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Teachers' blog


【Being a Japanese Teacher at Japanese Companies—Part 1 (Evaluation Time)】



(Contributed by Yuka)

Being a Japanese Teacher at Japanese Companies—Part 1 (Evaluation Time)


Today, I would like to talk about communication, misunderstanding others, and communication barriers.


I teach Japanese to managers and executives at Japanese companies. Teaching is so fun to me. Sometimes, I hear of many problems that are cultural and I can help solve them, such as communication problems between Japanese and American people.


It is April now, and Japanese companies conduct evaluations for each employee. This is very important, because if you performed well last year, your salary will definitely be increased this year; but, if your performance was average, your salary will stay the same. Some are happy, some are not. One of the reasons why some underperform is the communication problems between Japanese managers and American employees. We all have different personalities. Being from different cultures makes it hard to communicate with each other.


In my opinion, language and culture connect with each other. Japanese is not a clear language because of its symbols, but English is. For example, “I would like to talk about something” in Japanese is simply “talk about” or “iitai.” Most of my students will ask “Talk about what? Who do you want to talk to?” As you can see, Japanese does not have to have a subject or object sometimes.


Similarly, in the office, a Japanese manager will not tell you what you need to work on or need to improve regarding your work sometimes. Unfortunately, this can cause you to receive a lower salary evaluation and this can be upsetting. To understand each other takes effort; you need to show that you are willing to understand the differences. Fortunately, all my students show Japanese managers they are interested in Japanese culture, and most of them get a salary increase.


Additionally, I think, learning Japanese culture is one of the tickets to moving up in Japanese corporations.

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