Few countries around the world contain such a crazy mix of modern day comfort and old world charm quite like Japan. This archipelago nation is at once familiar yet weird, futuristic yet traditional. Yet for all its seeming contradictions, Japan remains one of the most important players in the global market. If you’re heading to Japan on an important business trip, and want to learn some local customs, then read on. Here are three things you should know when visiting the land of the rising sun for business.
Learn the Bow
The bow is big in Japan. Even today, you’re more likely to see people bowing to each other rather than shaking hands. In fact, you’ll probably first see “the bow” on your flight over to Japan (click here for competitive business class airfares to Japan). If you really want to make a great impression on your Japanese clients (or potential business partners) and show lots of respect, then learn the bow. In Japan, the duration and inclination of the bow is proportional to the amount of respect owed. If you’re doing business in Japan, a slight bow of a few seconds should suffice to show enough respect. After all, you’re a foreigner, and most Japanese won’t expect you to be too familiar with the intricacies of the art form. The simple fact that you attempt the bow will work wonders in getting a positive reaction from them.
Image is so very Important
We all know how important image is in the business world. A classy business suit, stylish shoes, and being well-groomed can make all the difference to whether or not you close the deal and get the client. When it comes to doing business in Japan, image and how you present yourself is about 100 times more important. Before booking a flight to Japan, perhaps with a reputable corporate travel agent – such as FCm Travel Solutions – pay a visit to your tailor and get a new suit made up. The Japanese are big on image and presentation, and the better you look, the better your chance of sealing the deal.
Don’t Fill your Own Glass
The Japanese love to cap a busy business meeting with a few beers at a local bar or pub. If you’re in Japan on business, then no doubt you’ll be invited to at least one izakaya (a traditional Japanese pub) for a night of drinking. An important custom to note in Japan is that you should never fill your own glass. Instead, fill the glass of the person sitting next to you. That person will then reciprocate and fill yours.
Japan is a fascinating place to do business, and you’re likely to return home with nothing but fun memories of the country. To help you get the most out of your trip, hopefully with a new client in the bag, make sure you learn the bow, dress to impress, and never fill your own glass.