Finished reading “The Culture Map” by Erin Mayer.
I was familiar with some of the concepts and information in the book, but I felt it arranged it nicely and put it in perspective with good example.
As an Israeli living in Japan, you can guess how challenging and interesting it was to experience the cultural and communication differences. I managed to adjust and learn what is allowed, accepted by Japanese and how to “Read the Air”.
An excerpt that I deeply agreed with was about trying to adapt or rather adopt a behavior. When someone from a different culture is trying to imitate and blend in, which usually does not work.
For me, that was not an option. I realized very quickly that I cannot imitate the Japanese work behavior and communication. My culture was so different that any attempt to be Japanese will not pass. Cannot do it full heartedly and will always be perceived as strange.
I do speak softer, I do use say things like “it is difficult”, instead of saying “no way”.
Had a chance to ask colleagues and customers about my communication style, and most of the feedback I got was positive, that the customers appreciate the way I discuss and talk and do not expect me to be “Japanese” .
On the other hand, I have seen people trying to blend with Israelis, joke like Israelis, discuss like Israelis and in all cases, it felt strange. The Israeli group could not accept the foreigner as “one of the guys”.
After (almost) 12 years in Japan, I do not feel like I am doing an effort or adjusting. I have my original culture (which I sometimes struggle with), I have the Japanese culture and I usually fit in both