You can never be too prepared for new cultures!
Before going to Tokyo, I read some facts on Japanese culture. One was to arrive 15 mins early for a meeting; apparently, arriving on time can be construed as being late. Another is not saying NO.
So, I planned to be at my first meeting 15 mins before arranged (landing 4hrs prior, from a 12hr flight). The taxi dropped me off. All signage was in Japanese; so I rang the buzzer, explained who I was, where I was from and who I’d come to see. I was told to go to 6th floor. I met with a lady at reception and repeated the details. She nodded and lead me to a table.
I waited… 12 mins later a man approached and asked what I wanted. Turns out he was the wrong man and this was not my meeting. The office I needed was next door.
I made it in time (not 15 mins early, but on time), to the MINUTE (which may have been construed as late?) Had I not read about being 15 mins early, I really WOULD have been late!
1. Read up on cultures before visiting another country
2. Don’t trust confirmation from the lady at reception
(And… why do westerners who say they love sushi spend the entire meal picking at what they can/cannot/should not eat and telling you it will taste fine when you dip it in the sauce?!)
Japan: Wonderful country! Great experience!
AUTHOR: Stephen Hamlet