Friday, October 10, 2014

Inappropriate questions for a newcomer at Japanese company

Hello everyone.

Today I read an article written by an american auther,
the title is "How To Survive At a Japanese Company".
I'd like to quote some sentences from that article here;

"You will be asked many many times how old you are, if you have a significant other,where you're from - and in extreme examples - if you can use chopsticks.
They'll also compliment your Japanese ability even if you have none.
Any foreigner who has lived here for a time knows the questions and protocol of which I speak.
Refuse outright to answer these questions, or better yet, lie your ass off.
It will add greatly to the mystery surrounding you.and drive them freakin' crazy in a good way.
Japanese love comic book fantasy. Fulfill that for them."

Phew, his remark tingles in my ears...
Maybe such questions are very unpleasant,very rude for foreign newcomers.
Unfortunately,many Japanese people can't understand that such question is very rude for new people.
Many Japanese tend to ask such questions, because they want to reveal his identity and share the privacy with everyone.
Many Japanese people are very qurious,they can't understand that such questions are "invasion of privaciy".
Our offensive inquisitiveness is incorrigible, if you are asked such questions in Japanese company,yes,lie your ass off! That is the best way to refuse outright to answer such rude questions.

Thank you for visiting this blog,
Please have a wonderful day.


  1. The questions don't seem rude to me, Kumiko, taking into account your culture. E.g. the question concerning the age. I know that the degree of politness shown to somebody depends on the age (and status). So, it is just normal to know the age of the person in front of you.

    Besides, Japanese (like Romanians I would say) leve in a collectiviste society, where (almost) nothing is a secret, everybody knows everything about everybody, or at least tries too. Americans, on the contrary, leave in an individualist society, with big competitivity, where knwledge is power, meaning that keeping just for you some information will make you more powerful than others. At least, sociologist Hall will explain the situation like this:)

  2. @Traveling Hawk,
    Thank you,Traveling Hawk!
    Yes that's true. In our society,"harmony" is important, rather than capitalistic competition.
    Your explanation is very persuasive and interesting.Divulging informations is sometimes loss to us,especially if we are in a competitive society.
    Our society likes "an advanced agreement" before argument, and dislikes competition. Our society like "being the same",and hate different thing.
    In our society,the level of mutual dependence is high, that is why we are so inquisitive.
    If there are similarities between your society and our is interesting.

  3. Interesting. Well, yes I can use chopsticks extremely well , I don't have a significant other , I'm from Belgium , as for my age , I just turned 48 . And thank you so much for complimenting me on my Japanese , you're too kind, I know it's terrible :)

  4. @Walter
    Hahahahaha(≧▽≦) Thank you,Walter,thank you for your detailed self-introduction! It's perfect!
    You should be very welcomed in Japanese company! And you can survive any closed-society here in Japan! I guarantee.