Saturday, June 26, 2004

Interesting stuff...

So I was reading one of my many non-novels today, and I came across some things I thought interesting. Maybe G. London - our bus chasing friend from Kyoto (see "Comments" in the "Novels..." entry)- can help us out. We'd appreciate it, mate. I read that Japanese, due to their great respect for the "corporate culture", have turned exchanging business cards into an actual procedure. When presenting your own business card, hand it over with both hands, the print (which should have been translated into Japanese beforehand) facing the recipient. Also, when receiving a business card, do not simply grab the card and place it in your wallet or back pocket. The correct procedure is as follows: take it, study it for a few moments, and , after sufficient consideration, place it in your shirt pocket. To top it off, NEVER write on the back of the business card. This is considered highly disrespectful. Something else I thought interesting... You are not to make eye contact with the Japanese. Apparently this can be perceived as 'staring them down' or as an intimidation tactic. Instead, fix your eyes between the tip of his/her nose and chin (mouth maybe?). With all of their respect for the "corporate culture", however, the Japanese are not a "touching culture". As such, they have adapted the handshake to accommodate others, but it is often limp, lacking any semblence of a firm grip. I'm not planning a trip to Japan nor do I have a business card that needs translating, but for my readers who possess more importance than I, can you please confirm/dispell these stumbled upon gems of potential misinformation?

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Indeed, the ritual surrounding the "meishi", or business card, is largely as you describe it. Many "sarariman" ("salary-men", or businessmen) keep an expensive-looking "meishiire" (card-case) about their person to avoid even the embarassment of putting someone else's card "naked", as it were, into their pocket at the end of it all. The handshake is gaining popularity, but is usually reinforced by a simulataneous bow anyway, and yes - often it feels like you're shaking a wet lettuce when they attempt one. This ritual is but one of many peculiar to Japanese culture. Most have developed as face-saving devices. Ever been unsure whether to shake hands, hug, or kiss a mediocre acquaintance upon parting? Well the protocol is there to spell out the rules for you both. Ever worried you're being over-familiar with your boss? The ritualised polite tenses and forms dispel such fears in the Japanese language. My favourite rule is "all bets are off when drunk". You can call your boss a wanker, grab his wife's arse, and end the evening singing karaoke with a soapy prostitute, and no-one will mention it in the morning. This single facet of Japanese culture saved me from being fired (and possibly deported) more than once in my 2 years there.
Ahh - Mikol-sama. You have learned much, grasshopper - but remember only the fool believes his cup of knowledge to be full. And so forth.
Languishing-with-infected-tonsil-in-London, G

12:12 AM  
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5:46 AM  

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