Once again, it’s far quicker for me to vlog than blog…


8 Responses

  1. I think with any new job or new set of responsibilities, you’re likely to do stuff a bit wrong at the beginning. The language thing just makes it that much worse. And of course, becuase you don’t want to mess stuff up, your brain decides to rebel against you and not to understand what you’re being told. This has happened to me in English…! I think once you’ve been doing it for a while you’ll be much more used to it, and won’t make as many mistakes or get the wrong end of the stick with the Japanese.

    This isn’t quite the same thing but the exact same thing happened when I met Taka’s parents. I was really nervous to begin with, and the nerves meant that I had problems understanding Japanese that I wouldn’t have problems understanding, and to top it off, they speak very strong 広島弁, which I wasn’t used to at all, so I ended up just smiling and nodding a lot of the time. You just have to stick with it and keep on going.

    Would incorporating more Japanese into your life help? From your blog it seems like a lot of stuff you do is in English, and maybe just upping your Japanese input would help a bit? *shrug*

    1. Thanks Jen.

      I agree, it would be good to use japanese more, and for that reason I’ve been wanting to start a japanese video blog – i realise that a japanese written blog just requires too much time for me to do it regularly.

      I’m in the process of acquiring a camera that will hopefully encourage me to do this, and outsourcing sleep to a company in India.


  2. Fascinating… Of course it makes me wonder what the nature of these mistakes you are making are, although I suspect you would reply that’s not important…

    I think you might find it’s not just “language” that is an issue here. My experience is that the Japanese work and, dare I say it, think differently- their logic is so different than ours (and by “ours” I mean Westerners in general). When I worked for the Japanese government there was so much redundancy and overkill when it came to filling out forms, sending emails, passing info to various people who really had no reason to see it…it was very bureaucratic. Might be different where you are, at a private company.

    What’s the the “waratte wa ikenai”??? Who would scold you not to laugh/smile? I can remember fellow Japanese employees would very freely “scold” me about very personal things, such as “You should look more serious when so-and-so is speaking” or “you shouldn’t write so many notes during the department meetings”, stuff we would find ridiculous and offensive in the west. There’s an old stereotype (and no, I don’t like stereotypes any more than you do) about the Japanese, that they will hammer down the nail that sticks out, even down to the nitty gritty details of how you walk, talk, eat and wear your hair! I wonder if you’ve experienced this.

    I hope you can adjust to it and bear it Joseph! Many foreigners give up after a while, after they’ve tried to gain acceptance and I find they will never truly be accepted…the old gaijin complex.

    I know I don’t sound very politically correct and I bring up issues that I suppose no one is allowed to talk about, but it’s important to be truthful and honest about what can sometimes happen in Japan. Fortunately you have a hilarious sense of humor and seem to be able to roll with the punches!

    1. JC, thanks for your comment, and apologies for my taking so long to approve it.

      I feel pretty lucky to not have employers like yours – no-one here comments on personal stuff, and we are fortunate to have some key staff who are able to talk frankly in a way that I’m more familiar with.

      It is a fascinating experience though. Great education.

      …and a sense of humour is a must, otherwise I’d be taking my job to bed with me!

  3. Hi Joseph!

    This is useful info here – when you make language mistakes with friends it’s okay, but in business it’s a different kettle of fish. I remember selling some of my art work to a lady in Italy for 60 rather than 70 Euros, all because of an ‘s’ and a ‘t’ (sesanta = 60, setanta = 70). Dohhh!!

    I teach Business English in London at the moment, so you’ve reminded me that accuracy is very important.

    I’ve also found out that we speak three times slower than the Japanese, so catching things must still be tough even for someone with advanced language skills.

    1. Thanks again for your comment Emsk!

      It is incredible how such a small misunderstanding can lead to such big problems.

      I’ve been making a point of double checking I understand everything this past week – and it’s helped!

      Sorry to hear of your lost 10 euros!