Thursday, August 18, 2011

Won't Miss #354 - (almost always) being at a disadvantage

My brother-in-law, who is also American and lives in Japan, recently bought a house in Japan. He had an experience which illustrated the point I'm about to make all too well and that is that foreigners always operate at a disadvantage when conducting business in Japan. Even if you speak Japanese well and have a native along with you to clarify and digest information, there is always wiggle room for the Japanese businesses to place the blame for any "misunderstanding" on you or to simply cheat you and say it was a communication problem. This is part of what motivates foreigners to break out the gaijin smash. When you are treated as if everything is your fault because you couldn't possibly be comprehending the language properly because of your foreignness, you have limited options. You can bend over and take it, or you can become aggressive.

I won't miss feeling like I'm always at a disadvantage when doing business.