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First day at my new job in Japan October 17, 2006

Posted by Gaurav Dhiman in Japan Experiences.
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I landed in Japan for business trip on 14th Oct, took good rest that day as I got lot tired with long flight and then Shinkansen journey to Kobe (will write about Shinkansen in seperate entry). Before leaving Delhi, I got one room booked in weekly mansion here in Minatogawa-koen, known as Miwaboushi. One of my colleagues, Manish, did all arrangements for me before my arrival. He got the room booked and helped me a lot to get settled

Yesterday was my first day in NEC office, my new office here in Japan. It was much different experience for me, meeting Japanese people in their own style. To start the day I woke up early at 7:00 am (well man its really early for me 🙂 ). Got ready and catches up with other two Indian guys, Himangshu and Arvind, of my office. Those two have been leaving here in Japan for last 8 to 9 months and are much settled here. As I was not aware about the location of office, so I accompanied them. We took up the train (Seishin-Yamate Line) from Minatogawa-koen station and it took us exactly 32 mins to reach Seshin-chuo, the last station on the track and the place where NEC office is located in Kobe. Japan runs with the clock, by this I mean in Japan everything happens with time. These guys value time a lot. Things will happen at exact scheduled time not early and not later. It was my experience with train in Japan, they are exactly on time and never get delayed, as my mates told me. Its not only trains everything here is binded to clock and that is why planning events are much easy and accurate. Well we reached office at 8:45 am. Yes 8:45 am, its very early for me to be in office 😉 , in Cadence, my earlier company, I my routine was totally different. I used to reach office somewhere between 10 to 11 AM and used to stay in office till around 1 AM in night. I know it was a bad routine, but I had my freedom there 🙂 .

After reaching office, I first met our team’s language coordinator, Gouranga. He is a pleasant and helpful guy. He helped me getting my new office laptop and also introduced to the NEC manager Tanabe-san. I exchanged business cards with Tanabe-san, in Japanese style. Before leaving for Japan, I was given a short Japanese culture sensitization class. In that I was told how to interact with Japanese, exchange business cards with them and other such small things. Before landing in Japan, I did not take the learning of that class seriously and thought that it would not be much different in Japan, but after meeting Japanese in office I realized that they are much different in every sense, the way they interact, give respect to each other etc. They are humble, soft spoken and too. I will write about Japanese culture after some days, let me first gather some experiences here 🙂 .

Just to give you a small insight, let me give you an example. You need to be extra careful while exchanging cards or introducing yourself to Japanese. You need to hold the card in your both hands, with cards facing towards the person you are introducing to. Also accept their card with due respect in both your hands. Look at the card, read it and pronounce their name if possible. Never keep the card directly in your purse or pocket, as lot of other cultures do. If you will directly keep the card without reading it or giving enough attention to its details, Japanese consider that you are no giving much respect to them and their details and really feel bad about it. Also never put the card casually in your pocket as we sometimes do, they do not take that as good. They prefer that you give respect to their card, read the details on it then place the card eitehr in card holder or in right place like card book.

Although things like exchanging cards is a small and very casual thing for any other culture, but it’s not the same for Japanese. It gives them the first impression about you. Although Japan is now much open towards world and they have started realizing that they need to adapt to the global working culture, but at the same time they still honor and practice their values and traditions both in their business and daily life.

Another thing, which was new to me is their “bow”. They bow to greet each other and they bow a lot. Being an Indian, I am not in a habit of bowing, but I think it will become my habit in few days. These guys bow to show their respect and humbleness towards the other person. Even if you are a stranger to them, they will still bow. Japanese are too humble and soft-spoken.

I will keep on writing about my Japanese experiences as I face them. This is all for today.

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