Deep Cultural Rift: Presenting in Japan, the US and Europe―Polar Bear in an Office Chair (Episode 6)
A few years ago, I left my public sector job in Switzerland and moved to Japan. From there, I drifted around from language learning to a few part-time gigs, until finally landing my first full-time job here at the Japanese tech firm Cybozu, the parent company of U.S. software provider Kintone.
Moving from the highly-regimented slow-moving public sector to the ferocious breakneck world of start-ups was in and of itself a fish-out-of-water experience. Doing so in Japan added a thick layer of mystery to the bedrock of unknown. Now that I'm finally starting to get used to my surroundings, I wanted to share with you some of what I've been through. Here are a few—perhaps slightly exaggerated—examples of what I've seen and felt in my life as, essentially, a polar bear in an office chair.
Europe: Preached from the altar of Hegelian dialectics
America: Clear, concise and star-spangled awesome
Japan: See the whole mountain before looking at each stone
Written by Alex Steullet. Illustrations by yummi. Edited by Mina Samejima and Ade Lee.
Alex is the editor in chief of Kintopia and part of the corporate branding department at Cybozu. He holds an LLM in Human Rights Law from the University of Nottingham and previously worked for the Swiss government.
After gratuating from the Nihon University College of Art, yummi began working as a freelance artist. In 2015, she received an honorable mention at the 2nd The Gate competition for her work "Sanpei-sensei No Jikan" (In Her Class), as well as an excellence award at the 69th Tetsuya Chiba competition for “Himitsu No Hanazono-san” (“The Secret Girl”).
Mina is a content editor and part of the corporate branding department at Cybozu. She is in charge of brand promotion and content creation, including for Kintopia and its Japanese twin website CybozuShiki.