Expert Info

Posted by
on 24 May 2011
How can I prepare myself for Japanese work culture? Are expats expected to maintain the same crazy, long hours that the Japanese do?
Anonymous (not verified) on 24 May 2011 - 08:49
Ah, the Japanese work culture - a masterful illusion at best. Mind you, they do uphold the painfully long hours that they are reputed for, but you'll soon find this monstrous chuck of time is merely spent completing mindless tasks and trying to maintain the actual appearance of working hard, meanwhile the reality is everyone is hardly working.

In Japan, there's tremendous emphasis placed on personal upkeep and outward representation. Meaning that work culture is dominated by (what a westerner may perceive) as small and meaningless tasks; elaborate systems of greeting, proper grooming, wearing the right clothes, reorganising the drawers of your desk, copying important documents, and keeping your work space spic and span.

As an expat, it's important to pay attention to these little ideosyncracies and respect them, or in the very least, learn patience for them. It's easy to get frustrated when the act of picking out a tie supersedes the importance of putting together a final report.

In the end, the Japanese are productive, but over an unneccessarily long time.

As an expat navigating the work culture in Japan you'll also have to get used to the idea that business and pleasure are no longer separate spheres. Socialising with co-workers is EXPECTED, and getting completely debauched and throwing your name away for the evening is, in a weird way, respected. If you don't party with your colleagues you risk being perceived as a poor team player.

Expat Health Insurance

Cigna Health Insurance

Cigna Global Health Insurance. 20% off premiums booked before 31st March

Medical insurance specifically designed for expats. With Cigna, you won't have to rely on foreign public health care systems, which may not meet your needs. Cigna allows you to speak to a doctor on demand, for consultations or instant advice, wherever you are in the world. They also offer full cancer care across all levels of cover, and settle the cost of treatments directly with the provider.

Get a quote from Cigna Global - 20% off

Moving Internationally?

Sirelo logo

International Movers. Get Quotes. Compare Prices.

Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.

Get your free no-obligation quotes from select removal companies now!