Lessons Learned…

Greeting Rules…

 It has come to my attention, that my fast pace, multi- tasking, and life on the go style is hard in Japan.  One concept in particular that I would like to draw your attention to is the concept of greeting and how it can offend many other cultures- unintentionally.  For example, all the Japanese men my age that I’ve met.  Whenever I pass them, I have this natural tendency to wave, smile, and say “hi, how are you doing?  Sounds easy enough.  In America, we would simple say “good.  And you?”  And that would be it.  However, be aware when you are somewhere else in the world other than in the states.  To us, that’s just a simple greeting, but to other cultures, it could mean that we are seriously taking an interest in someone else’s day and how they are feeling.  If we don’t take the time to listen to them, we are considered inconsiderate and selfish.  I’ve had this problem here.  The Japanese men would literally stop what they are doing, and try to answer my greeting “how are you doing?”  This at first was very confusing and frustrating for me because I just wanted to say “hi” on the go…not actually stand for ten minutes while someone I’ve only met a couple of times spell out how their day really went

But then, I realized as my time in Japan progresses that this greeting concept had different meanings and that if I am “inconsiderate” enough to ask, I need to take the time to listen, even if it’s just that one time.  The next time, I should just say “hello” and move on with my day.  Though, how often do we really take the time to genuinely ask how someone is doing?  I honestly do NOT do that often because my perception is that if I don’t know someone well, they really shouldn’t be telling me their life story that day either.  So, what is the lesson that I’ve learned? I’ve learned that I have to consider where I am and who I am surrounded by.  Greeting another person is one of the most common things we do on a regular basis, so make good impressions!


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