David Mills presented this at the Northern California RJC Conference, 2007.

  • Face saving
    If you invite someone to church or to a bible study or maybe a day long hike you might hear new friend say, “Okay, that sounds interesting.” That might mean yes. But it very well might mean no. Listen for a bit of hesitation in their voice, it might yield some important clues.
  • Omote-uraOmote refers to the image which an individual, a company, or any institution wishes to present to outsiders or to the public in general. Ura is the opposite of omote. It is the reality behind the surface. This is sometimes known as the “public face and private face”. It takes time to build a friendsihp that is close enough to begin to see the private face. And even then, there are degrees of openness to move through.
  • Gift giving
    Omiyage is a gift that a visitor always brings to the host. It’s often a very practical gift such as a dessert or some other snack but it can be simply a cute souvenir or some other small thing. They won’t expect it from you, but if you bring something they will really appreciate it. And if you travel anywhere and you bring a small gift (even a postcard) they will be very pleased that you thought of them.
  • Importance of harmony among people – 和 “wa”It’s better to agree about something you really don’t like than to show disagreement and cause disharmony. This can be confusing because you might think someone really wants to eat German food when actually all the time they are suffering through it.

    In Japan, acting untrue to one’s personal beliefs in order to maintain the harmony of the group is a virtue. To “stick up for what one stand’s for” could be considered rude.

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