Since I am planning to study abroad in Germany within the next two years, I went searching for something this week that would relate to my plans. While I was looking, I stumbled across something very different in this wonderful book by Yang Liu. (If you want to look at it, the whole book is online here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/14276662/Liu-Yang-East-vs-West-Ost-Trifft-West). Yang is from Beijing, China and moved to Germany in 1990, so she has a very unique, first hand perspective on Eastern versus Western cultures. Personally, I was very excited when I saw the pictures and showed my dad almost immediately (just as I have been making him read articles out of our text book) because of the cultural conflicts he faces daily at his job. He has been working for a Japanese company for the past thirty years, and he still faces difficult or uncomfortable situations at work daily. The mother company is in Japan, so many of the people he works with (nearly 50%) are here directly from Japan and are not planning to stay in the States permanently. The Japanese and American communication within the office is hard for reasons far beyond just language barriers; for example: when one of my dad’s Japanese managers or co-workers sends an him an email, he (or she) copies his boss, his boss’s boss, all of the people in the department, etc. This is insulting to my dad who feels like they are checking up on his work, when really it only has to do with their cultural norms. The pictures in Yang Liu’s book PERFECTLY illustrate this difference! The first one displays problem solving: West is very direct, East is more complex. The second shows highly individualistic Westerners versus community-oriented Easterners, the third: time-oriented West versus more (time) relaxed East. I would definitely recommend clicking the link in the text to go look at the other pictures…they are quite eye-opening!
Liu, Yang. Ost trifft West. Mainz, Germany: Schmidt Hermann Verlag, August 1, 2007.
Liu, Yang. “Yang Liu Design.” Yang Liu Design. Accessed: September 12, 2013. Http://www.yangliudesign.com/