Japanese business etiquette II: Business cards

Although, Japan is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world. Our daily business interaction hasn’t changed much in the last decades.

What do you mean? You may ask

I mean that our ways to interact, to connect, to build relationships in business are still traditional. We still don’t rely on social media as most people, in other countries, do because we don’t trust it much yet.

We still go old school when it comes to “network” We go through the whole process. We make phone calls, send faxes (yes, you read that correctly) we make appointments, wait for appointment confirmation. Then on the day of the appointment, we dress formally, make our way to the meeting place, while being sure to arrive at least ten minutes before the agreed time, wait in the lobby room and greet our counterparts one these arrive.

And once we get inside the room where our meeting will be carried out then we finally exchange business cards.

There are also few steps for this simple and yet crucial moment.

1.- Hold your card with both hands. Do not simple handle the card. But offer it.


2.- Then respectfully receive the business cards you are being offered.

3.- Once you get back to your seat, lay all the business cards you have received and read them.


As you can see, business cards, physical business cards are a must, because business cards tell the person you are meeting that you are trustworthy. And if you translate your card even into simple Japanese, people would be grateful. And you’ll be showing your commitment and your willingness to go the extra mile, which will speak highly of you. Moreover, as Japanese people tend to be shy, your business card will be giving them “a hand” because they will make small talk based on the information you provide on them (your business cards).

In other words, business cards are still ,in this time of internet and social media, the best way to introduce yourself in Japan. And secure the beginning of a good business relationship with your possible clients and business partners.


Japanese Business etiquette I: What happens in the nomikai. stays in the nomikai

Japanese business etiquette is very interesting, even puzzling at times, but of all Japanese business traditions the one that still interests me the most is the “nomikai.” But what’s a nomikai you would ask? It means “drinking party”. And it is one of the most important business rituals in Japan. If you are a non-Japanese person and luck strikes you, you’ll be asked to join a “nomikai,” but remember that you are not simply asked to participate in a dinner party. But entering a sort of entrance ritual to belong to the group, which in Japan is very important, because we are a culture that takes pride in belonging to groups.
In these gatherings, as you are an outsider (a person that does not belong to the group yet), people will observe you, they will want to know how approachable you are. And the longer you stay at the drinking party, the more trustworthy and open you are to have an everlasting business relationship, you appear to be. These invitations to “nomikai” should be accepted and taken as part of the business courtship, especially when you are a non-Japanese person. And if you were here for a short period of time, e.g., business trip, then the “nomikai” opportunities should be grasped at once, as the chance to seal the deal.
Most westerners come out of the negotiation rooms thinking they had made a deal with their Japanese counterparts when these only meant to say they will think about it. So, just a piece of advice, if you want to be sure you will get the deal, invest time building personal relationships here. It will help you in the long run.
The “nomikai” scene is far from wild, but it is carefree, happy and sometimes silly, everything but violence is allowed. But remember, Japanese people like discretion, so whatever happens in the “nomikai” stays in the “nomikia”, you will not reveal either comment about people’s behavior, possible episodes that might have happened or spread rumors about people. The next day you go the office clean shaved and showered as if nothing had happened and work your normal shift. But one of the bosses will send you an e-mail thanking you for your participation in the “nomikai” , reply as soon as possible. It is all part of the business etiquette protocol.
The japanese drinking party, as puzzling as might look for the Western world, is the free space where the Japanese businesspeople freed themselves from the mental weight of our extreme severe protocol, and all hierarchy seemed to disappear for just a few hours. “Nomikai” is the space where we get rid of our duties and embrace one another to show our gratitude and appreciation for the people who help us succeed in business. Therefore, “nomikai” not simply should be considered as the place where people get drunk but as the moment that allows Japanese businesspeople to be themselves.
And keep in mind that “nomikai” is the shortcut to have connections in Japan, and if you don’t have connections here, then you will have no business.


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#DACA: Broken dreams, broken economy

#DACA is a program started by President Obama, in which people who arrived illegally in the United States as children can work and thrive, in other words, feel at home in their home.

#DACA recipients do not know any other country than the United States of America, why then take away their rights? When they, economically, generate millions of dollars. They buy homes, own business creating in this way jobs Americans say immigrants steal from them.


Without going into sentimentalisms ending #DACA is a terrible business move.

Why is it a bad business move?

Well, when 800,000 thriving young,  people stop paying taxes, their business taken, and with them, the jobs they created, then it would, logically, have an enormous impact on the economy. Without counting that according to #CNN deporting #DACA recipients “would cost American economy 400 billion dollars” what a “brilliant businessman” you are, Mr. Trump. 

 Of course, Mr. Trump is not a brilliant businessman, nobody in their right mind would consider anything but a white supremacist, whose narrowed views are affecting millions of hard working people.

#DACA is not only a direct attack on the weakest members of society but a tremendous economic mistake.

But I guess, it is all about making America great again, isn’t it?