The “Salary Man” Lifestyle: A Japanese Work Ethic?

It has been debated that overload working has become a ‘big issue’ as Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world. After researched online, I found that there is a word to describe Japanese male who is extremely busy and live under a huge pressure everyday— the ‘Salary Man’. Is this about the natural personalities of Japanese who are always hardworking and diligent to get success? Obviously not, who wants to do countless work without enough breaks and under so much pressure in daily life? It is more about an issue around cultural values and traditions which were ingrained since ancient times.

FILE - In this March 29, 2013 file photo, people cross a street in Tokyo. Legislation that will be submitted during the parliamentary session that began Jan. 26, 2015 aims to ensure workers get the rest they need. In a break with past practice, it will become the legal responsibility of employers to ensure workers take their holidays. Japan has been studying such legislation for years. There has been more impetus for change since 2012 as a consensus developed that the health, social and productivity costs of Japan’s extreme work ethic were too high. Part of the problem has been that many people fear resentment from co-workers if they take days off, a real concern in a conformist culture that values harmony. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama, FIle)

Gender roles in Japan

 In most western countries, the gender equality has always been a significant topic because female should be treated as the same as male; while in Japan, women are considered to become housewife after marriage and female have the responsibility to do the housework, take care of kids and learn multiple skills such as cooking, flower arrangement and tea ceremony. In contrast, male seemed to dominate the business world in Japan and they are responsible for making money for the whole family. That’s how the perception about gender roles became traditional thoughts and handed down from ancient periods to nowadays.

As nowadays there seemed to be increased young people under work pressure and being unhealthy due to the competition in work environment, some claimed that this type of work ethic needs to be discouraged by government through implementation of series laws and strategies. From my perspective, the ‘big issue’ could be dressed through compulsory laws, but the challenging task is to change people’s cultural perception. Maybe what we expect is to encourage women be more independent and get engaged in work even after marriage in Japan.

Reference:

http://www.nupoliticalreview.com/?p=2660#sthash.Cs2o6OoQ.dpuf

 

Slurp your noodles loudly but keep quiet on the train?

When travelling to a new place, you might encounter a “culture shock” which could make you frustrating and embarrassing. But it could also be interesting as you will come across something new. Let’s go and explore a different Japan!

  • Dining Etiquette

There are some similarities about table manners between Japan my home country China, for example we do not play with chopsticks while eating and point your chopsticks at others which are very impolite. But when I searched online, I found some uncommon things and I was a bit shocked. The first thing is never pass food with your chopsticks, if doing so it would remind Japanese of the ritual of passing cremated bones between chopsticks at funerals. The second custom is in Japan you can never waste any food and if you ask waiters to take home all the leftovers at restaurants it is seemed to be inappropriate.

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Another difference is when you have Ramen in Japan; you need to slurp noodles loudly. The louder you eat, the yummier your food is. And eating noodles too quietly could be seen as lack of enjoyment of the food.

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  • Keep to the beaten track

It is well known that Japanese are extremely mannered as they follow rules everywhere. It seemed to be unbelievable that you aren’t allowed to make phone calls on the train or bus, people talk in low volume or keep silent in public area because speak loudly can be a rude behaviour.

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There are so many things we can barely understand and sometimes we might feel confused, but what we need to do while travelling is to embrace culture differences and enjoying them instead of complaint. Each culture is a unique identity, just experience, indulge in and be challenged by a new place.

Reference:

Rodgers, G. (n.d.). Japanese Dining Etiquette and Table Manners. Retrieved May 11, 2015.

http://groupthink.jezebel.com/should-i-call-you-out-on-your-table-etiquette-1631135235

http://wanderlust-japan.com/japanese-manners/

http://globeguide.ca/2013/10/10-fascinating-things-about-tokyo/

The essence of Japan

There exist stereotypes for every kind of people and the Japanese are no exception. As with many misconceptions, some of them are based on some truth that has been exaggerated to the extreme, but some of the misconceptions about Japan are downright outlandish.

When asking about outsiders’ perspectives toward Japan, some people would say “Don’t go to Japan! They are so crazy, they have killed a lot of people during the world war II and they are crucial because they even eat whales and dolphins!” I have watched a documentary film named The Cove which analyzes and questions dolphin hunting practices in Japan. The film is a call to action to halt mass dolphin kills, change Japanese fishing practices, and to inform and educate the public about the risks, and increasing hazard, of mercury poisoning from dolphin meat.

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To be honest, I have to admit that before I search on the internet and collect enough information about Japan, I have some misconceptions toward Japan as well. I thought that Japanese people are kind of crucial and indifferent because the sins they made. But the fact is not like what I think of Japan, the reality is that the majority of Japanese are very friendly, kind and caring.

While Japanese people are much more likely than others to dine on meat from whales and dolphins, it’s probably not as common as you think. In fact, Japanese people are really nice and polite, they will greet and bow to other people every time. And nowadays they are well known for their goodness as they often help people when someone is in trouble.
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In a word, while we are travelling, the first thing we need to do in advance is that learn this country from both inside and outside perspectives and avoid judging others based on your own standards.

Enjoy Matcha At Nana’s Green Tea Cafe

Nana’s Green Tea Cafe — melting by Matcha

When visiting Japan for the first time, the ‘Tokyo Sky Tree’ has obviously become one of the biggest destinations for international tourists. And after finished, you must be eager to take a break and have a great afternoon teatime right? Don’t be hesitated to get into Nana’s Green Tea Cafe if you are a big fan of matcha! Nana’s Green Tea is a kind of niche cafe that famous for drinks and desserts made from Japanese traditional matcha (green tea). It is a popular matcha chain established 14 years ago in Japan and nowadays it was called the “STARBUCKS OF JAPAN”.

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Concept of Modern Japanese Tea House

The warm atmosphere woods, and well-ventilated white curtain reflect a classic Japanese style. Each table is separated with white thin curtain. It is a very stylish place and you can feel their concept: the modern Japanese Tea House.

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When you walk inside and looked at the menu, you might feel quite confused because there were only Japanese words on it. But don’t worry because the pictures there are vivid and really attracted so there is no barrier between the communications of FOOD all over the world!

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Dating with SUSHI~!

Symbol Of Japan—Sushi

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When it comes to the symbol of Japan, there are so many things we can associate with, mount Fuji, cherry blossoms, hello kitty……For me, the most attractive one is definitely sushi, a representative cuisine of Japan. I have to admit that I am a food admirer. To me, travelling is not just going from places to places, taking pictures and posting them on Instagram; it is an enjoyable experience through searching good eats I can’t find at home. When the first time I watched Shinya Shokudo, a drama talking about cooking, I was so impressed that how a chef can make the tiny sushi like an art.

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