If this is your first time traveling to Japan, you need to know about the potential cultural and social differences that exist between the West and Japan. For instance, for the Japanese people, it is common to take longer to make business decisions, especially for new commitments. For Western businesses that are seeking business partnerships in Japan, this can become frustrating.
The essential reason for this deliberate slowness is that the Japanese have a natural aversion towards risks, which means they take more time to figure out whether or not the company in question is trustworthy. One of the best ways to earn the trust of your potential Japanese partners faster is by visiting them in person.
Of course, you will want to stay connected in Japan with SIM card so you can keep your family, friends, and colleagues updated about your stay; however, by visiting Japan in person, you can accelerate the speed at which your potential Japanese partners can make a decision.
Here are some other tips for a safe and productive trip to Japan.
Schedule Everything in Advance
To make the most of your business trip to Japan, it makes sense to schedule all appointments in advance. At the time of making appointments, you will want to ensure that you have plenty of time to travel in-between the different locations.
While the transportation service of Japan is exceptional, outsiders who are new to the country might need more clarification. Taxis are your best option to take you from one appointment to another; however, these also are quite costly in Japan.
The more cost-efficient choices are the bus or train. Many signs and stops have now been translated into English for the convenience of foreigners. By allowing yourself enough time between the appointments, you can also be punctual. If you are late by even five minutes, it can increase the chances of getting your business deals canceled.
We recommend investing in a JR Pass, which stands for Japan Rail Pass. With this pass, you can get unlimited access to the Japanese rail network, which can come in handy when you are planning to visit several Japanese offices for business.
If you want to make the most of your Japanese trio, then a JR Pass is certainly worth it. The best way to travel in Japan is the bullet train. You will want to buy a JR Pass in advance, even before arriving in Japan. If you don’t want it delivered to your doorstep, you can pick it up in Japan after your arrival.
Keep Your Business Cards with You
When meeting in person, at trade shows, or any other business space, Japanese business people expect you to exchange business cards, which is why you will want to carry plenty of business cards with you at all times. Even if they know who you are and which business you represent, exchanging business cards is an important aspect of Japanese culture.
In the absence of an exchange of business cards, the Japanese people might find that they haven’t officially met you because, in the context of Japanese business, the exchange of business cards is a formal way of introducing and greeting people.
Get an Interpreter
To make conversations as easy as possible, you should hire a local interpreter, which will also save you the effort of reading between the lines. You might want to educate yourself about Japanese culture before you embark on the trip because Japanese culture is highly textual, which means that people won’t necessarily express their use of words, but these are implied, nevertheless.
In fact, most Japanese people in the business industry appreciate when foreign business people bring an interpreter with them as it makes communication easier. The Japanese can get slightly uncomfortable when the English language is the only language that can be used during important meetings. To allow the communication to flow smoothly, you will want to arrange for a local interpreter as a way to remove the language barrier.
Even if you are meeting an international corporation, you cannot expect everyone to be fluent in English, which is why getting a local interpreter can go a long way.
Speaking of overcoming language barriers, it can be a good gesture if you learn a few Japanese words on your way to Japan. Even if you are planning to visit other countries that speak a different language than English, learning their language – even a few introductory words – is essentially seen as a gesture of goodwill.
You could learn how to say ‘thank you’ and ‘nice to meet you.’
Pack Your Luggage Mindfully
Since it will be a business trip, you will want to be mindful of the things that you are packing, including your dress code and power adapter. What you wear to your business meetings will make the first impression. Make sure to look clean and professional. Pack a smart suit jacket or blazer and wear nice shoes.
When it comes to your Japan packing list, make sure to include an adapter so you don’t ever get caught without power. Packing a universal adapter is your safest option, as it works for all devices.
Also, safety comes first. Don’t forget your travel-friendly compact hand sanitizer. You never know – they might not have soap in the bathroom. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Book Accommodation in Advance
You will want to book your accommodation in advance before boarding the flight to Japan. Most Japanese cities have a plethora of options regarding accommodation, yet the best spots can get booked quickly, which is why you should book in advance before you arrive.
You should make all bookings based on your visit plan. For instance, if you will be visiting businesses that are located in towns, your accommodation options might become more limited. The best thing would be to come prepared and book all accommodations for your entire business trip to Japan in advance.
Do your research at least one week before booking the flight and filter the most suitable accommodation options to make your stay as stress-free as possible.