Feelings of Troublesomeness and Embarrassment Create Walls
This week during the Technical Group's monthly report, M brought up something quite surprising. I consider this an important issue, so I'd like to share it here; it was about a Facebook comment in Japanese made by a Taiwanese person affiliated with e-Jan.
"To tell you the truth, life in Japan has been quite tough. Language and culture barriers exist, and there have been hard times for me. Can I get over the wall? Should I go back to Taiwan? I'm always asking myself and feeling alone. However, thanks to your birthday wishes, I think I can still go on. I really appreciate you guys."
M asked us: "Do you know who wrote this?" and I thought: "Is that him, the one who left us?" A moment of silence passed. M said: "It's A-san." She continues: "Yes, that A-san, whom everyone thinks is very social." It was quite shocking to hear the name.
M went on to express her opinion: "Yesterday also, at the cafeteria, B-san, another Taiwanese member, was there eating his lunch alone at a table whereas at another table, three Japanese members were chatting joyfully. What do you think about this situation?", she continued: "I guess he also wants a chance to chat in Japanese. The Taiwanese members are important to our Technical Group. We should keep this in mind and let them join our conversations." To the very direct opinion of M, which pointed out our unfortunate reality, no one could say a word. I respect her bravery and her decision to raise this issue.
In the last two years, we have hired Taiwanese engineers out of universities due to some difficulties in hiring Japanese engineers. Several people from Taiwan join us each year, and they are very important for the future of e-Jan. I wish and ask everyone at e-Jan to welcome them as fellow members, since this company will not be able to function well without being diversified.
New graduates from Taiwan need to challenge the difficulties of not only entering the society, but also starting their new lives in a foreign country. If you were in their position, you should be able to understand how tough it is; entering the society is already tough, but what if you had only limited communication at work? The above Facebook comment is understandable, right?
I noticed women like Y and M often talk with foreign staff members. However, it seems the majority of us are hesitating to talk with them because of feelings of troublesomeness and embarrassment, thus creating walls. I consider this a very bad habit of Japanese people which won't be well-received by the global community. Habits can be fixed as soon as we notice them; I need everyone's contribution to accomplish the new diversified environment, in which staff members are working hard, happily, and in harmony.