Just tell me what to do
The worst thing you can do in Japanese society is be late for an appointment. The next worst thing you can do is to say publicly what you really think. I have no worry about the first, because I make it a point to always be early. But I struggle with the second, especially in my current job - first because I talk too much anyway, and secondly because my boss and co-workers are always holdin long, (typically Japanese) time-wasting meetings in which they encourage me to say what I really think - for better communication. It’s frustrating because I sit there at my desk thinking, “You must be kidding, asking me to say what I really think.” I already know you’re kidding by holding these gross time-wasting meetings to encourage me to do more work while simultaneously preventing me from doing the work you want me to do by wasting my time like this. That’s what I want to say, so you see that if I said what I really thought I probably would not keep the job for long. Almost any job is a matter of doing what you are told to do, so why does the boss keep pressing this point about what I really think? Just tell me what to do and I’ll do it!
Remember that in Japanhow things look and how they feel is more important than how they actually are. And, Japanese like to feel warm, close and harmonious. They like at least the illusion of good human relations. And usually that is all it is - an illusion, because good human relations are one of the last things that are true about this society. The country is filled with office workers who hate their jobs, despise their co-workers, and loath their bosses but they keep a lid on it from graduation through to retirement. Japan is a hotbed of disharmony, and there is a lot of disgruntlement under the radar here, so no wonder that when Japanese people lose their cool and blow up they do it big time. Witness the Pacific War.
My boss and co-workers are sincerely unaware that meetings in which I am exposed to request to work faster, or work more, or to say what I really think are in fact preventing me from working faster, or working more. And, saying what I really think? I don’t say that to anyone.