After moving to the States, I have experienced many cultural differences. In order to be successful in the States as one Japanese female, I had to re-evaluate both cultures/traditions and picked/chose what worked here. The one important thing I can recommend for fellow Japanese people in the States is to voice their opinion. Silence is gold in Japan and Japanese people tend to agree on what other people say. I am not saying that you should start nitpicking others. Observe, open up your mind, think about what people are saying, think about what you want to say and why AND voice your opinion. Maintaining the traditional Japanese way won’t bring any success in the States no matter how intelligent you are. Use the fact that you are familiar with both culture, form a great opinion and voice it. If you have any incidents and opinion, please share here and I will let you know what I think.
My old boss used to say “it is what it is” and I always agreed with it. You can take charge and control some of the stuff you do in life, but not everything goes the way you want. When that happens, it is important to try to achieve the best you can. But, giving up is also very important. It is what it is. If things do not go the way you want, you sometimes have to move on.
I know some people who freak out when they have to go to Baltimore city. The thing is these friends of mine live about 20min drive from Baltimore city. Initially that shocked me and I actually feel bad for them. They are missing out so much by staying in the local area. By getting out from the area you are familiar with, you can open up your mind.
I grew up in a small town in Japan. When I turned 18, I moved to Tokyo to attend college. Prior to moving to Tokyo, I was used to my mother doing things for me. So, I had to learn very quickly how to live by myself. I learned to appreciate things I took for grated all my life. I moved to the States in 1998 and I went through motherhood, divorce and many other significant events. Things were tough and I did make some decisions that I will always wonder if they were good or bad. But, all these positive and negative experiences made me stronger. I became a better listener and I learned that everyone is different. So, if you are the type of person who stay in their comfort zone, you are totally missing out. Negative and positive life experience will definitely make you a better person. If you plan on becoming successful, you definitely have to be able to get out and see the world.
I have met so many people who do not feel comfortable with online social networking sites. I used to be one of them and I still don’t like one of the major sites. However, I started using a few and now I love it. You can always control your privacy setting and be smart about it. I have met so many great people through social networking sites and found my long lost friends through them, too. You may never have the needs to utilize these online space. I work for online busines, so most likely all of my clients and prospects can be found in one of these social networking sites. Through those sites, they can get to know me as a person and I can get to know them as a person. Some people may feel uncomfortable, but It is all depends on how you utilize them and how you control your own privacy. Just make sure to be alert and utilize those online space the best you can.
If you want to be good at what you do, start networking. I think this is one thing I am great at. Sure, I like to talk, but I am more of the good listener. I pay attention to small details, such as small family stuff or what people enjoy doing. No one wants to do business with people he/she doesn’t trust or like. So, when I have business prospects, I always make sure to get to know them first. Moreover, I make sure that they get to know me. After that, if they decide not to do business with you, at least you have a new friend. Then, you can obtain competitors’ information and meet other prospects through that person.
People always say “no questions are dumb questions.” But, I think everyone should ask him/herself in their head about the question they are about to voice BEFORE actually saying it. When I was in college, I met a few students who love to ask dumb questions right before class was over. Some questions are better to ask privately because they may not be relevant or helpful for others. Also, do your research before asking questions. You can often find an answer without asking someone about it. When I train new employees, I hate answering the same questions over and over and over… Take some notes and stop asking the same questions more than three times. If you have to ask the same questions repeatedly, most likely, you are not paying attention and you are not learning. On the other hand, I love it when someone asks GOOD questions. I can tell when someone did his/her own research prior to asking questions. When that happens, it simply excites me and the person earns certain respect from me. Questions are good, but just don’t keep asking questions. Do some research, understand and digest!
Many people always tell me that they don’t know how I do “it.” I am usually working on several projects at a time, play sports in an area adult league, go out on a date and work full time. The Bottom line is I love being busy and active. I am basically doing what I love and getting paid for it. If you don’t enjoy what you are doing right now, quit! I know that we all need some income to survive, but you can always find something you enjoy doing and money will come to you. Look around and see all the things you don’t need? Sell it. If you think you will someday fit into the clothes you were wearing back in the 20’s, you are dreaming. I tried hold on to them, but I ended up selling them all online or donated. Cut down all the premium TV cable channels you are paying extra for, stop eating out, shop around for better car insurance…… You can always find many different ways to save extra. After all, it’s YOUR life and you are the only one who can make you happy.