Assignment 5 due January 8 Thursday

Post your comments and feelings on differences between your culture and Japanese culture.

This is not a blog marathon. Share your thoughts and feelings. You can interact with others’ comments as well.

Due 11am on 1/8/09.

11 Responses to “Assignment 5 due January 8 Thursday”

  1. Julie says:

    There were several differences Japanese culture that I noticed when I was there compared

    to American/Chinese culture.

    -The baths (Ofuro) or hot springs (onsen): They love to take it together naked separated

    by gender. One thing to remember is to take a shower or get clean before jumping in the

    big tub. Also, if you are not feeling well, do not stay in too long.

    -The bowing: It is everywhere. I know someone who said that in the military it was

    considered rude to bow to your superiors in America. They even got punished for it. I

    think of this when I bow sometimes and find it kind of amusing and fascinating how

    cultures can be so different.

    -The present: I feel that in Chinese culture it is customary and polite to do the same

    that is done in Japan: giving gifts and returning something of equal value/importance or

    more. At weddings also, we give out gifts and thank our guests. This is not so in

    America. The younger generation is more about getting gifts. I think also if you get a

    gift from someone though, you still do tend to remember them next time when you are

    shopping for gifts if there is still good “wa” between you of course.

    -Toilets and towels: Besides the squatting toilets, all other toilets are electronic.

    They have buttons for music, to squirt water to clean you, and separate flushing methods

    depending on what you went to the bathroom for. They usually never use paper towels to

    wipe their hands either since it is seen as unsanitary. There are usually hand driers but

    more often they carry their own towels to dry off.

    -The shoes: The students have separate shoes for outdoors and indoors. Since a lot of

    schools (or all, I’m not sure) wear uniforms, they generally all have the same shoes too.

    So, what they do is mark it on the back with their name in Kanji. I think if the US

    adopted this, we would be a more cleanly conscious nation. Especially for schools like

    Vermont that get so much snow, taking off shoes would eliminate a lot of mess throughout

    the school during the day.

    -The mothers: They are really patient with their kids. I have to give them credit. I’m

    not saying that US parents aren’t like that, but I’m just saying a lot of Chinese parents

    are not like that. I feel like US parents are half and half.

    -The festivals: They have so many! I like it and feel it contributes to the growth and

    cheer of the country. It is amazing to be in a place where traditional and modern

    cultures are really always butting heads. Even most major businesses close for three

    whole days in observation of New Years. That does not happen in the US.

    Thanks,

    Julie

  2. Ben says:

    One of the largest differences I noticed between Japanese culture and American culture is in both business and individual mentality. In America, decisions are reached quickly by individual people, and those decisions may freely be different from the rest of the group, even loudly proclaimed! In Japanese culture, decisions are reached with the group in mind, slowly and with consideration for all involved. If someone has a differing opinion to start, they share it in a respectful manner with the group, and then fully accept the decision made by the group as a whole.

    While doing research for my project, I have found one possible explanation for this radically different approach. Rice farming is a very intense process, requiring many hands for a long period of time. To feed a village, it takes the whole village working together as a group.

  3. Josh Typrowicz-Cohen says:

    1. One of the biggest differences I felt from watching the in-class videos was the business culture. I feel that the US put heavy emphasis on working hard to become successful, but the Japanese seem to take this to a whole new level. Working over twelve hours a day doesn’t seem very healthy nor does skipping out on family activities, why have a family if you can’t be around much? This again is another problem that can be seen in America as well.

    2. Another big difference is the steps people take to make sure others are comfortable such as always complimenting even when in disagreement, pouring beer for one another and exchanging business cards all around so everyone feels important.

  4. Sean Mulcahy says:

    What are some big differences between Japan and the US you ask, well for one thing Japanese culture values conformity, not sticking out from the crowd. There’s even a saying in Japan that the nail that sticks out gets beaten down. The idea seems to be that if you stick out in the crowd, if you are very individualistic and not with the flow of things you are a trouble maker and dangerous to the balance of the society. In America we celebrate individuality, encourage different lifestyles (at least we say we do… some of us…) and support the right to be as unique as one wants to be without being an absolute social outcast. Another thing is the deal with shoes and indoors. In Japan it is absolutely taboo to wear outside shoes in the house, not entirely different from the US, but in Japan one has separate house slippers, bathroom slippers, tub cleaning slippers and absolutely no footwear of any kind is allowed in certain parts of the house. It’s the same at a restaurant, you take your shoes off outside, are given slippers to take you from the doorstep to the waiting area and then you remove those slippers to go and eat.

  5. Carly Krasner says:

    One big difference I have noticed between Japanese culture and American culture is in business practices. Japanese business practices are very strict and rigid and conform to a strict hierarchy. For example, the order in which businesspeople sit is very specific, the higher-most ranking sits furthest from the door. Also, Japanese do not make any decisions on the spot and they speak very vaguely to avoid making someone feel u comfortable. American businesspeople are typically more informal and open. Americans focus more on “time is of the essence” and time must not be wasted and therefore most meetings result in definitive decisions being made.

    Ultimately, the Japanese are more conscious of courtesy and being courteous to others versus Americans.

    Another similarity is the personal and family life. Older generations of Japanese believe that the woman’s role is strictly defined to the house and the man is the breadwinner. The wife is the first up in the morning and the last to bed at night. Husband and wife do not show each other emotional feelings through words or gestures, rather, these feelings are believed to be understood. Conversely, Americans are typically more open with their feelings and affection is often times shown to spouses in public and private.

    Lastly, Japanese value the preservation of culture more importantly than Americans. Their culture is richer and more emphasis is placed on community. Perhaps Americans have lost this because the US is a melting pot of various culture and original cultural traditions have become lost.

  6. Yan Chen says:

    1) As I have mentioned earlier, karaoke in Japan is a way for Japanese to escape from the stringent reality as well as a typical place for people to gather to know their colleagues and workers better. However, in China karaoke is more of a way to entertain and have fun with family and friends. It is very rare to go to karaoke box with your boss and your business colleagues.

    2) Usually the Chinese people found it unacceptable to have more than one religious belief or to have things done in different religious ways for the same person or family.

    However, many people in Japan belong to two ore more religious groupings without feeling inconsistent.

    3) In China, it is up to the couple to decide who to keep all the money or run the household finance, not necessarily have to be the women as in Japan.

  7. Sarah Castillo says:

    While it is accepted in Japan to follow two or more religions, in Ecuador and other Latin American cultures people have a different way of viewing this. While a person there is only supposed to have one religious belief, I feel that many people have customs that stream off other religious/spiritual practices. So while I may be Catholic, I would do a spiritual cleansing on New Years and call it a habit rather then admitting that I’m following an indigenous spiritual practice.

    In regards to greetings, it is considered impolite and sometimes rude not to shake hands or hug the person you are meeting. While Japanese culture revolves around the “community”, their body languages portrays too much of a distance for a Ecuadorian culture.

  8. Julie Kwok says:

    There were several differences Japanese culture that I noticed when I was there compared to American/Chinese culture.

    -The baths (Ofuro) or hot springs (onsen): They love to take it together naked separated by gender. One thing to remember is to take a shower or get clean before jumping in the big tub. Also, if you are not feeling well, do not stay in too long.

    -The bowing: It is everywhere. I know someone who said that in the military it was considered rude to bow to your superiors in America. They even got punished for it. I think of this when I bow sometimes and find it kind of amusing and fascinating how cultures can be so different.

    -The present: I feel that in Chinese culture it is customary and polite to do the same that is done in Japan: giving gifts and returning something of equal value/importance or more. At weddings also, we give out gifts and thank our guests. This is not so in America. The younger generation is more about getting gifts. I think also if you get a gift from someone though, you still do tend to remember them next time when you are shopping for gifts if there is still good “wa” between you of course.

    -Toilets and towels: Besides the squatting toilets, all other toilets are electronic. They have buttons for music, to squirt water to clean you, and separate flushing methods depending on what you went to the bathroom for. They usually never use paper towels to wipe their hands either since it is seen as unsanitary. There are usually hand driers but more often they carry their own towels to dry off.

    -The shoes: The students have separate shoes for outdoors and indoors. Since a lot of schools (or all, I’m not sure) wear uniforms, they generally all have the same shoes too. So, what they do is mark it on the back with their name in Kanji. I think if the US adopted this, we would be a more cleanly conscious nation. Especially for schools like Vermont that get so much snow, taking off shoes would eliminate a lot of mess throughout the school during the day.

    -The mothers: They are really patient with their kids. I have to give them credit. I’m not saying that US parents aren’t like that, but I’m just saying a lot of Chinese parents are not like that. I feel like US parents are half and half.

    -The festivals: They have so many! I like it and feel it contributes to the growth and cheer of the country. It is amazing to be in a place where traditional and modern cultures are really always butting heads. Even most major businesses close for three whole days in observation of New Years. That does not happen in the US.

  9. danielle says:

    Our culture differs with respect to quality time. I agree that we do not spend much time with coworkers after a long day. Yet, it was more different for me to see karaoke booths that people use as if they are photobooths. That phenomena has not hit america except for photography. Americans seem to not enjoy spending quality time with friends in such a close proximity. Also, in Japan the rental of pets is normal. In the U.S. it is important to a family to pick a pet and perhaps save it from being killed and to care for it for its entire life. This pet usually becomes a big part of the family, whereas in Japan, it is a less personable sort of accomodation.

  10. Fiona says:

    1) One can make sound during eating, esp. noodle eating, in Japan, which is considered rude in Germany and some regions in China.

    2) In most colleges, teachers move from class to class in Japan while students change rooms for his classes in Germany.

    3) The family concept within a company or firm is different from that in Germany, because in Germany, after work, one is on his own and doesn’t necessarily have to hang out with his colleagues.

  11. David Ausmann says:

    -One striking difference between Japanese culture and that of my own is Religion. I am Christian while many Japanese are Buddhist, Shinto or both.

    -School and work life appear to be drastically different. School and the workplace are very structured in Japan. An extreme emphasis is placed on respect. In America we value respect and education but our system seems very different from Japan’s. From the outside it appears that many Japanese are living under a law of excellence.

    -My family life is much different than what was portrayed in the video we watched in class. My father was usually always home for family dinner and we help my mom with chores (though not as much as we should).