Tell me about things that Japanese people do that you think are weird.

Q: Tell me about things that Japanese people do that you think are weird.

For me, it is very strange to hear about people being forced to go drinking with their bosses. We could never have this kind of situation in the US, and in fact, a boss would be fired if they forced people to go drinking (in some situations, a boss may be allowed to invite people to go out, but most companies frown on bosses asking subordinates to join them in social situations, because the subordinate may feel pressured to do so). There are many reasons why people might not drink – religion, medical conditions, etc – and none of these are things a company has a legal right to ask about, so this would just not be allowed.

Another thing that would prevent this scenario is liability laws – if a person drinks during a work function, then has an accident, in most states, their company would be responsible for paying the damages.

I also think it’s weird that cigarettes and alcohol are available from vending machines, since these are age restricted items. In the US, we must show our ID to a person who can make sure it is real in order to purchase those items.

One other thing that I find surprising (not weird) is the state of the trains. We often see footage of people being pushed into the train by rail staff members, and I have experienced it in person in Tokyo.

In the US, we have the opposite situation – there is a limit set on how many people can safely fit in each train car. A government official called a fire marshal does some testing to see how quickly people could escape the car in case of fire, and then a “maximum capacity” is set for each train car. Train systems who allow more passengers than the maximum capacity will get a huge fine from the city!


Q: 日本人がやることで変だと思うことは?

A: 私は、上司と飲みに行かなくてならない人たちのことを聞くと変だと思うわ。米国ではそういうのは起こりえないの。実際、上司は飲みに行くこをを強制させたらクビになる。(食事に誘うことが許される状況はあるかもしれないけれど、上司が部下に社交の場への参加を依頼することは、会社が難色を示すわ。部下がそれを強制だと感じるかもしれないから。)人がお酒を飲まない理由はたくさんあるわよねー宗教、健康上の問題などーどれも会社は法的に尋ねる権利がないの。だから飲みを強制するのは許されないのね。