What do you think is the most difficult thing on earth?
For me, it’s not getting A’s in all the GCE subjects, not getting to the top of Mt Everest, but talking business with Japanese people. And I’m sure many foreigners who have ever lived in Japan would agree with me.
So how difficult is it actually?
Japanese people have a different concept when it comes to, say , working hours. If you’r’e told you’ll be working 7 hours a day from 9am to 4pm, you’ll have to be careful because it doesn’t mean that you’ll be required to stay in the workplace for 7 hours., you may well have to arrive at 8am and finish at 4.30 or 5pm. How does the Math work here? They may tell you there’s one hour for lunch, 30 min recess, 15 min preparation before work! It’s unbelievable when I was invited to teach some local Japanese adults English at a community centre which is voluntary based (transport expenses reimbursed of course). They told me the lesson starts at 7pm but it last for 1.5 hours. So I thought it’d still be okay as I can get home before 9pm to prepare for work for the next day. It ended up the lesson last for 2 hour and it finished at 9! I though HOW COME? They told me there’s 15 min recess and though the lesson should finish at 9pm formally speaking, finishing 15 mins early is okay. That’s what they meant 1.5 hours!
They also have a different understanding for advertisements. A banner in the street says something like ‘key money and deposit waived for new residents’. But as you call the agent and talk to them. You’ll find out you still need to pay everything! They may tell you a story like it will be redeemed to you in terms of rent deduction after you will have lived there for 2 years. The worst case can be: they keep their mouths shut and ask you to pay everything until you’ve moved in. And there’re numerous other instances of this kind. Anyways, what they said usually turns out to be something quite different and shocking. Be careful!