Last week, a company hired me to do a training on “Women in Japan”. They asked me to talk about this topic because foreign women in their company had expressed challenges related to culture shock and gender.
It made me wonder...is culture shock the same for both foreign men and women who come to Japan?
If it is the same, then why do some women assume that common cultural frustrations are gender-related?
And if the experiences are different, what would those...
Why do Japanese people hesitate to take paid vacations?
Depending on the company, Japanese people are entitled to take around 20 paid vacation days throughout the year. While most Japanese people take off public holidays (For New Years, Golden week (early May), and Obon (mid August)), the majority of people end up taking only half of the remaining paid holidays provided.
Why don’t Japanese people take advantage of their holidays? There are two main reasons.
The first is a worry...
Pocky is a popular Japanese snack; it's a stick-like cookie covered in chocolate. Have you tried it? Pocky has it's own special day in Japan, let's find out when that is:
When is Pocky Day?
a) March 3rd (3/3), because 3 pm is snack time
b) June 6th (6/6), because Pocky was invented in 1966
c) November 11th (11/11), because Pocky looks like the number “1”
The answer is c) November 11th, because Pocky looks like the number “1”!
Pocky day is celebrated mostly among...
Halloween is popular in Japan…but why?
Even though Halloween did not originate in Japan, Japan has become one of the top destinations for travelers looking to have the best Halloween Celebration. It all started back in 2000 when Tokyo Disneyland decided to host a Halloween event, an opportunity so popular that it spread to other theme parks and caught on to the general population.
The reason why Halloween has become so popular in Japan is because of the cosplay (dress up)...
Which style is inappropriate to wear in traditional Japanese companies for women?
b) Dresses and skirts that show your body line
c) Tank tops
The answer is….all of the above!
Dress code of course applies to the company and industry you’re working in, but in any case, there are general rules of thumb to follow to avoid questionable attire.
Here are some dos and don’ts:
Do wear stockings when wearing a skirt to cover bare skin
Don’t wear anything...
How come some Japanese restaurants will sell you a bento (a takeout meal), but they won’t allow you to take home your leftovers if you’ve dined in?
(Note: This might be changing due to COVID-19 encouraging restaurants to be more flexible!)
Within Japan, it is considered safe to sell cooked food even if it has been sitting in a shop for hours. Most vendors are efficient about making sure that food has not been sitting out for an unsafe amount of time, and Japanese people...
What are 4 typical things a Japanese person might do if he or she misses the last train home?
Since Japan has a strong drinking culture, it is not unusual for people to miss the last train to take them home. But they don’t panic because there are many reasonable options for them to spend the night until the first morning train runs.
Manga kissas (24-hour manga book store) and capsule hotels are cheap and convenient options. They have showers, changing rooms, and your own box to...
What is the meaning of “kenson”? Why is it important in Japanese culture?
One of the important practices in Japanese society is “kenson”, which is the culture of humbling/minimizing yourself. It is important to not appear as intelligent or as confident as you actually are. You always want to keep yourself at the bottom of the ladder.
This culture is practiced from a young age. Kids probably learn to humble themselves when they start school. If you are too...
Name 4 ways that you can use your Suica or Pasmo card, other than for transportation.
Suica & Pasmo cards are primarily used for transportation on trains, buses, and taxis. But there are other ways to use your Suica/Pasmo card for quick payments. Here are 4 other common ways:
Station vending machines
You might also see Suica/Pasmo payments available at select shops, primarily within stations.
You can buy Suica/Pasmo at the...
Every August, Japanese people celebrate Obon. What exactly is the Obon festival?
Obon is a Japanese Buddhist tradition celebrated every year to honor the spirit of ancestors. Japanese people believe that during Obon, the soul of their ancestors returns to their hometown.
The celebration takes place in mid-August over three days. Despite Obon being a sacred time of the year, it is not a public holiday. Because of this, you might want to check if any venues you’d like to visit are...