I would like to uncover here some tips learned during my "livings" and experiences abroad
lets start with Japan " how to behave in society or business"
-Do not say "NO",
Say "Maybe or I will think of it or hummm!", it is almost the same .Very often when Japaneese do not understand or disagree something ,they put their hand in front of their face and move it soflty right and left.
-Never contradict directly your interlocutor in public , you will make him loose face which is a kind of way of insulting him. Honour is something of the foundation of japaneese culture.Appearance is more important than Truth
-Do not call someone with his first name , always use his last name + San
-Avoid physical contact (exept maybe handshakind but prefer the bending) Never put your hand or arm on someone's shoulder. Do not look japaneese straight in the eyes.
-Do not open doors to women or do not let them enter somewhere before you (as frenchman quite sorry to have to folllow this rule). When I lived in Japan I was quite chocked in the companies I worked to see how generally women were ordered , and how they were running to proceed what they were asked. This was 10 years backwards I hope it is changing
-Do not make big gestures or speak loudly
-Do not complimente someone in public
- Bring a Gift (omiyage) but not too important ones (It would appear as corruption). Give it with your two hands like your vivit cards and bend.
-Take your shoes off when entering by someone.(there is always slippers waiting for you)
If you are invited, before starting your meal say "thank you " ("itadakimasu") Do not play with you sticks and do not use the same sticks for serving and eating. Do not leave yous stick in your food.
- Smile (but with respect) , Meals are often the occasion of very good laughtings. Try to learn some basics in Japaneese you can be sure they will love it and it will make them laugh (I learned Japaneese 2 years and even my japaneese was very poor it opened great opportunities with them). If you are a women put your hand over you face when you laught
Firsto f all to communicate properly in Japan , you have to keep a very high control of your emotions. Japaneese do not like someone showing its feelings or acting differently from "the group". The communication follow a formal path and to act differently is consider as unpolite.
Japaneese hate conflicts, whenever possible they try to find a good compromise.
These advises are not always or fully in use amoung the young generation who act and react west style, anyway following this would certainly give you better chance to be welcome in Japan.
I would like to recommend interesting view of Japan: The excellent movie "Lost in Translation" (from Sofia Coppola with Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray ) and the books "Stupeur et tremblement" (Amelie Nothomb) and "Geisha" (Arthur Golden)
Yes hai No iie Please (to offer) dozo Please (to,ask) onegai shimasu Thank arigato gozaimasu Hello (morning) ohayo gozaimasu Hello (afternnon) konnichiwa God Bye sayonara