you've paid your dues for the day by staying till at least 5pm? It's just beyond me.
I don't know about your place of business in Japan, but when my husband worked for a very international firm with lots of foreign employees, it was the norm NOT to leave work at 5 PM. He arrived at work an hour early every morning, 8 AM, and left 2 hours late, 7PM. This was the norm for both Japanese and gaijin (foreign) salaryman employees. It's the the way the work culture is in Japan.


He was warned about this in advance by other gaijin. It was definitely hard on his family to barely see him during the week! But it would have been shameful to be noticed leaving any earlier than he did, hence the necessity of the "apology" you mention....
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Old Oct 13th 2016, 8:27 am   #5
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Default Re: Loads of bullsh*t?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Squawk7700 View Post
A few people gave me a right bollocking for not being "respectful" which I later found out was due to not using the conventional phrases such as "Otsukare samadeshita". I mean, isn't simply saying have a good evening polite enough? Apparently the aforementioned phrase roughly translates into "I apologise for leaving early". Why do you have to apologise when you've paid your dues for the day by staying till at least 5pm? It's just beyond me.
Leaving at 5PM is indeed considered a rather strong sign of disrespect, irrespective of what you say on your way out. It gives them the impression that you don't know their culture (in this case the business/office culture).
Many of the Japanese greetings and standard expressions are said without consideration of what the actual words mean when you translate them into a foreign (= non Japanese) language. It is a mistake foreigners often make when hearing/uttering these phrases of mentally translating those expressions. Don't do this, but adjust to the Japanese culture. When in Rome do as the Romans do.
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Old Oct 13th 2016, 11:41 am   #6
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Default Re: Loads of bullsh*t?

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I don't know about your place of business in Japan, but when my husband worked for a very international firm with lots of foreign employees, it was the norm NOT to leave work at 5 PM. He arrived at work an hour early every morning, 8 AM, and left 2 hours late, 7PM. This was the norm for both Japanese and gaijin (foreign) salaryman employees. It's the the way the work culture is in Japan.


He was warned about this in advance by other gaijin. It was definitely hard on his family to barely see him during the week! But it would have been shameful to be noticed leaving any earlier than he did, hence the necessity of the "apology" you mention....
A senior manager in my department (when I worked in Japan) arrived one day at the office and announced that the normal practice of everyone staying till the boss left (usually 7pm or later) would now stop. His son had called him "uncle" the night before, such was the infrequency of their meeting.

It lasted a couple of weeks.
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Old Oct 14th 2016, 8:46 am   #7
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Default Re: Loads of bullsh*t?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bahtatboy View Post
A senior manager in my department (when I worked in Japan) arrived one day at the office and announced that the normal practice of everyone staying till the boss left (usually 7pm or later) would now stop. His son had called him "uncle" the night before, such was the infrequency of their meeting.

It lasted a couple of weeks.
Such a policy only works if all bosses leave the building at 5PM. No subordinate would dare to leave when the boss is still sitting at his desk. But, as the bosses tend to be from the previous generation, they are not accustomed to leave at such a time.
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Old Jan 5th 2017, 2:49 pm   #8
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Default Re: Loads of bullsh*t?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Squawk7700 View Post
Hi all,

How do you deal with all the pretty unique Japanese etiquette/ways of behaving?

I had an opportunity to work in Japan recently, and the whole experience was pretty sore to say the least.

A few people gave me a right bollocking for not being "respectful" which I later found out was due to not using the conventional phrases such as "Otsukare samadeshita". I mean, isn't simply saying have a good evening polite enough? Apparently the aforementioned phrase roughly translates into "I apologise for leaving early". Why do you have to apologise when you've paid your dues for the day by staying till at least 5pm? It's just beyond me.

And there's all those grey-haired Japanese men who think making unnecessary sarcastic and d*ck-ish remarks is always desirable.

Oh and for god's sake, stop apologising for literally everything people!!!

The list can go on forever but rant over

I was feeling out of place all the time. I'm having a hard time understanding their cultural values at the moment.

Any tips or stories you have about encountering this kind of situation would be much appreciated!

Thank you
Otsukare samadeshita doesn't mean "I apologise for leaving early". It's a formal keigo phrase that has undergone some transition over the last 20 years or so and has transitioned from its literal meaning of 'you must be tired' to 'thank you for all of your hard efforts today. Your work is much appreciated'. In some cases it is even just used as a way of saying a really polite thank you or good bye.

It seems unfair that a gaijin would be punished for not overusing it in the same way that the Japanese do though.

'I apologise for leaving early' or 'I apologise for leaving before you' is "osaki ni shitsureishimasu".
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Old Jan 6th 2017, 2:08 am   #9
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Default Re: Loads of bullsh*t?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bahtatboy View Post
A senior manager in my department (when I worked in Japan) arrived one day at the office and announced that the normal practice of everyone staying till the boss left (usually 7pm or later) would now stop. His son had called him "uncle" the night before, such was the infrequency of their meeting.

It lasted a couple of weeks.
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Old Jan 6th 2017, 11:04 am   #10
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Default Re: Loads of bullsh*t?

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Sadly Japan isn't a country that really listens to the young or new ideas unless they're coming from someone like this.

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Old Jan 7th 2017, 4:09 am   #11
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Default Re: Loads of bullsh*t?

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Sadly Japan isn't a country that really listens to the young or new ideas unless they're coming from someone like this.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com...6ee6749649.jpg
True! And--as you say--sad....
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