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Japanese Business Culture Blog

A blog about communications between Japan and other cultures, particularly in business.



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Working with Japanese


Japan Intercultural Consulting now in Kansas City
Rochelle Kopp
Nov 08, 2013 12:15 AM


Softbank's purchase of Sprint has made people in the Kansas City area more aware of the importance of our country's business relationships with Japan. Many other companies in the Kansas City area are Japanese-affiliated, and many U.S. firms here have Japanese customers, investors, and joint venture partners.

Japan Intercultural Consulting, a leader in cross-cultural communication training on Japan, is pleased to announce that Sarah Fremerman Aptilon is now heading up our training and consulting activities in Kansas City. A native of Prairie Village, Kansas, Sarah recently moved back to the Kansas City area from Mexico City, where she lived for eight years and directed JIC's Mexico branch for five years. Sarah holds a B.A. in East Asian Studies from Yale University and a Ph.D. in Japanese religion from Stanford University.

Sarah lived and worked as a translator and interpreter at a Buddhist monastery in Kyoto for seven years, and her participation in both the rituals and business operations of that institution has given her a unique perspective on Japanese organizational behavior, and a deep awareness of the traditional cultural factors that influence Japanese communication in the workplace. She has also taught courses on Japanese religion at Stanford University and Santa Clara University, and has been a visiting scholar at the Centro de Estudios de Asia y África at El Colegio de México in Mexico City, and at the Historiographical Institute at the University of Tokyo. She conducts training and teambuilding sessions in English, Spanish, and Japanese.

Sarah will lead JIC’s first open seminar on Japanese business culture in Overland Park, Kansas on November 19th, 2013. Register here.

Join Sarah as she draws upon her extensive experience in Japan to illustrate important differences between the U.S. and Japanese business cultures, and provide specific strategies for improving communication with Japanese colleagues.

Seminar details:
“Working Effectively with Japanese”
November 19, 2013
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Registration Fee: $295

Sheraton Overland Park Hotel at the Convention Center
6100 College Boulevard, Overland Park, Kansas 66211

“Why do Japanese take so long to make decisions?”
“Why don’t Japanese give clear instructions?”
“How can I tell a Japanese person that I disagree with them without offending them?”
“What’s the best way to get my contacts in Japan to answer my questions more quickly?”
“Why do Japanese fall asleep in meetings?”
“Why do Japanese work such long hours – do they expect me to too?”

Americans who work with Japanese usually have many questions, but no good place to get the answers. This seminar is a golden opportunity to get your questions answered by an expert who is highly skilled in explaining the intricacies of Japanese business and society. The seminar will also feature explanations of proper Japanese etiquette for meals and social activities.

Topics to be covered include:

• Japanese communication style
• Why Japanese tend to be vague/indirect, and how to interpret what they mean
• Why Japanese don't give a lot of feedback
• Overcoming the language barrier
• How to confirm whether you've been understood correctly
• How decisions are made in Japanese organizations
• Why Japanese avoid risk
• How to get your ideas accepted by a Japanese organization
• How to make meetings with Japanese more effective
• How to build strong working relationships with Japanese
• How to behave appropriately at meals and in other social situations
• What to keep in mind if you travel to Japan for business
• What most bothers Japanese about the Americans they work with

Feedback from past participants:
“Great job of presentation and material.”
“Fantastic workshop”
“All topics were issues I face daily. Thanks for being open and honest.”
“Great job, it was definitely an eye opener.”
“This is a seminar I will recommend to all members of my workgroup.“
“This was wonderful—great topics/great instructor—thank you”

Sarah is also available to conduct on-site seminars for clients in the Kansas City area. She can be reached at sarah.aptilon@japanintercultural.com

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