Traveling to Tokyo, Japan
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I will be traveling to Tokyo, Japan for six months on a business trip. I will be
traveling with five other members of my organization at Lucent Technologies to assist
Lucent- Japan in their process of developing and implementing an Indirect Channel in
Since I will be living in Tokyo for six months, it is expected of me to research and
learn as much as possible about the Japanese culture and the proper etiquette
expected of me as a representative of Lucent Technologies, Inc.
To search for the best priced Round Trip Airline ticket, I received six different
quotes of prices with two different airlines, United Airlines and Northwest Airlines. The
two ends of the pricing spectrum are non-stop, direct flights from Newark International
(EWR) to Tokyo, Japan Narita (NRT). The total cost of my round trip ticket is $1362.50
and my flight schedule is as follows:
United Airlines Flight #: 837
Departs Newark: 9:00am Arrives Tokyo: 5:05pm (1/4)
United Airlines Flight #: 852
Departs Tokyo: 4:00pm Arrives Newark: 7:28pm
I will be employed by Lucent Technologies, Inc. (Indirect Channel) USA and sent
to assist Lucent Technologies Japan, Ltd. in establishing an Indirect Channel in Japan.
The Indirect Channel is responsible for distributing Lucent products through Authorized
Dealers or phone stores. Lucent Japan does not currently have an Indirect Channel in
place and five of us from various departments within my organization, will be going to
Tokyo to assist them in this process.
I will be working directly with the legal department and with other members of my
organization to establish applications and contracts for Authorized Dealers. I will also
be working with the person responsible for performing day to day duties in the
Contracts/Legal Department in Japan to help establish a daily routine, similar to ours in
Lucent Technologies Japan, Ltd.
Minato-ku, Tokyo Japan
Money & Costs:
Cash is still widely used in Japan, although credit cards are widely used
in Tokyo, and other major cities.
The currency in Japan is the Yen. The exchange rates on August 1, 2000 were
$1.00 (United States Dollars) is equivalent to 109.680 (Japanese Yen). (Universal
The time zone in Japan is GMT/UTC, plus nine hours. (Lonely Planet, p.7)
The City of Tokyo:
Tokyo, the capital city of Japan, is the third largest city in the world and is
currently occupied by 12 million people. (Japan National Tourist Org, p.2) Tokyo is a
vast conurbation spreading out across the Kanto Plain from the Tokyo-wan Bay.
(Lonely Planet, p.8) The city of Tokyo was almost completely rebuilt after an
earthquake devoured most of the city in 1923 and again after US air raids struck during
World War II. (“Tokyo,” p.320)
The city is split between the flashy, glitzy, commercial and business districts
located west of the central Ginza shopping area, and the more down to earth
residential neighborhoods are to the east of the Ginza.
Tokyo is said to be very westernized and foreigners will find many international
companies represented there. The Japanese Immigration Bureau reported that 42,802
Americans lived in Japan in 1999. (Immigration Bureau).
Some attractions that I would like to see while I am living in Tokyo are the Tokyo
National Museum, which holds the largest collection of Japanese art; the Senso-ji
Temple, a Buddhist place of worship and the Shinjuku, which is west of the center
(Ginza) and is Tokyo’s present day entertainment corner.
Tokyo is a very overcrowed city and searching for rental houses and apartments
is very difficult for foreigners. Foreign renters are required to pay a non-refundable
deposit, called a ‘reikin’ apart from the deposit and you need to have a guarantor, or a
citizen to “take responsibility” for you. (“Tokyo”, p.315)
Since I am traveling on business, I will not have to rent something in my name
nor worry about getting a guarantor. Lucent will provide my co-workers and myself with
a company owned apartment to stay in while we are working there. Since space is
limited, all six of us (3 male & 3 female)will share a two bedroom apartment, a few
blocks from our office building.
Minato-Ku, Tokyo Japan
Transportation in Japan is quickest using the rail or subways. Train maps are provided
in English at big stations, so language will not be too much of a burden when using the
train. Busses are a conveient way of transportation if you are traveling a short
distance, however, the bus stop signs are not in English. Our office building is within
walking distance from our apartment, so we will not have to concern ourselves with
subways and trains on a daily basis to get to work. We will have to use public
transportation to go shopping and for leisure purposes since we are living in a section
of town that is primarily office buildings and hotels, block after block.
Culture & Etiquette:
The Japanese have a very different culture than the United States. In
researching the Japanese culture, I have found many interesting everyday etiquette
facts. One of the main things that the Japanese thrive on is politeness. Crime rates
are very low in Tokyo, especially for the number of people who live there and much of
this stems from their polite and respectful manner. Also, the people in Japan bow a lot.
Visitors are not expected to know the complexities of the bow, however, it is considered
rude to ignore the greeting or over bow. Another rude gesture in Japan is blowing your
nose in public. It is better to excuse yourself and go to the restroom and blow you nose
in private. (Planet Tokyo)
Where and when shoes are worn in Japan can be confusing. Generally, shoes
are not worn in Japanese homes, temples, and various other public places (including
restaurants). Planet Tokyo, a company that publishes visitor guides, suggests that
foreigners follow the lead of the locals in these situations since the customary rules are
Western-style restrooms are found in the larger department stores and many
restaurants, however, a Japanese-style toilet requires one to squat and aim facing the
raised lid. Not every restroom stocks toilet paper in Japan, so it is necessary to carry
tissues or toilet paper around with you when in public. (Planet Tokyo, p.2)
The number of public baths has declined in Tokyo, however, the custom is still
prevalent. Man and women bathe separately except in outdoor hot springs. Foreigners
are generally guided through the process, if they wish to partake. The water in the bath
is very hot and the Japanese do this to relax their bodies and let peace enter their soul.
Although the Japanese have many customs and daily rituals that are quite
different than ours in the United States, Tokyo is a city that is highly industrialized, plus
most of the Japanese speak English, since they are taught the language at a young
age in school. It will be very smart to have an English-Japanese dictionary handy just
in case, but Tokyo does not seem to be a city to be scared of as an outsider.
CheapTickets.com. Online. Available: http://www.cheaptickets.com. 5 August 2000.
Immigration Bureau: Statistics on Foreign Residents. Number of Non-Japanese
Residents in Tokyo by Country, as of 1999. Ministry of Justice Office,
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo Japan. January 2000.
“Japan,” The World Book Encyclopedia. 1998 ed., Vol 11, p.32-58.
Japan National Tourist Organization, Travel Bureau. Travel Tips. Tokyo, Japan.
2000, p. 2.
Lonely Planet. Destination: Japan. Travelers Guide to Japan. Melborne, Australia.
“Tokyo’” The World Book Encyclopedia. 1998 ed. Vol 11, p.312-320.
Universal Currency Converter. Xenon Labs. Online.
Available: http://www.xe.net/ucc/convert.cgi. 1 August 2000.