September 2016 - Vikingess Voyages

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Norway-Japan Society: Yakatabune Dinner Cruise on the Tokyo Bay (屋形船)

11:41:00 PM

One of the most unique dinner experiences you can get while in Tokyo would without a doubt be a cruise on the Tokyo Bay with one of the traditional Yakatabune (屋形船) houseboats. (I have previously written a short post about a previous trip on the Yakatabune here where I've gone more into details about the background of this cruise.
Every year the Norway-Japan Society holds a Yakatabune-event for its members and friends around September, and this time we had 43 registered participants for the cruise. With delicious food (sashimi, tempura) and good company we had a wonderful evening onboard the boat.
The cruise started out close to Shinagawa and took us all the way down to Odaiba. Luckily the weather was on our side, and we could go out on the deck on top of the boat to enjoy the view of our surroundings.

Inside the house boat they had karaoke available, so on the way back we could entertain ourselves with some songs. The atmosphere was good, with a mix of Japanese and English songs.
After the cruise was done it was time for a group picture back at the port. It seemed that all the participants had had a joyful evening, and we're already looking forward to another fun NJS event.

All the photos in this post have been taken by my friend and colleague Akira-san who is . You can find more information about his works through his home page.

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Recommended Hotels in Tokyo

Royal Park Hotel The Shiodome
Royal Park Hotel The Shiodome
Bunka Hostel Tokyo
Bunka Hostel Tokyo
Sotetsu Fresa Inn Nihombashi-Ningyocho
Sotetsu Fresa Inn Nihombashi
Kaisu Hostel
Kaisu Hostel

This page contains affiliate links, and if you follow a link and make a hotel reservation through these links you help support this blog without any additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your kind support!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Working in Japan: The basics of Japanese business phone calls

9:02:00 PM
When I started working in Japan I had little no experience with making business phone calls in Japanese. As the extroverted introvert I am just making phone calls in itself, even in my native language, used to be a nerve-wracking experience for me. As you can imagine I went through a rather difficult month when, after having entered a Japanese company as a new grad, we were going to start making phone calls as a part of our 研修 (new grad training).

I was the only foreigner taking part in this training, and all of a sudden I had to sit down and make 40 daily phone calls to an never-ending list of clients all in Japanese. We got no prior training about what sort of phrases to use or anything, and were expected to learn through 数をこなす- through repeating. And believe me, in Japan this mentality seems to be extremely popular. If there's something you can't do you just need to 頑張る (work harder!!). In the beginning I was horrified, and was staring blankly on the telephone numbers of the clients for like five minutes before gathering enough courage to actually make the phone call. Not to mention eavesdropping on my Japanese 同期s (colleagues) to figure out what kind of phrases they would use. Now, two years later, I can proudly say that I've reached a certain level for making business phone calls in Japanese much thanks to the strict environment of the company. It is true that practice makes perfect, but if you're considering working in a Japanese company where you'll have to be able to make phone calls you might want to memorise some phrases in advance in order to make the learning process smoother. I hope the following phrases can be of help:

Basics of making a phone call:
Introduction (To receptionist):
Excuse me, my name is XX from company XX.

Thank you for your ongoing support (standard opening/closing phrase for business)

Is Mr/Ms XX available?

Introduction 2 (To the client):
Mr/Ms XX, thank you for your ongoing support

Mr/Ms XX, I'm calling you for the first time. My name is XX from XX company. Thank you for your ongoing support.

今、お話してよろしいでしょうか?  /  今、お時間よろしいでしょうか?
Do you have time now?

Other phrases:
Sorry for bothering you again (if you've called the same place earlier the same day etc)

Sorry for always calling instead of visiting you directly

or お電話が遠いようなのですが。
I'm sorry I can't hear you clearly.. (literarily means "the phone sounds far", because saying "I can't hear you" would indicate that the client isn't talking clearly enough, which would sound slightly impolite to a Japanese client)

Final phrases:
Thank you for your time!

Looking forward to continuing our cooperation

Good bye! (used when hanging up)

Basics of receiving a phone call:
Note: Always have a note-block available to write down the contact details for the person calling you

Sorry for keeping you waiting (used if the phone rings more than 3 times)

Thanks for calling. This is XX from XX company.

失礼ですが、お名前をお伺いしても宜しいでしょうか or
Excuse my rudeness but may I have your name?

I'm really sorry but could you state your company name again?

Please wait a second

I'm sorry but (person's name, without using -san after the name) is not present / is out.

XX is out of the office but will be back around XX o'clock

戻り次第ご連絡させていただ きましょうか?
Shall I ask him/her to call you back when he/she returns?

Just to be on the safe side, may I ask your phone number?

Sorry for changing topics, but.. (used when you want to change topics during a received phone call)

Thank you for your ongoing support

Good bye! (used when hanging up)

Business manners to keep in mind:
・Remember that your voice is the representative of the company. Since the person you're calling can't see your face you should smile while talking and raise your voice to a higher pitch than you normally would to sound happier on the phone.
・Note that apparently some foreigners mistakenly use san after their own name. Make sure you avoid using san for yourself and your coworkers when you talk to clients. This is even the case when talking about your superiors! If you use san when you talk about your manager in front of a client your manager will most likely tell you to drop it - "呼び捨てていいよ!".
・In the business world you use negative language to describe your own company while talking to clients. While the word for "Your company" - 御社 / おんしゃ means something like "your honorable company" the kanji 弊 used in the word "My company" - 弊社 / へいしゃ has meanings such as abuse, evil, breakage and harmful. In relation to my previous point you could refer to your superior - let's say Tanaka-san - as 弊社の田中. For instance, 打合せには弊社の田中も同席いたします - Tanaka will also join the meeting.
・After the call is over it is preferable to hang up the phone in a way that makes as little sound as possible to avoid making a bad impression. You should also count to three after having said 失礼いたします before actually hanging up the phone to make sure the client doesn't have anything more to say.

A lot to keep in mind right?! Of course not all of it is a must, but remembering some of these rules and phrases will definitely get you a long way and leave a good impression on your clients.

Thanks for reading! Please let me know in the comments below if you have any questions or comments. Good luck!


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About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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