Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Working in Japan

Getting work in any foreign country can be difficult if you don't speak the language. Japan is no exception. But as the universe would have it, an opportunity was laid in my path, and I jumped at it.  So, now I have a job in Japan.

My Japanese Business Card
Although the language barrier exists, 99% of my work is based in English. Knowing Japanese would help a lot, but I'm getting by with the few phrases I know so far, and am starting to pick up a few more.

Working in Japan is different from any other experience I've had thus far.

First, is the dress code. Business attire consists of dark muted colors (black, navy blue or gray), with very plain button down shirts, although ruffles on shirts seem to be OK for women.  There are no bare legs in Japan. If you choose to wear a skirt, there will be pantyhose. Also, anything considered trendy is not acceptable. Although my office is not a strict dress code environment, I do my best to dress the part, pantyhose included.  The silver lining of dressing up for work every day is definitely dressing down for everything else.

If language and a dress code aren't enough of a challenge, there are the customs to contend with. There are very specific ways to present and accept business cards for example, and also to serve tea or coffee. I have a very helpful coworker who coaches me on such things, and for that I am exceedingly grateful.

Thus far work is going well. I do my best to be competent at what I know and ask questions about the things I don't know. Some days are more successful than others, but I'm happy to have the work. It keeps me occupied, gives me a place to go and most importantly offers a rarefied experience that I simply never truly expected to have in life.

I do so enjoy Lemonade.

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