It is more than two years in Japan!. Still the moments of departure from Cochin airport remain fresh in memory. It was not so long before that I left India to Japan. The period spent in Japan is around 5% of my life till now, but the diversities and excitements of experiences have been vast and have substantial effect in life.
I did meet a young man from China at Morishita last week, who was in Tokyo for a short business trip. While sharing general things like the socio-political and cultural differences between China and India, he got curious in my stay in Japan and attitude towards life in Japan. My answer was short: Life in Japan is calm and peaceful.
When I say the life in Japan is calm and peaceful, it just reflects the general attitude of a majority of foreigners living in Japan. This ‘calm and peaceful life in Japan’ image should be embroiled with the private or professional life. The experience of working in Japan, that also for a Japanese company is totally different from that of working for a company from any other countries. The calm and peaceful atmosphere prevails in the general life affairs in Japan.
Almost all basic necessities of are easily available and easily accessible in Japan. One of such thing that will strike in the mind of a foreigner in Japan is the ‘convenient stores’. They are really convenient and make the life simpler and easier. We don’t need to wait behind long queues to pay the utilities bill when it can be paid in less than one minute in a nearby convenient store. The food for breakfast, lunch and dinner, snacks and many kinds of eatables and juices are available all the time, all the days in a week.
Convenient stores are called Konbini’ in Japanese language. It is written in Katakana as コンビニ [Ko-n-bi-ni] and this is one of the Katakana words I liked to use frequently while talking with friends. As sensei compares jokingly, Konbini is the friend and Konbini is the spouse of many of the workaholic and lazy people. Convenient stores are now a synonym with a life partner for many of the bachelors in Japan.
Another striking point during the last two years is the obedience to the law and order in Japan. This can be translated into the discipline in public places. The life in Japan is like a life in a company called Japan Incorporated. Whatever be the roots to this existing discipline and obedience to the law, it is a great plus point for the Japanese society, which they might have cultivated with consistent efforts over many years. Such kind of public discipline can not be implemented with the aid of external forces within a short period. It is the inborn nature of Japanese people to obey the rules and regulations. This is one of the concerns when Japanese companies bring foreign people from different cultures to Japan that the new comer to Japan may feel uneasiness to easily absorb into Japanese culture. It takes long time to get adjusted with the new social structure and in many cases the foreigners does not get involve in the mainstream. They resemble the floating element that may fly away after some time. There are cases where foreigners who can manage communication in Japanese language get involve in Japanese social and cultural events along with local Japanese people. If the language barrier is removed many of the routine concerns of foreigners will be solved.
The life in a company called Japan, ruled by some rules and regulations, is convenient when the new comer to Japan starts learning what is good and what is bad in Japan. One of the great information sources maintained by Japan Police is really helpful to foreigners to understand the rules in Japan. Rules Regarding life in Japan is a must read document which is written in English.
There are many websites dealing with the life in Japan especially made for foreigners in English language. Japan is one of the leading countries in terms of broadband internet users, second after South Korea, but tops in terms of fiber to the home broadband internet connectivity. The websites and online information sources dealing with the life in Japan for foreigners are helpful to those who wish to come to Japan. One of such useful sites, that is worth to add to the favorites in your browser is Your Complete Guide To Life In Japan!
Looking back to the two years life in Japan, by knowing only survival Japanese language to communicate, I feel what is more required to live in a different culture is the ‘empathy’, which will drive us to fusion.