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Five Facts You Need to Know About Japan

For the people who never seen my name on this blog, I’m new here! I am Paolo Schiavulli, a former student at H-Farm and the new intern at Sophola, Inc.

When I saw for the first time Sophola’s internship proposal, I was super excited about it. I wondered how it would be like working for a foreign company, living there for six months, and experimenting with the Japanese culture for my first time ever. I thought that it would have been amazing, a life-changing experience; the more I was thinking about it, the higher the desire to go there. When I come back to reality, I submit my candidature for the position of Data Analyst and Junior Digital Marketing creator at Sophola. An internship proposal that I found very spurring and motivating for me since the very beginning as extremely functional, practical, and useful for my future career path.

In this post, I will describe what I found interesting about the business and national culture here in Japan. And in which way it differs from the Italian one.

Fact number one, I always thought that making noise with the soup it’s rude, my parents perpetually told me that when I was a child. Contrarily to the European common sense, I learned that making noise in Japan while eating Ramen (for example) it’s not rude. Indeed, you should make noise, or at least do not care about the sound of sipping while eating noodles with soup. Basically, you are communicating the cook that you are enjoying the meal!

Fact number two, you should care about your seat at restaurants. In Italy, we usually try to be polite in giving the table’s head seat to the older person among us. Here in Japan, it is not the same. Seats at restaurants are decided according to your hierarchical status in the company you work on. In practice, juniors should take the near position to the entrance because they should interact with the waiters and order foods for the older seniors at the table. This custom holds true for taxis (you have to take the uncomfortable position which it is in the middle of the car) and for elevators. You have to push buttons for the others if you are a junior like me (lol).

Nevertheless, you will find that most of the people will treat you as a guest since they recognise you as a foreign visitor. So most of these things will be just overlooked. But if you have the chance to apply them right away while Japan, they will be very much appreciated!

Facts number three, the Japanese follow the rules very strictly and show significant respect for others. I was used to thinking about the Japanese’s white mask as a way for Japanese people to protect themselves from pollution. Realistically, it is a way to communicate to people that they don’t feel very well that day and that they don’t want to pass you any type of viruses. I was astonished when I discover the reason!

Fact number four, trains are always on time. This it’s something that in Italy it’s entirely missing, and something that I will miss from Japan (unlikely me). In the economy class, you will feel like staying in a first-class, or at least this was my experience with the Shinkansen. Trains are clean and quiet. A real reconciliation after a day of work.

Fact number five, the language it’s a problem. If you are not able to read kanji’s symbols…well, Google camera will be your best friends for the rest of your stay in Japan. Nonetheless, you will be able to interact with most of the people at local shops even though you do not know anything about the Japanese language.

Fact number six, my weekly update has come to an end. These were the most striking facts I discover until now. If you are eager to know other facts about Japan, stay tuned for future updates!

See you,