Archive for Communication

MIXI vs Facebook

I’m going to assume that most of the readers from America have at least heard of Facebook but I’ll explain the basics of it just in case you’ve no idea what’s going on. Facebook is a social networking internet site where you can add friends who’ve also gotten a Facebook. On Facebook you can chat with friends, post or send messages to friends, upload and tag pictures, and play games. MIXI is the Japanese equivalent to Facebook. Mixi, unlike Facebook, is only available to the Japanese and is largely used on cell phones as opposed to browsers on desktop computers like Facebook. Now not being a Japanese citizen there’s not a whole lot I can tell you about MIXI from experience because 1) I don’t speak Japanese and 2) You are required to be invited by someone who also has a MIXI and also to have a recognized Japanese e-mail address. So most Japanese are unaware of Facebook because something like 80% of the Japanese social site users are on MIXI and 99.9% of American’s can’t use MIXI, social disconnect.


Tea Ceremony

Japan has existed as a country much longer than the United States. Therefore they have some ancient traditions that they still keep alive. The Tea Ceremony was a way for the historical Japanese to socialize. Like many traditional things in Japan, when you enter the room for a tea ceremony your shoes have to be off. The Japanese like their floors to be clean. So the ceremony started with everyone sitting in a circle in a room (there were about ten of us) and our Japanese hostess first brought out a bowl. She did a bow to everyone and some other formalities before kneeling at a station nearby that was setup to hand make the tea right in front of us. After making the first bowl she gave it to the first person who then bowed out of respect as she bowed and handed them the bowl. The person then displayed the bowl as to see the design on the outside and drank the tea. This process was repeated for each person in the room until everyone had a bowl. After we were done with our bowls they took them from us and tea was done and socializing was accomplished.

Hai vs Yes

“Hai” is the Japanese phonetic equivalent of “Yes” in English language. But American’s use the word Yes much differently than the Japanese use the word Hai. In Japan, especially in restaurants and stores, the word Hai is used as an affirmation. The word Yes is also used as an affirmation in America but they are still used differently. The difference is that Hai is the pretty much the only word that the Japanese use as an affirmative. In America there are many different ways that people affirm. People in America during a conversation might say: “ok”, “sure”, “yes,” and the slang of yes. Now only being in Japan for 5 days now and mostly interacting with services I may not have heard of all the possible equivalents to yes but this is the impression I have gotten. So when/if you go to japan and somebody says Hai, they’re affirming something your asking about or affirming information/actions.