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Adice from experienced travellers to Japan?


Picklefactory
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Hi folks I know a number of you have travelled to Japan and I have my first business visit to the country in a couple of weeks time, and just wondering if there is anything in particular that caught any of you unawares on your first trip? Etiquette? Food? Currency etc?

My company would prefer to provide me with US dollars as currency to exchange there, as we rarely travel to Japan, so any spare is a nuisance, I don't envisage any issue with exchange of $ to Yen, but thought I'd ask.

Food doesn't worry me too much, I enjoy pretty much anything, but again, you never know if there's something to watch out for.

Any advice gratefully received.

I'll be passing through Tokyo and then spending the week working in Komatsu in the Ishikawa Prefecture (Well away from Fukushima, thankfully)

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daz60

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Because of my interest in history and movies i found this site a while ago,it appears very informative.I myself have not been but certainly this seems a good start,for me anyway.Love Japanese movies.

Japan guide

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Forum Editor

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The business card thing is a massively important one. Take lots,as john bunyan suggests, and make sure that one side is printed in Japanese. Present your card japanese side first with both hands. When you receive a business card, read it, don't just slip it into a pocket - that's rude, and is taken as an indication that you don't think the person is worth remembering.

If you attend meetings take a note pad and make copious notes - it goes down very well. Always arrive early for meetings - the Japanese are very concerned with courtesy. Always wear a dark suit and white shirt with tie for meetings. Let your host tell you where to sit. They are fussy about who sits where at meetings.

Whatever you do, don't pull out a hanky and blow your nose anywhere in public - the Japanese consider it a revolting habit.

You'll enjoy your trip, but watch the alcohol - many Japanese business people are heavy drinkers.

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Picklefactory

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Thanks everyone.

I'm curious to know what is an Ok way to blow your nose? Do you have to go hide behind shelves in a shop maybe?

Copius meeting notes is a given for me, I have the memory span of a goldfish, so I write eveything down all the time.

The dark suit thing won't happen, this is purely a technical trip, I'm there to approve the commissioning of a specialist machine, so it's work clothing for me as I'll be involved with the machine setup in their factory, not a suit environment.

Would never have thought of the business card thing, I'll get that sorted.

Really glad I asked this question here, lots of good points.

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Forum Editor

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"what is an Ok way to blow your nose?"

In private.

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spuds

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You might need to rethink your black suit and working clothes views, because they are the hosts and you are the ambassador for your company and possibly the UK, and they would most likely want to show gratitude for your services. That would also include eating-out and accommodation provisions?.

Don't do what a friend of mine did a few years back. He's a Pro boxer, and was in Japan in a championship fight (he lost). Took his food steamer with him, because of his strict diet and food regime. If he had asked me first, I would have informed him about food and food steamers in that part of the world. Nothing like having unwanted excess baggage :O)

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Picklefactory

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spuds

I haven't gone into it too deeply, but they aren't entirely the hosts, in so far as they are a supplier to us and we are purchasing a rather expensive piece of kit from them. The working clothes will be essential, as much of the testing/trials etc I need to do, to approve the process, are very hands on in a machining environment, it would not be possible at all suited and booted.

Evening attire, will obviously be somewhat different.

I'm quite looking forward to the food........but not the travelling.

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sunnystaines

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avoid arriving at the airport [haneda others may be the same] late at night as all public transport closes early and late taxis are very expensive.

although many understand english only the very confident will try and speak it to a westerner.

enjoy your trip

severe electrican storms in tokyo this week

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Picklefactory

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sunnystaines

"severe electrican storms in tokyo this week"

I sincerely hope those are gone by the time I fly, I'm not a keen flyer any more, strange really, as I used to really look forward to flights, but as I've got older, I've grown to loath it with a passion.

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Forum Editor

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If you're flying direct you have twelve hours to endure, and if you loathe flying it isn't going to be fun.

Try to reserve an aisle seat if you're flying economy, preferably on one of the pairs at the back of the aircraft. If you can get that seat there's a fighting chance that the other seat will be empty - it makes a big difference. Distract yourself as much as possible - books, work, films, and try to avoid clock watching. The worst stage of the trip comes when you are six hours into it; by then you're thoroughly bored, and contemplating another six hours can be depressing.

At that point in a flight I set my watch to the local destination time, and then I try not to look at it. If you're one of the lucky people who can sleep soundly in an aircraft you have an advantage. I can't, so I cat-nap and read. Boredom is the big problem facing the long-haul flyer.

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zzzz999

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I have been to Japan several times on business. Luckily I have had our people in Japan be with me to limit my ability to mess up. However, what I did pick up is, firstly be on time, do not be early, do not be late, just be on time.

Take plenty of business cards with you; you will need them.

The Japanese do not expect westerners to formally bow, they expect a handshake although we always also offered a small bow when shaking hands.

If out for a formal dinner, do not top up your own drink, that will be done by someone else. You are expected to watch for your fellow diners needing their glasses topped up and offer to do so.

As has been said, be curteous and friendly and you will get by. Laugh at everyone's jokes :-)

If travelling by train, they are almost always bang on time. During rush hour watch out for women only trains.

Apart from that, enjoy it, its a brilliant experience and a wonderful country.

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