What Japanese Misunderstand about Foreigners: How to Deal with Them?

What will you do if you suddenly have to work as a team with a foreign colleague from tomorrow? If you are puzzled by the differences in culture and words, you may not be able to exert your usual power. However, I don’t want to hurt other people without knowing the tips to work well with foreigners, or build up frustration. So, this time, I would like to share “the tips for working with foreigners” by making use of my experience working with people in Asia, English and Europe for many years. It’s based on my real experience, so I’m glad if I can relax and enjoy it with “I’m right!”

Remember that “foreigners” are also the same person

First of all, what country image do you think of as a “foreigner”? Many people do not think of English-speaking foreigners. First of all, please discard the stereotype image! “Foreigners” may be Brazilians, Vietnamese, or Mozambicans.

 Foreigners are the same people

In the same way, let’s throw away the idea that “foreigners live in a completely different way of thinking from Japanese.” This idea is in some sense correct and in some ways wrong. All foreigners are the same “humans”. It’s basically the same thing that I’m glad to be happy. There are some people who say bad things in the shadows, others are good people who can keep themselves as jealousy.

 No! The same is true for foreigners. However…

Furthermore, Japanese people tend to misunderstand the idea that “foreigners clearly say Yes and No.” However, even if it is easy to say “Yes” that “I also think that it is correct”, but “No” that “I think that it is wrong I do not think” is similar to foreigners.
However, if the grounds for “No” are clear, I think foreigners tend to show “No” more clearly than Japanese. For example, when I was working with Australians and Americans, my Japanese colleague had asked me and me for a little chore. They said clearly when I tried to answer the OK and get on with the job. “I’m not going to do it. It’s not my job because I have not written the contract.” The task I asked was a really simple chore, and it was a small job like writing a contract. The Japanese hardly cares whether it is written in the contract when asked for work. But for them, the contract was absolute, and what they didn’t write was remarked “do not do it”.
If you say “No”, explain firmly the reason to support it. If you just repeat “No”, you will become a mere rag. I think that is the standard to say their “No”.

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Accepting others isn’t everything

Japanese people are not good at saying their own opinions. I do not say “Yes” or “No” clearly. The Japanese characteristic of … is not a bad thing at all. It is a Japanese “culture” to say and act in a way that takes into account what the other party thinks. It is important to keep in mind that foreigners’ thinking is correct and that Japanese thinking is not wrong.

 It is OK to show your own thoughts when dealing with foreigners

Let’s have the idea “I’m like this” and say clearly what you can not do “it’s a little difficult …”. You don’t have to say in a strong tone, “Don’t do! Even I am Japanese.” It is the same as us that foreigners are the same human beings and the way they say it is violent.
However, even if Japanese express their unwillingness along with the reason, most foreigners can accept the opinion surprisingly easily. It is a matter of course that it is a manner to respect people, even if the other party’s values ​​are different from their own, as it is natural that each person is different.

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What foreigners did for his colleagues

I also had this before. An older senior gave out to the foreigners all sweets of the same taste every day. Even if you don’t need it, don’t ask me “Don’t hold back!” Everybody felt a little stress that they were given the same taste of sweets every day. However, the other party is a senior older than me. I always made smiles and received candy saying “Thank you always”.

 French and Indian colleagues are the limit of their patience

It became unbearable to that, French and Indian colleagues. “I can not stand! I will say clearly tomorrow without giving the same thing anymore!” I was urged with great momentum, “You can say it with me, right?” But I thought that I could not stand against the senior’s favor in any way. So I said that I was in pots. “Hmm … I’m Japanese … It’s kind of difficult to refuse the sweets of older people … It’s hard to say …” But, are you disappointed …? For a while, I thought, a colleague said. You’re Japanese, but we don’t care because we’re different! We’ll leave it alone because we’ll be clear tomorrow!

 Recognized by communicating one’s own opinion

My intentions were respected so much that I was disappointed. Moreover, in the part that said one’s opinion firmly, it was evaluated conversely. It is not at all fearful to have a different idea in itself if you give reasons clearly. It is to be evaluated many times more than not being able to match and keep oneself with the other.

 The senior seems to have received a shock…

By the way, after that, my colleague said straight to her seniors, “It’s a little bit to eat the same thing every day … I don’t want it from now, but thank you.” The tone was kind, but it was shocked to be told clearly, and the seniors’ distribution of sweets has since ceased.

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Everybody has a different ideas


The Japanese are willing to work overtime, and the foreigners will return home immediately when their work is done … Certainly this idea is partially correct. However, there are many foreigners who are willing to work overtime. Some Americans and Canadians feel (it’s relatively small) that “It’s been a while since the end of the business day, so it’s a bit …”

 It is absolutely NG to eliminate the existence different from me!

What you absolutely can not do is to exclude people who have different values ​​and ideas from yourself because they are different. Because people are different and natural, being different can not be a reason to rule out. Foreigners think that the same good values ​​are the same as giving up thinking. If you are not convinced, you should just discuss it thoroughly.

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Whether you communicate with foreigners in Japanese, English, Chinese, or Portuguese, it doesn’t matter if you’re good or bad! I think that if you try to communicate your thoughts in words with yourself, foreigners will also communicate your thoughts firmly. Not communicating your thoughts is the most important thing that leads to a lower rating. Please refer to the contents introduced this time.

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