During one of my more excited “I’m going to Japan!!!” disclosures a colleague of mine pointed me in the direction of this little book by Belgian writer Amelie Nothomb about a French girl and her experiences as she takes on a job as a translator in Tokyo.
Being a Belgian guy, I was actually thinking some Japanese working ethics would do us good, as our politics have evolved a bit too far left in my opinion. This book however introduced me to what I hope to be an extreme example of “classic” corporate life in Japan…
I love the idea of working hard, respecting your colleagues, doing as much as you can to deliver work you can be proud of, etc. Not being able to challenge your boss or talking to someone at level n +2 however is a bridge to far. At a certain point, core positive values such as entrepreneurship and pragmatism are even considered as western decadence. Now we are talking about several bridges 🙂 As always the truth is in the middle and I suppose and hope a lot has evolved since the time the book was written (about 15 years ago). I think the book succeeds however in setting the boundaries of what I consider western working culture and Japanese working culture, which was very interesting. And it’s a fun read as well! So go check it out 🙂
I would also love to see some tips on other books that will expand my view on my soon to be destination!