12/30/2007

When You Are Invited by Japanese Friends

Well, I would like to write about Japanese custom today. Be on time, if you are invited by Japanese or ask them if you should show up on time or be fashionably late. I have been educated in Japan ,but since I have foreign relatives and many foreign friends, sometimes my way of thinking is not very Japanese. While ago, a group of my friends asked me " how come you always show up later when we throw party ? ". For them, if they say " OK, let's start the party at my place at 1:00 p.m. ", you are supposed to show up at 1:00 p.m. It is not all of them and not all of the parties. For instance, if it is business party planned around 6:00 p.m., it is OK to be little late. However, if it is small parties and arranged by senior people, be careful. Just making one call to let them know that you will be late will save you. Otherwise, they might take your not showing at all or be late without any notice as rude attitude although you have no bad intention. Some people accept your attitude and never mind, but some people do mind it and next time you might not be invited. I don't want to sound too strict, but it is always nice to know the local manner to avoid unnecessary misunderstanding.
When I host a party at my place, I would appreciate it if people show up like 10 , 15 min. late, because sometimes I am not ready being busy with cooking etc. Also, I have been told by my American friends and others, " Be fashionably late " since it is a manner. The group who asked me why I was late were very Japanese people. So, I explained that and apologized if it caused any inconvenience. Since then, for this group's gathering, I try to show up on time. On the other hand, with the gathering of foreign friends, I try to be flexible because people are more easy going. It is sometimes difficult since I feel like I have to have multiple personalities. Yet, this is probably a typical cultural gap I should understand and be a bridge for Japanese and foreign people. Let me add one more thing. If you book restaurant in Japan and if you think you might be late, please just ring them and let them know that you are 10 min. late or 15 min. late since it helps the restaurants to be prepared and keep your reservation. I talked to a friend who owns barbecue restaurant near my place. She says all her customers call if they are late even 5 min. She appreciates it since she can plan the next reservation based on that. Some restaurants cancel your reservation if you don't show up and are late more than 20 min., so please be aware of that.

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